Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Cycling

After over four months I have been out cycling, quite a big achievement and quite pleased with myself.
Nearly a month since I had my Heart operation and the stents inserted in my Artery, a bit grim at the time, I spent a night in Manchester Infirmary, not the nicest of hospitals, way to big and too many people trying to do too many things and then forgetting to do many of them. Of course I managed to pick up the fly bug while I was in there so the next couple of weeks when I should have been recovering I was in a very bad way feeling very rough, the worst part about it was I had no idea if the operation had worked or not, as I was so short of breath presumably from the flu that it was a good couple of weeks before my breathing settled down and it became obvious that the operation had been worth it. I still get a little short of breath but nothing really to worry about and I have had no feeling that I might get an Angina attack, hence why I started cycling again, it will take some while to get reasonably fit as I have no strength in my legs but its a start.
My Kidney functioning has been gradually deteriorating, quite a noticeable difference between November and January, unfortunately the Angiograms and Scans put a lot of pressure on the Kidney as the various contrast agents that are used do not do it any good. I have a CT scan in a couple of weeks time but it will be without contrast agent, it will be the first CT scan since I stopped the treatment back in August and I am not very optimistic about what it will show, the Clinical Trial treatment may have stopped shrinking the Tumours but it had stopped  them growing, the lump on my face that I had Radiotherapy for last month has grown quite considerably since August so much so that I am very wary of being seen around people as it really is gross now and I certainly can't go out without trying to cover it up, I am told that thanks to the Radiotherapy it should just drop off, but it is taking its time and its not nice to see it in the mirror each morning, it looks like something out of a horror film, and I have to be very careful now I am on blood thinning meds as once it starts to bleed it wont stop and it gets very messy.

Liverpool Cathedral


Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral


Chester Cathedral

My sister came to stay with me the other week, it was probably the longest we have spent together since we were kids and we had a great time, she has been so good to me since I have been ill and we get on so well and have a lot in common that I think neither of us realised. Her visit was very well timed as I was just starting to feel almost human so we were out most days and the walking and fresh air has done me a power of good. She is very into churches, so we visited a couple local that I have never been in and also managed three Cathedrals in two days. While obviously the buildings themselves are fascinating we also got a very warm welcome, Patsy has a habit of talking to anyone and everyone so we met some lovely people and while I am not particularly religious I do have a very open mind and enjoy talking to new people about their experiences.
I have to say I do feel the best I have felt for a year or more so I have many plans for the near future and quite a few expeditions planned, a few days in North Yorkshire this week a couple of trips to Glasgow and some local explores. My camera has been rather underused this past few months.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Hospitals

Day five done of my seven days in a row Hospital visits. Six days of Radiotherapy for the cancer on my cheek and a Heart Operation on Thursday in Manchester. The worst part of the Radiotherapy is the two hour round trip in the car, twice I have been on my way home before the time of my appointment. It is a little odd the treatment, i'm sure the equipment cost's thousands but there is no sensation at all, the equipment comes down out of the ceiling and is directed at my cheek then everyone leaves the room for a couple of minutes and then it is done, no sound, no vibration or feeling of any sort! I think the staff are just sitting outside playing cards and it is a big scam haha. Joking aside I hope it does work, as for the last couple of months I have a permanent plaster on my cheek as the lump looks hideous and is growing quite quickly and it is a very odd feeling to look in a mirror and actually see my cancer.
Thursday I am off to Manchester Royal Infirmary for an operation on my heart, along with thousands of others I got a call the other day to cancel it until 15th February but very fortunately when they read up on my circumstances it was reinstated, the thought of having to wait yet another month really knocked me sideways, a horrible position to be in, those poor people who have had their operations cancelled have my heart felt sympathy.
Lots of talk in the press about people at risk in the cold weather and the Flu that seems to be sweeping the country. The cold weather has caused me a lot of problems with my breathing and it is easy to see how things could go very wrong if I was not careful, I have been lucky and avoided the Flu, again I think I would be in a lot of trouble if I caught it, its only over time that you learn how vulnerable you are when you are ill.
This time of year I would normally be very busy with my exploring around the country and with some of the gorgeous frosty days we have had recently I have looked on rather longingly, its not so much that I wouldn't be capable of getting out and walking etc, I would with a bit of care but its more psychological, to properly enjoy something you have to be at peace with yourself and the world around you, something that I am not at the moment, I have a horrible premonition of the future, I am very restless and have this constant need to be doing something, which is great in one respect as I have finished all the DIY jobs around the house that needed doing, but it feels like all I am doing is trying to put off the inevitable.





Amazing to think it is nearly a year since I was in Hawaii, with a lot of luck and everything crossed I will be there again in a few months.

Friday, 29 December 2017

End of the Year


This is the fabulous cake made for a lovely friend, the dogs are very good likenesses for her three dogs, some people are very talented.

I had a great time down in Hampshire at Christmas, staying with some lovely friends and visiting Cousins and Aunt and Uncle, really great people, they have been so supportive so it is good to be able to catch up. I do have some great people around me, I am very lucky.

January 11th I have an operation booked at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, it is another Angiogram and the fitting of at least one Stent. One of my Arteries has started to close up which is what has caused all the troubles these past few moths, I am hoping that after the 11th I will be in a much better position to get out and get some exercise and rebuild my back garden amongst other things.

I also have to have Radiotherapy for a lump on my cheek, this has gradually got bigger and I have to be very careful about it bleeding as it doesn't stop once it starts. The treatment is meant to be next week, five sessions over consecutive days, the worst part of it is the two hour round trip each day, but it will be rather nice to get rid of the lump as it is starting to look rather hideous now.



Runcorn


There has been some gorgeous foggy days recently, the shots above were taken from the Silver Jubilee Bridge, unfortunately I only had my phone with me, but even so the view was very impressive.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

No Tunnels Today

Yes a bit annoying as this time of year I would be out exploring, best time now all the undergrowth and trees are dying back, although it can get a tad on the muddy side!
I had my appointment with the Cardio specialist last week and as always I went in with one problem and came out with another. It does seem like I have Unstable Angina and I need to have an Angiogram to find out what is causing it, but unfortunately that can compromise the Kidneys and as I found out last week my remaining Kidney has deteriorated significantly over the past few months, even the past week or so. A bit of a shock as I didn't realise the Kidney had quite got to that stage, but I am getting used to shocks.
I have the Angiogram booked for next Thursday so hopefully I will find some answers then in the meantime I have yet more pills to take, these seem to be working ok and so long as I take it very steady the Angina isn't a problem. What is going to happen with the Kidney I really have no idea, I will see my Cancer Consultant in a couple of weeks and maybe he will come up with some miracle cure.
I had such plans for getting myself fit and relatively healthy over the coming months so I would be in a good state to fight my new Cancer treatment next year but that is now on hold, I am getting very frustrated sitting at home I keep thinking to myself I must get out and get some exercise but then I remember that I can't, a steady walk is the limit.

I saw an elderly couple earlier, he was shuffling along pushing a wheelchair while his wife supported him, he was in very poor shape and she said him walking was the equivalent of her running a marathon, I could well believe it. Little incidents like that bring me back down to earth.

The Internet is an amazing resource but it has to be treated with respect, I started to enter something into google and it popped up with 'Dying from Kidney Failure' no I wasn't brave enough to click on it!

All this time to spare has let me catch up on a lot of photo related work on the PC including a lot of old photos of my dads, this is his old garage in Addiscombe.


Motorwise

Friday, 27 October 2017

And another thing

Goathland


So now I am having Angina attacks, well I think it is Angina a couple of trips to Hospital in a week should confirm it. Just seems to be no end to the things going wrong, 52 years without even breaking a bone and now almost every week something else goes wrong.
Typically my last visit to Clatterbridge and bloods were good, blood pressure was good and ECG was good, two days later and I wake in the night with a horrible pressure from my cheeks down through my chest and both arms, after five minutes it had gone and as I am now so used to pains all the time I didn't think much of it until I was out cycling and it started again within a mile, fortunately it stopped quite soon so taking it a bit easy I finished the ride, out walking with some friends on Monday and all was good until we had to walk back up the hill and I couldn't do it, I really thought I was going to have a Heart Attack, my friend had to go and get his car and come back to pick me up. My Doctors Surgery wanted me to go to A & E but the thought of it put me on the edge of panic, fortunately my GP saw me and has prescribed a spray to ease things until I see a specialist. This has come from nowhere and as I spend half my life walking and cycling it has really hit me hard, even having a shower brings on an attack! Exertion and Anxiety seem to be the main triggers, I know my last scans showing the growth in the Cancer hit me hard but it obviously hit me harder than I realised. 




This I am sure sounds like a real cliche, but I am not scared of dying not now after everything I have been through, a bit sad maybe as there are so many things I want to do. I have been out in Liverpool and Manchester the last couple of days, very scary as I can only walk slowly and crowds are a real problem. It is all the complications  that really scares me, what happens if I am unable to get out and about, what if I am confined to bed, what if I collapse in the street and someone steals my camera!! Haha funny how the mind works but that really has been a worry. What has really got to me with this latest problem, is I had my mind set on getting fit and healthy now I have stopped my treatment, then going off to America in the Spring for a big trip and coming back next Summer to face the Cancer, at least fit healthy and with some great memories, but now I don't know.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Cancer


West Kirby


Clatterbridge Hospital this week. It all went wrong yesterday when I managed to turn up a day early, total brain fade as I had the right dates in my phone, but it did give me a chance to have a walk along the Dee Estuary at Hesswall.



Dee Estuary


I should have realised when I woke up this morning with a horrendous stabbing pain below my shoulder blade that today was not going to be a good one. I think I have been expecting bad news from Hospital, Cancer doesn't just go away it can lie dormant and it can be very slow growing but it is always there. My latest CT scan has shown a significant growth in the primary tumor on my Kidney and also several other growths have appeared on it, they were probably always there but now four years later they are showing themselves. Short of saying the Kidney has had it, my Consultant was quite honest, six months or a year and it will have had it.
So what happens next! I have now come off the Clinical Trial, its been nearly two years so enough is enough, I am quite pleased to be drug free and have a chance to get it out of my system. Around Christmas I will have another Scan and at regular intervals my bloods will be checked to see how the Kidney is functioning. Early next year I will have to make a decision on what other treatment I start, not something I am looking forward to as the side effects are pretty horrendous and its debatable if any of the regular treatments do any good. I think it is a case of waiting to see how long the Kidney lasts and then once it is showing signs of failing removing it and going on Dialysis, this could be sometime later next year, but Kidney Cancer is so unpredictable, so who know's.
The thought of having another Severn hour operation to remove the Kidney and all the complications and pain that will come is something that fills me with dread, and on top of that to then have to go on Dialysis gives me no confidence for the future at all, but what is the alternative? 
I feel like I am back to three and half years ago when I left Hospital and there seemed little point in making plans for the future. I am lucky I have survived these past few years pretty well and generally have enjoyed myself, so all I can do is see how I feel when I wake up tomorrow and then just take each day one at a time, right at this moment the pain in my shoulder blades is so bad that I have no reserves of energy to deal with anything else which is maybe just as well.


West Kirby





Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Pudsey and Bradford





A 9.5 mile walk exploring the old Great Northern Railway lines in Pudsey and Bradford.
I always do this, set of on the train somewhere to have a bit of an explore then end up walking miles and my feet killing me, I am told to take things easy and I really do intend to but it just never quite works out and oh boy do I suffer for it the next day.
The main purpose of this explore was to have a look at Greenside Tunnel in Pudsey, the deep cutting leading to the eastern portal is in the process of being infilled from a neighbouring housing development, fortunately because of the Bats that live in the Tunnel it will not be buried completely, some form of access will be left.

Greenside Tunnel


Greenside Tunnel  west portal


Tyersal House Farm
After walking some of the old railway through Pudsey and having a look in the tunnel I set off walking to Bradford, where I could get a train from Exchange back to Leeds, as you can see I made some new friends along the way, the fella below was on a very high wall and followed me for some while and kept trying to jump down, I did have visions of ending up taking him home with me, I do seem to pick up waifs and strays on my travels. 

Bradford

Rutland St

Everywhere you go there are abandoned buildings and many of them burnt out, it seems to be, if you can't steal it, then destroy it, very sad, I spoke to the owner of this building in Rutland St, he was as bemused by it all as I am.


St Dunstans


Can you imagine living in this house when steam trains were running! This route is the main Bradford Exchange to Leeds line, it is on a very steep 1:49/50 gradient and less than a mile from the station, so for steam engines and their crews it was very hard work, trains often needing two locos and generally doing not much more than 10 mph as they struggled round the curve, the sound would have built to a crescendo as it blasted off the retaining walls and often if the second engine was on the back it would all go quiet for a few moments before the assisting engine blasted round the curve,i'm sure the whole house must have shook, and trains ran all day everyday, the smoke would have stopped anyone opening windows let alone putting washing out. The loco below is just about to turn left at Mill Lane Junction and pass this house.


Mill Lane Junction
c/o Eddie Bobrowski

Bradford Exchange


Bradford Exchange station is a very bleak place today especially on a  wet October afternoon. It is called Interchange now and was moved further down the line from the original site, as happened all over the country the wonderful old station with its huge train sheds was neglected and slowly fell apart so it made it very easy for the city planners to have it demolished and this afterthought of a station built in its place.

I found out later that evening  that the photograph above which was  taken at 16.10 on 1st October 2017 by pure coincidence was taken 50 years almost to the minute after the last steam train left Bradford Exchange for Leeds, which departed at 16.18 1st October 1967.


16.18 to Leeds
c/o Eddie Bobrowski