03 If We Were Vampires

Back home on Sunday, wide awake but tired, where do I start with this? I have two brain Tumours, I have cancer, this happens to other people not to me!

I've started again with who I need to call. So I ring Mick my brother, he needs to be told and should be an easy first one for me. Not really as it happens, I had to hang up and call back.  It is difficult to say out loud to people cancer and brain tumours and I will need to confront and get over it. We had a good chat, he's a good guy and offered as much support as possible. We will be having many more calls over the next few months. He usually works away in Europe but joins us in Lockdown for the UK, It's good, we have many chats and catch up 2-3 times a week, we've gone our separate ways for many years thru work and lifestyle so a great chance to re-connect.

Had a call from my mate at Folk Orc, Roger so I told him, it did me the power of good just talking about it. He tells me that he is suffering a bit with Shingles which I know is very painful. I remind him that two brain tumours tops Shingles any day. We have positive conversations so a good guy to bounce things off and discuss, we put the world to rights as usual. We have similar tastes in music but my taste is better than his of course...
Roger plays a Mandocello, it is the loudest instrument known to mankind and is thankfully not amplified, it doesn't need to be. We had a gig once in a church gardens and I stood next to Roger, there was around 20 of us playing but I never heard anything apart from Roger's Mandocello. That bad boy is loud. That's Roger in the middle. Sorry about Jim, couldn't Photoshop him out but, to be fair, he did take the photo, cheers Jim.

I'd got through two days now without feeling too much emotion but I knew it was lurking, it had to be. Bizarre then how it finally got me. Sitting around doing not much at all just checking emails and I got a mail from Paste Magazine with a link to the 20 best Jason Isbell songs. (Links Below, the Youtube link opens with an advert, sorry nothing I can do about that)

I am a massive Jason Isbell fan so my attention was grabbed.

So we (Annette and I) started discussing his songs and, not thinking, I hit the link for 'If We Were Vampires". It's probably impossible to pick a worse song than this. Listen to it - the link is below, what was I thinking? It got to the chorus before I realised, I got a lump in my throat and my eyes started filling up, brief walk into the garden then. That opened the emotions which are still there now with no signs of going away, I don't worry or care anymore, just small tears every now and again. For some reason music is the worst, i'm amazed how songs or tunes can do it. Also so many messages of support, they are wonderful and so appreciated but they can melt me in seconds but I love every one of them.

Later that day, we had a Zoom quiz with the girls and their partners so I still couldn't tell them; we freed up a time on Tuesday evening for another session to discuss. 

I had to tell the team at work, I will need to cover a few days over the coming weeks but looking to handover as quickly as possible.

I have no idea what is going to happen next, I know I need further scans so let's see where that leads then we can start making firm plans.

Monday morning at 08.05 I get my first call to book the CT body scan for Tuesday at 09:00, impressive.  Then at 08.30 I get another call booking the MRI for Saturday at 09.30, again, so impressed. We need the meds to do their work on the inflammation prior to the MRI so Saturday is fine. 

My brother had recommended Lance Armstrong's book "It's not about the Bike" a good read, he's a bit of a hero of mine and I need to confront cancer so why not. I make it to the part where he says out loud for the first time that he has cancer then he starts to cry, I know how he felt, you can almost taste the emotion. I read this in the hospital waiting room prior to my CT scan. When the nurse called me I had tears rolling down my face. Bloody emotions, it's all getting very real now that I'm back at the hospital. When I was finished I got back to our car where Annette was waiting, I had a lovely message from a friend of ours, Michelle, which set me off again. This was my theme for the day. I had a video call set up with my management team at work for 13.30 but had to cancel and send an email which was not what I had planned but just could not face a call saying it out loud. I still had the call with the girls to go in the evening.

Our daughters have all moved on with their own lives and partners, so when I reflect back to when the house was full I always remember a house full of love and laughter.  We had so much fun together and still do when the girls all visit at the same time so there is no reason for that to change. Our message when we catch up is positive, no change, we will work together and help each other through this. This photo perfectly reflects my family, smiles and laughter, I love them so much!


It went OK, I had to 'pop out ' of the room just the once and Annette led the chat to help. They knew something serious was coming and took it well. We made a rule of PVO (positive vibes only) and agreed to carry on as normal, so love and laughter with PVO. They are all great, we keep in touch all the time, chat and message and keep it fun. 

For a reason best known to me and in my hope to confront cancer we then decided to watch 'the Big C' on amazon prime https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Big_C_(TV_series)

We figured as it is a 'dramedy' (what a stupid word) it might prove an entry level way of confronting the issue. As it turned out we watched the complete 4 seasons in a week and a half. With the exception of series 3, which lost it's way a bit, I felt it handled it in a really compassionate way. I will say no more. 

My only issue is that I still cannot sleep but have been told this is the steroids and will improve.

The following Saturday I had the MRI scan, seemed to take forever, no issues from me but I can understand why people don't like them. The Radiographer setting me up made me smile, he told me I needed headphones for the duration of the scan, no options just wear them. Asked did I want music, I said yeah, had a good look at me and said Rock? yeah 70s? yeah, he knew. I ended up listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival. So I'm laying in the MRI listening to 'Green River' and 'I Heard it Thru the Grapevine'. I played guitar in bands many years ago and used to play both, we used to jam the hell out of these two, could make them last ages. So my MRI was rather good fun and brought back many long forgotten memories.

So all scans done, now we wait. 

CT body scan was clear so one less worry for a while.

MRI results. We get called in to meet the Neurosurgeon during the week to discuss options and the way forward. There are two tumours, one is a 3cm ball on the right side of my brain on the optical nerve for my left eye (hence the left side issues) the other is on the left side and is small with no impacts as yet. Therefore we discuss options for my little 3 cm friend. Essentially it is treatment or removal. My immediate reaction is get this thing out of my head, it is impacting my sight and my distance perception and if we go for treatment it may not halt any growth for some time. The thought of losing my sight frightens me. Further, if the tumour does grow whilst in treatment it may prove more difficult and risky to attempt removal at a later date. The Neurosurgeon agrees so we make, what is in effect, a massive decision. Brain Surgery. Wow really, that's BIG! It's scary but we need solution mode asap. All agreed and the feeling is that the smaller one can be dealt with by radiotherapy treatment after the operation.

Got the pre med carried out after the consultation then back home to self isolate and wait for a date.

A letter arrives: Monday 15th June 07.30. oh...


Focus on the positives
There are too many negatives in life
Negatives drag you under
Positives raise you up


Current default position: Laying in bed but can't sleep so listening to Spotify instead

Current Favourite Album: Robert Plant The Mighty ReArranger. Still a top man after all these years, all his solo albums are amazing but this one tops the lot. An album I cannot live without, it is very good believe me!