Day 147 Has seen a walk back through the secret garden, a cross Training Circuit in the gymnasium, the fire safety curtain of tiredness return to join the unrelenting seizures leading to a rather unnerving requirement for medical assessments while being held together and kept going through  the overt demonstrations of love, friendship and generosity.

  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.

    15.92 Miles
    Sunday’s walk back through the Braes of Doune 5.4 Miles.
    Morning Walk Doune Ponds Steps 1Mile
    Morning Prayer & Organ practice St Modocs Church & Back 1 Mile
    Lunch Time Cross Training Circuit 6.52 Miles. A 1.78 mile improvement on the last Cross training circuit involving
    Bike – 2.12 Miles cycled along a hilly route
    Cross Country Skied – 1.78 Miles
    Ran – 0.74 Mile up a 4% incline
    Rowed – 1.88 Miles
    Evening Walk Dr’s Surgery and back 1 Mile
    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.

    • 2 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.

    Troll's Bridge!
    Troll’s Bridge!
    • 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 Broccoli and Ginger Stir Fry in Sesame Oil with fresh Kale, Garlic, Fresh Coriander, spring onions, sesame seeds and udon noodles. Verdict? Surprisingly Delicious and Margaret seemed quite pleased with it.
  5. Achievements. What have I actually managed to achieve through the day beyond cooking, eating, praying, practising and Physical Training.

    1. I managed to email a photograph of the presentation made to me by my team in Afghanistan as I moved on to a new job.  My 2IC was fascinated with old languages so took it upon himself to research Lock Sicker as I really didn’t know anything about it other than it meant ‘hold firm’ or something like that.  This is what he came up with and then had embroidered in Kabul as a leaving present for me.  Top left is the Douglas of Morton Crest and top right is the Regimental Capbadge of the Royal Regiment of Scotland. I thought that this might have been of interest to the hotel as they looked at introducing some of the Douglas history to the hotel to give a little more flavour to the house, an old Douglas Seat, while also looking at the feasibility of using it as a vehicle on which they could perhaps introduce the challenge. What are the Douglas’ up to now sort of an idea. It was just a thought. A long shot, but worth a thought.
    2. I managed to answer a couple of emails and almost cleared the In Tray. I only have 434 emails remaining to get through! I think I need a PA!
    3. I managed to clarify and have completed the medical report required for my application to the Erskine home.
    4. I managed to confirm with my GP that I can fly to South Africa. I’m going to the wedding!!!
    5. I managed to produce a counter top flyer for the Willow’s Deli in Doune so that they can inform their customers where the 5p carrier bag donation is going to. Beat the Beast Challenge!! Tomorrow I need to mount it on cardboard and cover it with fablon to make it easy to keep clean on a busy Deli countertop. I definitely need a PA.
    6. I managed to write a couple of long overdue thank you emails for sponsorship donations made.
  6. How was I feeling? The cardboard, that had been blacking out the windows until I complete the redecoration and manage to get some black out blinds or curtains hung, fell from my window behind the curtains so I was woken at 0430 hrs this morning and so started the day far more tired than I usually do as I continue to quietly fight to get my sleep patterns back to a pre treatment normal. So I have been really struggling to keep my eyes open and get and stay motivated to make the most of this day I have been lucky enough to be given. The temptation to just give up for the day was strong until one after the other today people almost queued up to be so generous with their love, friendship and treasure. Certainly I felt a little more enthused about the day even though still struggling to stay awake.  It is odd, and I’ll get over it.  But what I musn’t do, which is what my mind and body are screaming out for me to do, is to lie down for a sneaky nap.  That will guarantee that I do not sleep properly tonight and compound the issue further so I just have to stick it out with the matchsticks until bed time!!  However writing emails of thanks for such generous sponsorship as has been coming in does make the job of fighting through to bed time that much more enjoyable.  The challenge continues to build person by person, pound by pound, day by day.

    However, a disturbing development has occurred. Over the last 10 days or so the character of my seizures has changed to ones that have become far more tenacious. Ones that seem to want to last most of the day and just hang on for grim death but while doing so tease you with partial seizure type symptoms and prequels to a seizure but never quite deliver a seizure which would come, wash over me and wash out again quickly. Done and dusted. In stead they have just been washing in tide after tide after tide of miserable feelings and unsettling sensory feelings and emotions. I have been feeling a little more nauseous. A little more off balance, a little less ordinary and I mention all this here because I have also developed a dull and occasionally quite piercing ache in my testicles. This is a subject that many find embarrassing to talk about but I am fortunate that a friend of mine has recently successfully come through his treatment for testicular cancer. He made it because of his tenacity and his determination to find answers from within the system but most importantly because he had the balls (scuse the pun!) to go and get checked early!! This was a valuable lesson for me and one about which I am going to take action on tomorrow. There are many many reasons for testicular aches and pains that aren’t necessarily so serious but it isn’t worth the risk of denial especially when coupled with the unusual change in my seizure activity and general feeling of feeling unwell and fatigued. Weary. Just not normal. And on top of all that Chemotherapy which is tailored to your own particular tumour type can, while trying to put my brain tumour to sleep, actually open the door to other cancers or diseases as your immune system comes crashing down all around you. So a year of Chemotherapy could have left the door open to other cancers or diseases for a year. I mention it here to share that experience with you all. Do please take it seriously and don’t ignore it. I very nearly did. In fact while with the doctor this afternoon to confirm that I was going to be compatible with the injections I might need and the steroids I might need for the flight to prevent my brain swelling in flight to South Africa et al I had the opportunity to finish with a, ‘Doctor, would you mind looking at a couple of things for me?’ But I didn’t. I wasn’t sure and frankly I didn’t want to know. I decided to ignore all the advice I have heard about getting checked for testicular cancer because I just didn’t want to have to go through radiotherapy and chemotherapy again. I conveniently forgot about the medical warning during chemotherapy and the examples I have heard of other diseases popping up during and immediately post chemo. I decided that nobody could be that cruel as to hit me with another serious disease. I decided to try and put my head in the sand but then I remembered an advert I repeatedly saw inside the busses with Sir Alex Ferguson on it about the importance of getting checked early. ‘Don’t get scared. Get checked.’ So tomorrow morning I am phoning for an appointment.

  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.

    Margaret and I
    Margaret and I

    Over the last couple of days in particular I have needed for nothing more than encouragement. I needed God to show me he cared as the tides of discomfort washed in and out and brought with it these nagging testicular pains and nagging doubts. And he sent it in bucket loads:

    1. I learned of the very generous donation from Margaret’s daughter Sylvia for which of course I am hugely grateful but want to take the opportunity to affirm that I cook for Margaret because I am cooking for myself. In cooking for myself I was invariably cooking enough for two. So rather than waste it it made sense to give it to Margaret rather than throw it away. Having taught myself how to follow a recipe the meals normally come out pretty well so thank you for the extremely generous donation and I would of course welcome any more should you wish to make some but I cook for Margaret in order to avoid wasting food and for the reward of seeing the delight in Margaret’s face when I arrive with the freshly cooked plate of food and a smile. Not for monetary reward or recompense. I do it for the joy of making someone happy.
    2. He sent me a very generous donation from the MacLeod’s in Doune,
    3. He sent me a delightful email that I only managed to find and reply to today confirming that Sylvia had also made a vey generous standing order for me.
    4. Then as I sat at the bus stop a couple walking past with their daughter popped in to see how I was and as I said ‘fine thank you, how are you’ with a smile of attempted reassurance Mum sidled right up to me, put her arm around my shoulder and looked me in the eye and asked, ‘No Archie, How are you? I know it comes in hour by hour. I read your posts, so tell me how you truly are?’ It was a wonderfully touching moment and was all I needed. Equally I didn’t think this was the time or the place to talk about my aching scrotum and the fire curtain of tiredness trying to drag me down low on to the floor to sleep so I reassured them that I was fine and took comfort from that lovely show of genuine concern.
    5. He sent me Kirsty who had come to collect a table and swap with another one that they had leant to me to eat from with the children or any visitors while I get the flat redecorated. The table swapping wasn’t God sent but perhaps the timing was because Kirsty came bouncing in to the flats full of the joie de vivre and brought an enormous smile back to my face with a delightful hug.
    6. Finally, through a friend, he sends me this message. ‘May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.’

I’m going to be just fine.