Sunday, December 29, 2013

What a year.....

My last post was intended to bring people up to speed after my lack of writing. It wasn't detailed nor grammatically brilliant but I thought it was a reasonable summation of my life to then.
This post will be similar I guess, 2013 has been an incredible year for us, Wendy and I have settled into our new jobs and speaking from my point of view are enjoying them. Mine has been hard from the point of view that I am working more hours than I have for ages and some of my days have been longer than I have worked since I got into education. Because of this our work life balance isn't quite as good as it could be but I can not complain at all.
I had the news last week that the hospital don't want to see me for six months! That was a real shock, I'd been feeling under the weather and tired with my hours at work, I really need to remember what I have been through and that the treatment has aged my body quicker than my mind! Six months is something I never thought I'd hear. I thought I'd always be four monthly, six months may sound often to some but to someone who was used to going every other day its a massive luxury, not to mention a huge boost in confidence that the treatment has worked.
I asked the consultant about doing a new years day swim and other than suggesting my mental health should be checked he saw no reason for me not to take part. I took part five years ago and although there is nothing to connect a swim in the sea with a none hodgkins lymphoma it does stick in the mind. Whether I need to do it as yet another up yours cancer or what I have no idea but do it I shall, I do hope it's a little warmer than last time though.
Being utterly selfish I have had an utterly wonderful year. Being me I have had an utterly wonderful year tinged with incredible sadness. The anniversary of Gareth's death hit me hard again this year, I guess it always will. A good friend lost his wife to cancer a year after sitting on our sofa and talking about life late into the night. Then to cap it off one of the most amazing women I have ever had the pleasure to meet has been told her cancer has come back. She is one of the nicest people in the world and her husband is a perfect match for her, mellow and loving. They met later on in life and have lived more in those years than some people live in a hundred. What cancer is and why it happens I have no idea, all I know is that it happens and it takes loved ones. Having been rather close to not telling this story I have come to the conclusion that everyday is a blessing and that everyday is to be lived. I am not saying live every day as your last but everyday has the opportunity to be a good day, to be remembered for the laughter or the smiles or the sunrise or sunset, the feeling of the wind in my thinning hair or the sting of the rain walking the dog, things I can feel when others can not.
I love my life, I will always miss those who I cannot share time with but I will remember them and the times I did share with them. I will cry for those who go before their time. I will feel the pain of their passing but I will remember how they were and the joy they brought me and I will try to share that with others.
I will live my life loving my family and friends and being me, the luckiest man alive today.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The new me

Firstly an apology, well maybe an explanation not an apology as such. I haven't written on the blog for a long time, just over two years to be honest. This has been for several reasons, the first, misguided, reason was that I thought I didn't need to blog anymore. How wrong I was.
Secondly, blogging while teaching I find odd and an emotionally difficult thing to do. The blog has for me been a vent for frustrations and emotions. If I were to write about some of the challenges and challenging students I faced I would quickly be sacked or in the papers for being unprofessional.
I have had an incredible time over the two years since posting last, we've moved house, I've bought a motorbike, I've started a new job, Wendy has a new job, Wendy's been to New York (the week the hurricane hit), Georgia has moved to secondary school, we've been to Jersey and Paris and Pembrokeshire, I've got my tattoo, I've taken part in a mountain bike race (didn't finish but got two thirds of the way round a 30 mile route), I've lost a best friend to an accident, Ive lost a dear friend to cancer, I've made new friends, I've tried golf (it's not great but it's not terrible), I've cried a bit, I've laughed so much that I've cried, I've wondered why me and I've felt incredibly lucky.
Mostly though I feel blessed, lucky isn't enough, I have my family. The house we live in now has an incredible view over the valley which I have spent hours looking at thinking how amazing my life is. I have a new job which combines my love of engineering and the joy I find in passing on knowledge. The little adventure into the word of patents and intellectual property with Charlie is working out nicely and I can find nothing to complain about in the world I live in.
Yet until last week something was nagging at the back of my mind. My mind has been the weakest part of my recovery, fighting battles of why am I still alive mixed with I wonder if that pain is something I should worry about or not. I have had counselling which helped tremendously, through that I found that the job I was doing was giving me no room to build my emotional resilience. 
Through a conversation with Mark and then subsequent investigations at hospital showed my body was lacking testosterone. A new prescription of HRT (insert jokes here) which will probably last me a life time and I had a new lease of life. More energy and patience and a certain zest for life now comes in a gel which I rub on my shoulders and midrif, no where near the family jewels!
Life had reached, I thought, a peak of balance and contentment. Then last week I went out with some friends from my last job. We laughed and chatted over old times, new times and life in general. I was shattered so left early and drove home, part way I smiled and laughed to myself. I got in and sat with my wonderful wife and cried. We both shed a tear, the thought I'd had was that not once in the evening had anyone asked how I was. There was no reference to my health or hospitals or anything cancer related.
It was so amazing to be 'normal' I cannot explain how emotional the aftermath of being ill is but I now feel that I'm through, I'm Nick Hart. Husband, dad, son, brother, friend, engineer, lecturer, biker, eater of curry, drinker of beer and lover of life.
Thank you Wend you are utterly wonderful and I love you with all my heart.
Thank you to everyone else who's read this blog, it has been incredibly cathartic for me and I hope not too badly written for you reading it.