1. Miles Covered under my own steam in my drive to improve my physical fitness and so strengthen my immune system to take the fight to the tumour.

    8.1 Miles
    Morning Walk Woodland View Loop 1Mile
    Morning Prayer & Organ practice St Modocs Church & Back 1 Mile Lunch Time run 3.8 Miles around the castle and the commonty walk with a climb of 462 feet done in 36 Mins and 36 Seconds. That meant that I was running at 9Min and 37 Seconds per Mile. Slightly slower than my run along the sea front on the flat in Edinburgh at 9 Min 32 Seconds per Mile but 27 secinds faster per mile than my last cross country run around Doune. I am getting fitter despite putting on a little weight!!

    Evening Walk Argaty Road 1.3 Miles
    Evening Prayer & Organ Practice St Modocs Church & Back 1 MIle

  2. Bags of Rubbish Collected as part of my ongoing drive to keep improving my balance to an optimum level.

    3 Bags

  3. Time in Prayer and Organ Practice. Prayer is the greatest power on earth and forms a significant part of my day In which I thank God for bringing me out of the shadow of night and into the light of a new day that I can spend in service before praying for healing, for guidance on the challenge and most importantly the healing and needs of others. I also take time at this point to read the daily readings as a source of wisdom while practicing the organ tunes I have learnt and am learning as part of my morning and evening prayer routine to force the cognitive rewiring of my brain.

    90 Mins of Prayer
    20 Mins of Organ Practice

  4. Food is a huge part of my challenge to beat the beast and has also generated a significant amount of interest so I will mention in bullet points any changes to what was eaten. (Food eaten daily will consist of the following:

    1. Breakfast will almost always be an oat based cereal mix served with a banana, two dozen or so blueberries and a tablespoon of flaxseed served with coconut milk followed by a piece of wholemeal seeded toast with butter and Marmalade and then an apple and a glass of pure orange juice. Any changes for the day will be noted here.
    2. Lunch will almost always be either a tuna mayonnaise sandwich with spinach, rocket and watercress salad or a poached egg on toast with spinach, rocket and watercress salad followed by a veggie pick and mix of 50g of tenderstem broccoli, 10g of carrots, 12 red grapes and 4 cherry tomatoes. Any changes for the day will be noted here.
    3. 8 to 10 Brazil Nuts will also be consumed daily by taking 2 brazil nuts each time I return home from a walk or Physical Training or the Church. A Cup of Horlicks will be drunk each evening along with a port glass of red wine and 3 squares of 85% Dark Chocolate.
    4. Tea will almost always be a home cooked meal cooked from raw ingredients followed by a tangerine. Tonight was Leeks, Courgettes, Basil and Pasta in Tomato Cream with parmesan cheese.

      Verdict? Delicious but Margaret Missed it!! I popped in on my way back from the walk at 5 O’Clock. A full 30 minutes ahead of the cut off time I had agreed with Margaret yesterday but a different nurse was in and one of Margaret’s frozen tea meals was in the oven. I suspected that the nurse didn’t quite understand or believe Margaret when she told her about our arrangement so I reminded Margaret loudly, knowing that the nurse could hear me as she hovered just behind the door, that if she would like me to feed her something freshly cooked and healthy then to give me until 5:30 pm to knock on her door and confirm that I was cooking that night. Then I left her to enjoy her meal. It did smell good.

  5. Achievements. What have I actually managed to achieve through the day beyond cooking, eating, praying, practising and Physical Training.

    1. Found some Tennis Balls needed for a conference a friend was doing. I hope she isn’t going to throw them at anyone falling asleep in the conference!!
    2. Got the Factor’s Direct Debit sorted out and sent them a flyer. Well you never know!!
    3. Wrote a letter to each of my 5 charities to which I attached a cheque for £20.00 donated by a very generous supporter of the challenge. I then photocopied each letter for the accountants, sealed them all in envelopes. Addressed them and stamped them with the stamps so very kindly given with the donation to cover the cost of postage.
    4. Wrote a thank you letter to the very kind donor.
    5. Wrote another thank you letter to another kind donor.
    6. Found the most fantastic quote for travel insurance through the Armed Forces Pension Society. When I took the children on the canal boating holiday in the midlands last summer I had to do it at risk as the cost of the insurance, because of the nature of the Brain Tumour was going to cost more than the entire holiday itself. As a result I was expecting the cost of insurance to be far more than I could afford. But then my stepfather got in touch with a tip he had been given. I followed it up and guess what? I can afford the travel insurance!! It was offered at an amazing price so if you have some military service it is well worth joining the Armed Forces Pension Society although their website joining form was a source of huge frustration today. 3 times I tried to complete the form. Got to the bit in which you complete the debit instruction but it wouldn’t let me input my account number and wouldn’t let me bypass it. I gave up in the end. Will try again tomorrow!
  6. How was I feeling?
    Good but not perfect. I have been good most of the day and thoroughly enjoyed the run this afternoon. I had had a productive day and then I went for my post anti-seizure medication evening walk. I was stopped by Debbie on the Argaty road and we had a lovely chat before she shot off to get ready for her trip to the islands to see the Puffins tomorrow. Then I was stopped by Ro who wanted to know how I was feeling. Good was my reply. She saw through me I think. She said I was looking well and joked that everything looks better when the sun’s out but guessed that I wasn’t feeling brilliant. Just making do. ‘How was I feeling today?’ she asked again. ‘Okay Ro’ I replied. ‘It comes and goes. Not day by day but hour by hour and right now I am feeling good.’ I thanked Ro for caring and she encouraged me forward as she drove on. All remained good until I had finished cooking and was sat eating tea. I felt good but suddenly I couldn’t lift my right arm. It just seemed to be disconnected from my brain. I wasn’t feeling any seizure type sensations and this was all happening on completely the wrong side. It is supposed to be and in all but one case has always been the left side that suffers motor issues. The one exception was after my first seizure in which I lost consciousness. I woke up on the bathroom floor paralysed from the neck down. Slowly the motor function came back down my left side but my right side remained completely useless. I had no control over what the right side was doing and once strapped in the ambulance, as they sped me to hospital I lay there focussing on my right hand which lay across my chest lifeless. I couldn’t feel it and no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t even make it twitch. It was as if it was just a toy hand sat on my chest. I could feel nothing of it. Almost as if it wasn’t attached to me in any way. It took another 24 hours before the movement eventually came back. My brain surgery and oncology team have never understood why this was the case. It was completely counter intuitive to what one would expect. A tumour on the right temporal lobe should influence motor function on the left side first. However my team spent a long time telling me how unusual my Brain Tumour was in the size that it had managed to grow to without being detected and in the way that it has jumped two grades so quickly and in the area of the brain in which it was sat and so they went on and on and on about how unusual the tumour was. They did not mean any harm by it and none was made but it does make me rather suspicious that nobody really knows how this most unusual of Brain Tumours that throws up these occasional rather odd manifestations is actually going to effect me. Both the team in the UK and the world leading expert in the USA agree on the likelihood of a terminal outcome but the American team was even more pessimistic about the time I had. I am determined to and God Willing will beat the beast but it does mean that when I suddenly stop functioning down one side of the body I start to panic a little about what it means. Is this the buzzer in the tumour going off a little like the red nose in the game of operation? Is it going to switch me off? My thoughts turned immediately to calling for help. Do I call now while I can or do I wait to see what happens first? But if the paralysis spreads then very quickly I will be unable to call for help so I should do it now. This is where living on your own so suddenly becomes so very lonely. So I sat with my right arm rested on the table, moving my fingers in my right hand to try and see if it gets worse. My hand felt loose and uncoordinated but not worsening. This was likely just a blip so I decided not to call for help and thankfully the mobility in my arm returned quite quickly. So how I am very much changes hour by hour but as I write this post. Good is the perfect summary.
  7. Memorable God Filled Moments. I was going to break this category down into two parts but then I realised that a memorable moment has undoubtedly got God’s hand at work within it so the two go together and remain together as the point at which I tell the story at the end of the post.

    Today was a productive day filled with sunshine but became even better as I turned back for Doune after collecting litter up the Argaty road. I bumped into a couple sat on a bench and enjoying the dappled sunshine through the trees. There was some litter around them so I picked it up and as I did realised that I hadn’t met them before. So I introduced myself and discovered that this smiley Indian couple were working as nurses in a nursing home nearby and had lived in Doune since October. I learned that they hadn’t heard of the challenge so I introduced it to them and as I did so explained why I was litter picking and how learning the pipe organ in the church was so very good for me. Their English was excellent so the conversation flowed freely and they promised to look me up on facebook. I explained how my faith was an important part of my journey and their eyes brightened considerably. ‘Where do you go to church?” They asked. ‘St Modoc’s. The church next to the woodside hotel’ I explained as they looked at me quizzically. ‘What religion is that they asked?’ Understanding that to have meant what denomination I replied ‘Episcopalian church of Scotland’ ‘Is that Church of Scotland?’ they asked. ‘No Anglican’ I replied. ‘Ahhhh Anglican. That is good’ they both said almost simultaneously. I hadn’t been expecting this sort of conversation at all but I pounced on the opportunity. ‘Would you like me to take you to church one Sunday. We would love it if you wanted to come and join us and I would be very happy to take you in with me, introduce you to the congregation and the Rector and help you settle in with the service if you would like?’ They both seemed really keen but they are both at work this Sunday so we said that we could do it any time they are free. Just get in touch and I would be delighted to take them in with me. I cursed myself for not having my mobile with me and cannot remember their names but I very much hope that they do come and have a look at the challenge. If you do please drop me a message so we can start to chat through options for you to come and join us.

    As I walked home my thoughts turned to the passages read in morning prayer this morning and which just now started to make sense.

    Ephesians 4:1-16
    Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ

    4 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

    14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves,and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.