Now we are Four

IMG_20131019_2222124 years ago today. I got up, went to the gym for an hour and then went shopping to Marks & Spinster with my folks, where we stopped to have a pot of tea and an apple turnover. ‘What a beautiful day’ I thought.
Little did I know that an hour or so later my heart would traumatically tear away from its root, contacting emergency services as I struggled to unlock my apartment’s door for the ambulance and my parents to get in.
2 days later I woke after 2 emergency heart operations, having lost several pints of blood and being put on ice, hallucinating about Chinese nurses and caretakers and hippopotamus and Aladdin.
The years between have been full of cancer scares, cameras up/in every orifice, depression, PTSD, the loss of 2 jobs, a mini stroke, loss of field vision, losing my driving licence because of health issues, severe anaemia, a crash with a double decker bus ……..

I began blogging a little before this. In fact, it was in anticipation of planned heart surgery. I’d been planning a holi-holiday to Peru (Macchu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, Nazca Lines – all terribly exciting) and because so much of the adventure was at high altitude, I decided to check in with my Cardiologist. I watched as her face dropped on examination, and she rushed me in for an echo-cardiogram ‘just to check’. I waited to see her for the results as the ward emptied and we were the only two Left Standing.  It wasn’t good. I had an underlying heart condition, which had worsened and required surgery within the next 5 years – she would need further tests and a referral to a surgeon in order to determine when.

The trip to Peru was cancelled – the first of many holidays I’ve had to cancel since.  I was never all that keen on Macchu Picchu if I’m being honest – I don’t really like edges, as I get a bit drawn to them and a little too intrigued about what happens if I go over the edge. In the end, my heart decided it couldn;t really wait for the NHS and so it broke early and impetuously.

In between all that, I had the small matter of my testicular cancer diagnosis the previous year before my emergency incarceration. I know – it never rains but it pours, right?I had some counselling as I was going through it all – the orchidectomy, the chemotherapy. the waiting for surgery. Which is what led me to the blogging. I found it a cheaper way to process and capture some thoughts and feelings – so, if you’re reading this, you’re kinda my cheap therapist. But I don’t know if you’re qualified or not. If you are, I’ve got a bargain. If not, just don’t go telling my secrets to people, because you’re bound by confidentiality, right?
Today I was at the gym. There were 2 crutches left by the side of my treadmill, and I saw a woman struggling to climb on to a Stepper Machine. I recognised the determination on her face, and the struggle she was experiencing.
4 years have passed. I’m not currently employed, and it’s not always easy.

Step by step ….

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In case no one has told you today: Anonymous Love Letters & Promulgating Universal Joy

love letters

love letters

Based on an idea from the Freemind Project, I’ve started writing anonymous love letters, and just kind of leaving them for people to pick up and hopefully receive a bit of a boost to the day.I started feeling low because my Driving Licence has been taken away due to my loss of field vision and decided I’d try and create something positive out of my misery. Because I can no longer drive, I take buses. At first I felt resentful, no longer having my own car. There are other people on buses, and some of them can be quite annoying sometimes. So when I came across the idea of leaving messages of love to random people (and they don’t come any more random than on public transport) , I realised it might make the bus journey a whole lot more interesting and positive.

Of course, I don’t go round giving them to people I choose, waiting to see if they love me back and tell me what a good and loving person I am. The whole point is to give away something loving and positive to another person, without knowing who the recipient might be and not expecting a response back. It’s just in the nature of random acts of kindness, in the spirit of random acts. Putting some lurrv out there and hoping it sows some sort of seed.

The best place I’ve found so far is the lockers in my local gym. I’ve just come back from a workout, and I’ve left a note for whoever might use the locker next. They may choose to open the letter, they may not. I have to stop myself from hanging around out of curiousity to see. But I just hope someone picks it up, and that it touches them somehow. The envelope reads ‘A nice message for you’ and on the back I add ‘YES – YOU! OPEN IT #randomactofkindness’ I don’t know what people think when they open it – whether they feel touched, or annoyed, or mystified, or start looking around to see if someone in the room is trying to start up a bro-mance or ask them out. The point is, it’s letting someone know they’re pretty wonderful just because they happen to be there. I also add that I hope the message makes their day a little better, and if it’s a good day already, they might one to save the message for a day that’s not so good. Or pass it on. As the Sisters Of Perpetual Indulgence say, ‘Promulgate Universal Joy’.

Today’s message was based on a Facebook meme posting I picked up a while ago. And, as I’m spreading a little love, feel free to take this with you, faithful reader, and do with it what you will:

In case no one has told you today:

You are beautiful.

Magical.

Powerful.

Inspiring.

And you can achieve whatever you set your mind to.

I’ve told that to a stranger in my gym today. And Universal Joy to you too. Go and be a bit random, if you like. On the buses, in the gym, at school or college, a festival, a rally, a prayer meeting. It makes the world a better place, and your heart a little larger.

May I borrow your testicle?

baubles

Time flies… almost Christmas, over a year since I had a cancerous testicle removed. Movember has just passed.So it’s time to check the baubles.Fortunately, so I hope, it’s all routine. I get a check up every 4 months as part of a 5 year outpatient review. Next week a chest x-ray. Which fits in nicely with a haematology appointment – no sign yet of my home testing kit coming through, so I’m still hoping Santa’s got that in his stocking.

This time, it’s not a long wait. I’m a little disappointed as the Jessica Stevenson lookie-likie isn’t on reception. Her replacement has a look of Susie Blake, the Victoria Wood continuity announcer (‘we apologise to those of you in the North … it must be awful for you’). There’s a tiny Christmas tree on reception ‘That’ll be the recession’, Mum says knowingly.When I was at the hoispital last week (haematology again, a pricking of my thumbs…) there was a beautiful rainbow over the carpark. I’d rather a rainbow than a suicide attempt, which there was on a previous visit.

I’m called in and get weighed. The nurse apologises for the state of the blue vinyl chair. It is, I admit, 70’s vulgar but I call it a throne and park my arse anyway. ‘I’m wearing my invisible crown,’ I tell her.

This week I’m seeing the Macmillan Specialist Nurse, who’s seen me through most of my treatment. My consultant is retiring, so I’m also in the proces of being ‘handed over’ to a new consultant who I haven’t yet met. Someone new to fondle my testicle. There are hreee tiny mince pies to one side of her desk, and I don’t get offered one. Just as well – you never know what they put in them these days. There’s probably a horse at least.

Preamble over and we’re on to the physical exampination. I’ve self examined, and apparently this is enough to rule out any lumps or bumps down there.

‘They say it’s quite hard examining yourself when there’s only the one,’ she says. ‘You don’t have anything to compare it to.’

‘Perhaps I should ask someone if we can compare testicles?’ I say. She thinks I’m joking, but has obviously never seen me cockwatching in the changing rooms at the gym.  I don’t gawk, gentle reader,  but really – you can’t help but look. I’ve nearly had my eye poked out on a couple of occasions. It’s terribly disappointing, though, when some sweaty hunk comes in, strips off and reveals … a pair of Batman boxer shorts . And that’s not the worst of it. By a long way. The other week someone tweeted that they’d found a shit in the shower. No, really. A shit in the shower!

Chsritmas  is the time for baubles. Sparkle is everywhere. Christmas is our showcase  of how the world would be if it was run by The Gays fulltime. There’s a reason for the saying ‘Camp As Christmas’ – it’s our gateway drug. That’s the real Gay Agenda – everyday will be ChristmasDay. Baubles  are  everywhere. Santa, I’m told has an enormous, wrinkly, white haired drooping giftbag of balls. Wispy. And you know what they say about Rudloph? He’s not only known for a big nose. Holly berries and misteltoe? Constant reminders. Look again at your xmas tree and it’s just tinsel and balls. With a fairy on top. I haven’t even started on snowmen or snowballs. 

On the way home, I shop off at the supermarket to buy vodka to make a seasonal Cranberry Vodka. The label says ‘everyday vodka’. Everyday vodka?! Something to go with your baked beans… in fact, I notice, they actually have ‘Bloody Mary’ baked beans. I don’t even like vodka, but you never know when the apocalypse if going to start so I get a couple of tins on the offchance.

But now I have a mission. Fellas, make yourselves useful.Next time you see me and I slip a hand down your pants, I’m doing us both a favour, right? Thi is the season of good will among men. There’s nothing wrong with  comparing, and it beats pissing up a wall. It would be a much nicer world if instead of a handshake we cupped each other’s balls as a greeting. Much more trusting. None of that ‘limp’ or ‘firm’ handshake nonsense. You know where you are with a guy’s gonads in your hand.

Jingle Bells, anyone?