Are we happy? Are we scared?

Or a mixture of both, maybe?

Well, today saw the first of a planned 32 visits to St James Hospital in Leeds over the next 7 weeks, so… Today was actually one of the more straightforward ones, Thursday will probably be even more so, but then we get to the 30 more serious ones, involving radiotherapy, chemotherapy tablets and everything else involved in getting me better, in the long run at least.

And yes, apart from overtaxing the voice/mouth a bit too much by talking too much to various people, it was indeed pretty straightforward. The letter I needed for work, sorted. All the paperwork I thought I might have to do to get all the benefits I need/am entitled to, someone far more knowledgeable of such matters will be dealing with for me. The knowledge confirmed that said mouth issue is probably related to the issue with the growth on my temporal lobe, most of which is now gone, gained.

So yes, now I can start to focus on events starting on Monday, and stop worrying about everything else, thank goodness. And yes, I will be happy to get started with that, I must admit. Am I scared about said events? At the moment the answer would be no, but ask me again next week, lol. Though I was told today that I’m more likely to get tired out by stuff as the 6 weeks go on, rather than in the early stages. There is the possibility of staying over in Leeds for up to 4 nights a week if it does, but I rather gather they work on ‘does she need it’ option, rather than pushing it on me early, which seems the wisest route to go down. As much for all the travel I will be doing, as well as the treatments, but we will see.

But yes, I have to admit it, if you’d told me 2 months ago that I’d be where I am now, whether I would have believed you, who knows? But we are, so…

I have one more trip to Leeds before Monday, on Thursday for the ‘meet the team, and I gather one of the radiotherapy machines (non working)’ but then down to business! The one thing I’m sure of, is that after these 7 weeks, anyone offering to drive me to Leeds will not be met with the most enthusiastic response, lol, for a few months at least! So yes, tomorrow, no travel, and same on Friday, but after that, for 6 weeks, on weekdays at least, that trip to Leeds could become very familiar! Beneficial, but boring, lol.

After that, 4 – 6 weeks of not overdoing it, then lets see how I feel? I have been told I need some short term targets to get me through the treatments, and I already have 2. One is the obvious Christmas/New Year holiday period, and the other, before then, the works Christmas dinner (yes, Medical retirement is coming soon, but not official yet, so…) the first week after treatments should end, so… Fine, we shall see after those, lol!

Oh, Thursday. Well yes, I might be considering wearing the silver wig, and silver Lycra bodysuit under clothing, but we will see how I feel then, lol!

OK, the video. Well the blog title is mentioned in the song, and the song title might be what I need someone to say to me at some point, but other than that, this video is pretty crazy, I guess?

I can imagine my destinations

To be honest, its worked out for the best that I had the taxi drive home from hell yesterday afternoon, which meant that all I wanted to do yesterday evening was have an evening watching baseball (though sadly the Dodgers lost, after I’d gone to bed), and not writing up blogs, as I can now cheat, and cover 2 days of news in one blog.

Oh, the taxi driver, no wonder the NHS funds are needed, because he cheated the route home so much, that fare must have been nearly double what it needed to be, but anyway. I was going to report him to Leeds City Council over it, but unsurprisingly, given everything now, I cant remember his licence number, so sadly he will now get away with it, but anyway…

Yesterday afternoon was the day the plan got sorted out, and signed off. I also delighted myself by finding out my walking distance without hurting myself, is getting better, though we are still talking in terms of about 100 yards, than London Marathon stuff, lol. Still, Occupational Therapy in Leeds on Friday morning will hopefully see a bit more improvement too. Other than that, a bit of Speech Therapy help to be arranged, not because words arent right, though still faint, more down to the fact that I have a dribble issue at moment, though even that seems far less today, good news. Other thing is a Social Help contact, to sort out things like Disabled Bus pass, postal vote stuff,and the  letter I need so that work can take the last step for medical retirement process. But as that couldnt be done before I agreed plan yesterday afternoon…

Plan is to start Radiotherapy in about 3 weeks time, for a period of 6 weeks, 5 days a week. Some might be shrewd enough to notice, that the exact start date is going to mean it might be over just before Christmas/New Year period, or just after, no guarantees either way, but holiday period, no treatments anyway, quite rightly. I will be doing Chemo tablets too during this period, and then do a few more of those in the 6 month period that follows too, but only a handful or so. I’ve been told that I need to allow about 4 weeks after that to get over the treatment, and then about a couple more weeks or so before contemplating flying or anything, all fine by me. Which in my eyes, gives me a probable date to do much at all as towards the end of February in likelihood. No promises on date, but it looks a fair date to me, with an anniversary on the horizon, March 15th, the first big seizure!

Just after the time, the lovely people at the guest house, sent me an email re the 3 nights that we never stayed there, saying the credit would stand for future use when I needed them. To be fair, I doubt they imagined it would take a year to get to that point, but it will. So, being the polite, and fair lady I am, I just asked if that date would still be fine to use it. Took about 20 minutes to get an email back confirming it would, so…Kudos to Pelham Lodge Guest House, Blackpool! No, Film Festival is later next year, but there is still the matter of the tram journey I never completed…

OK, end piece, got the call this morning, going to Leeds on Thursday afternoon to get measured for my plastic mask that will be used to direct the treatment to the needed area. Will also have CT, and blood test done on same trip, to give them the base settings they need pre treatment. As a few friends would know, I’d prefer a full face Iron Mask, rather than a positioned plastic one, but hey, its a start! Maybe the latter can follow post treatment, lol?

Right, to video now. One of my favourite groups of all time, one of their very early hits, live

Honey, I get lost

One thing I always used to be proud of, when I was much younger, was my navigation skills. What you have to allow for, is that this was in the days, long before Sat-Navs, and GPS and the like, and if you had to navigate somewhere, it tended to come down to very large map books, and watching out for signposts! Whereas nowadays, all you have to do is listen to your phone, or Sat-nav, and let it do the work. Well, there are occasional issues with those things, but generally…

The snag is, for those of us who dont (deliberately) have smart phones, and are travelling on foot, is that you tend to rely more on maps, and given I have to plan directions ahead, on my laptop, before leaving home, you cant double check these things en route!

So yesterday, I’d been given directions to get to the shuttle bus that runs to where the course was being held, and the first step (or in this case, steps) was easy enough to follow. But then, at the bottom of the stairs, no bus stop in sight, so which way to go? Seeing I was aiming for bus stop Z1, and I knew where Z2, and Z3 were, and that meant turning right, I went in that direction. Fine, but unfortunately, Z1 was about 400 yards away from them, on the opposite side of the steps!

So, despite arriving at the station in time for the 8.45 shuttle (train on time, whatever next?), I missed it. if I’d turned the right way, I would have got it. As it happened, I got the 9.15, still got there in time for the course, so…

But yes, I’m losing my touch, navigation wise, as the years go by. Ah well…

Video time. No, I wasnt really lost, I just about knew where I was going, and was able to right the wrong, just not in time. But yes, this video will do, all the same. Apologies for quality, but only one I can find on You Tube, unfortunately

The wicked things we do

Tomorrow, instead of heading to Bradford, to do a normal, full day at work, I’m heading to Leeds instead. No, I’m not throwing a sickie, or anything, its work related.

In an ideal world, my back would allow me to work for nearly another 6 years, and retire at what is now the normal retirement age for British women, at 66. In truth, I would say, that even doing a 4 day week, as at present, my chances of doing so, rank probably as fair, but no more. So yes, on a pre retirement course tomorrow, to learn what I can do to make my future as easy as possible.

The thing is, it means I need to be in an office, just outside the center of Leeds, for 9.30 tomorrow morning. Yes, thats right, I need to get there right in the middle of the rush hour, and thats why I’ve done a wicked thing.

Its fair to assume that the 8.15 train tomorrow, from Huddersfield, to Leeds will be busy, and its quite likely some people will need to stand. Yes, the chances of me being able to stand, even with my brace on, for about 25 minutes, in one place, not good, or less! So yes, depending on your view of matters, I’ve either been practical, or wicked, and reserved a seat on the train, no pot luck for me! I cant do the same coming home, unfortunately, because I dont know exactly what time the course will end, and whether I will get out in time for the 5.00 shuttle, especially given my mobility limitations (its meant to end at 5.00), or need to be on 5.30 one, and that will affect the time I get back to Leeds station, and what train I’m able to get, so yes, wish me luck on that trip, especially as my disability is an invisible one! Hopefully my old commuting skills will return, and I can find a seat!

But yes, I know, I’m partially disabled (suspect I count as disabled, but prefer not to see myself as that, just yet), so I shouldnt be bothered by covering myself this way, but I do! But yes, it will be nice in the morning, knowing I dont have to scramble to get a seat on a rush hour train.

The video, talking of things wicked…

Say hello, then wave goodbye (again)

Given that I worked in Leeds for about 10 years non stop, and a couple of temp things after that, plus numerous interview related visits (jobs and agencies) its hard to believe its been 15 months since I’ve been there. Yes, since I started working in Bradford, last August, not been there once, quite amazing. Until now, at least.

Yes, tomorrow I get to go to Leeds for the first time since, to do my presentation piece for my department of the Civil Service, though for that, it would be hard to get lost as the venue is about 2 minutes from the station! In truth, I’m more concerned about the reliability of Trans Pennine Express, and their trains, than that! And yes, I know its been a while, but I cant imagine an audience of just over 100 is going to bother me, as I’ve performed to far more than that, though not in quite a while.

The irony is, Thursday, I’m also going to Leeds, though more on the outskirts this time. Certainly going out will be via Bradford, and Yeadon, but I’m not quite sure of the return route yet. If I need to get a bus, then the obvious route takes me into Leeds city center, and then a train home from there. But no, I wont be looking at any sights, just getting home as quick as I can!

Its funny, I dont miss Leeds. I’ve always missed Bradford if its been a while, and I definitely miss Wakefield, where I havent been for a long while either. But Leeds, no, not really. Maybe its familiarity breeds contempt, or something, but never been a huge fan of the place. It was always a case of get to work, get home from work again with Leeds, and that was it.

But yes, I never thought I would say the train journey to Leeds will be a fresh experience, but tomorrow, it will pretty much be so! Mind, I do wonder if after this week, whether it will be another 15 months, or more before I go there again? Strange where life takes you, isnt it?

The video, well maybe its a bit much to call them a Leeds band, but its strictly where Soft Cell were formed, at Leeds Poly. Just love this song, and this is a rare chance to actually use it! Vocals are live, music, not so sure?

The number in the audience

Well, this time next week, I’ll probably be telling you how my presentation went in Leeds, and how I felt doing something like that again, after a number of years. Its fair to say that over the years, on a number of occasions, I’ve performed in front of a lot more than about 120 people, so it should be a piece of cake. Yes, famous last words, and all that!

There is also the fact that back then, I was presented with a script, which I had to learn, anything between a few lines, and considerably more lines, depending on the role! Of course, this time around, I have to come up with my own script. In truth, I’m not planning a verbatim, must be followed word for word script for myself, going to go with a mix of pertinent notes, and improvisation, so that I can at least react to the audience, as I have no idea what I’m letting myself in for, in that sense.

Yes, there is another issue with a strict script, my vision! If I did that, I would have to wear my reading glasses, and then I wouldnt be able to see the reaction of much of my audience, because beyond about 10 feet (3 metres?), everything is blurred wearing them. And yes, if I wear my long range glasses, to be able to interact with them, I wouldnt be able to read the script clearly, so…

Be an interesting test of an actresses skills, for sure!

Apparently my ‘publicity manager’ is planning for me to review the performance at least in the office, in our communications hour, which will be a smaller audience, but a special one, being my actual workmates. As we are split in 2 groups for this (different times, to keep people on phones at all times), I presume that will be a double performance.

However, in terms of numbers, compared to what someone I know will be experiencing in just over a fortnight, my numbers are tiny! I have no idea when Julia Kneale last appeared on a stage, but I doubt it was in front of nearly 3,500 people! Hey, I think my biggest audience is about 600 – 800! Unless you’re an OMD fan, the name may not mean a lot to you, but if you are, especially from the early days, you probably do. Yes, one famous song, more on that shortly!

I know, its one of those silly things in these modern days, that someone you’ve never actually met, but regard as a friend? And I dont just mean the ‘I sometimes look at her postings kind’ either, on both parts. Yes, she’s making an appearance at the OMD concert in York (she lives nearby) on 18th, where she thinks she’s just making a brief appearance, but knowing Andy, as much as I do, I wouldnt be surprised if it isnt more. Sadly I cant get there. Tickets went on sale when I was in the US in September, and by the time I got back, all the seated tickets were gone, and with my back, I couldnt stand for the full length of the show now. I mean, I tried that a few years ago in Leeds, before my back went, and my knees were so painful afterwards that walking was a challenge at the end!

I suspect that when you get down to it, appearing in front of that size of audience is no different to 600, but wouldnt have a clue? Hopefully she’ll tell me afterwards! But yes, Andy, if you read this, and want to offer to sneak me in, on the 18th, I’d be so grateful. Yes, it would be amazing to meet the band, but meeting Julia, after all this time, would be so special too. Oh fine, meeting Martin Cooper would be something special for me too!

Right, the video. Yes, Julia’s song, as in Julia Kneale’s song. This is a more recent performance by OMD, though of course this song dates back to the days of the band before then, the Id.

Testing out theories about electric chairs, maybe?

Oh fine, that title relates more to the video, than what I will actually be doing, but its loosely related. Hey, I know, I’d be more interested in being the one wired up, than offering advice on it, anyway!

OK, with this job I’m doing at present, for a couple more weeks at least, before taking up the better offer, the fun starts here! The last 4 weeks, which were 2 weeks of customer service training, followed by 2 weeks of customer service theory were fine, hardly surprising given my work history, lets face it. But now, assuming that no one discovers my plans, and throws me out, or they simply come to a deal to let me go (at interview, I was told earliest start was 9.00, which I could do. at job, earliest start is 7.30, which I cant do, to Leeds), I go into technical services training.

Lets face it, anyone here that knows me well, knows that I’m more interested in being controlled by technology, than being the one in control. They also probably know that my personal technical knowledge, isnt a lot! Why worry, when its not the side of technology I want to be on, and a couple of folk here know a lot more about it than me, anyway? So yes, this could be, err, fun! The only blessing is, however much of it I pick up, I’m not going to be putting it into practice anyway, which might, or might not be for the best?

To be honest, I’m not sure how much I will learn will be of use to me in the outside world, or how much of it is so purely related to the job, to know how much benefit I will get from it, but we will see? And yes, you’re also right, I’d much prefer it if the technology training was being done in a ‘suitable’ technological way! Ah well…

Electric chair? Fine, depends how its aligned, I guess? Neural download chair, oh yes please, most definitely! I might even stay if it was being done like that! 😀 Sadly, not going to happen, but then again, neither is me staying!

There is one other little downside, training means I’m back to 9.00 starts, which means getting up by 5.45, so, yuck! I will get a little more time in the evening, so swings and roundabouts, but besides that…?

OK, video time. No, I dont think I’ll count as a Tesla Girl at any point, though I will be testing out technological theories, I guess? Me, fine, I’d be happier being the one in the chair, having my mind, and body tampered with, but besides all that…whistles innocently… Not the original video though, this is live in Los Angeles, a week ago today. Only wish I could have been there, believe me!