34. Resolutions and Sweetcorn

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I used to make New Year resolutions every year. I could usually then count how many I kept up with towards the end of the year on no fingers. In recent years I have gone for a more goal and objective structure, with slightly better success. One year I decided that I was going to cut out loose sugar completely. Years later I have still kept to it. For many years I had tried to curb my high intake of diet coke without success. I would not go as far to say addicted but I made them some decent profits. I would have at least one can a day and over the weekend I could easily make my way through a two litre bottle and still have room for more. This year, not only did I cold turkey it to just one day at the end of the month, I have discovered that on that one day I am not bothered if I do or don’t have one.

Prostate cancer has a focusing nature about it.

Something life changing like that makes you take stock of your life. As wretched as it seems, sometimes, I still have much to be fortunate for. I have joined that group that are labelled survivors. This year when it came to resolutions and goals for the year I have made them SMART. For those not in the know the acronym SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. I have twelve of them in total but I am going to share the six pertaining to my prostate cancer journey,

  1. Publish ‘I am the One in Three’ book
  2. Touch typing
  3. More PC talks and become a trainer at PCUK
  4. Swimming
  5. Gym
  6. Do something different

Creating a blog has been so therapeutic for me and, hopefully, helpful for others. The mechanics of creating a blog are wonderfully simple. I had this blog up and running in only a couple of days. Creating a book is a completely different animal. You may have noticed that I have revamped the blog a little. What I have also done is gone over all of my previous blogs and corrected a lot of the grammar and spelling mistakes. I have been stopped in the office by a colleague and told that I have a few errors in the blog – not where – but nuggets for me to find. I honestly don’t just whack these blogs out there and hope for the best.  Eventually I get word blind so I get them double checked but some errors still creep through. I don’t think for a second that I have caught every single error so if you see one please, gently, let me know.

For a book I have to get it professionally checked for grammar, spellings and structure. Then I have to put together a covering letter, synopsis and start the hunt for an agent. That’s one route. Then there is the vanity publishing route. This route is for people who just want to get something in print, regardless of whether it’s marketable or any good. It’s mainly for short runs of no more than a couple of hundred and will cost a tidy sum. I could then market on places like Amazon. The third option is a mix between the two which is what a company like Matador does. They will vet the book just like a normal publisher and they will only accept books that they think are good enough to sell in large numbers. They will then act as agent and publisher.

I want to go down the agent and publisher route rather than vanity publishing and I will have my book in print in 2019.

I believe everything happens for a reason and where possible I will continue to encourage those around me in anyway I can. Meeting DeeDee the second time around was no accident. I told her about her gift and gave her a challenge. She stopped doubting herself and proudly announced that she has created her own blog but has not published it yet. I had the privilege to read her first blog and whether you are a person of faith or not she has a very interesting, powerful and entertaining message to give. I had a suspicion, however, that she had held back on things that had happened or had been said to her. I said if you start watering down what has been said or what has happened to you now, you will be watering them down all the time and the final message will not be the same. As the great Dale Carnegie said “If you have a Lemon, Make a Lemonade”. I would take that a little further and say “If you have enough Lemonade, distribute it to those that need a drink”. Regardless of what she decides I will be excited to share her blog with you once she decides to publish it.

I started a touch typing course late last year in a local college, it was only a short five week course. It was something that I always wanted to do and would of course be invaluable for the blog and book. The tutor had mentioned that over the years a lot of the smaller courses, that were popular with students but not profitable for the college, have been steadily cut from the curriculum. I would like to think that I didn’t jinx it but the next touch typing course was the next victim and it will not be running this new term. I will be continuing to teach myself touch typing. I have provisionally planned to be able to do all the alphabetic keys by the end of January. Additionally I am going to look at other college courses that I can do.

I am looking forward to getting back out on the road with ‘Dangerous Driving Dave’ or ‘Triple D’ (he will really love that) and doing another double act presentation. Regarding upcoming talks with prostate cancer, I have two later on this month. One that I am particularly keen on is one where I will give four talks, for the same company, in one day – that’s another first for me. I want to interview other people related to prostate cancer. I want to interview the elusive Dr C and interview key characters that I have mentioned at PCUK. I want to be able to train and evaluate new volunteers that join PCUK, so I will be pursuing that and keeping up the talks.

Running and the gym will be a challenge with the tiny bit of leaking that I still have but I have been out of the gym long enough. Once it has finally stopped, I want to learn to swim properly. I have pencilled that for the second half of the year.

I was having porridge for breakfast at work talking to my good friend Charles. I would describe Charles as a very jovial, easy going chap who, I have never seen lose his temper or even get flustered. The type you could share a life raft with and he wouldn’t eat you or toss you out as soon as you were asleep (hit day sixty however and no doubt all cards are on the table and I don’t fancy your chances). He reminds me of King Henry VIII without the beard, royalty and money. Charles is a bit of a chip off the old block and not the type to ask an opinion if you don’t really want it. If you were to ask him ‘do you think I look fat in this?’ you may never venture out of your house again once he had finished talking to you.

Over the years at breakfast myself and Charles have put the world bang to rights concerning capital punishment, crimes and human rights. Charles is from South Africa and has shared many a tale of eating and being chased by stuff we only see on TV or in wildlife parks and working practices that would give heart attacks to our health and safety officers. We are not talking some silly, soft liberal type here, a hard nut who is unphased. Often, we have fondly imagined having a dictatorship somewhere in the world and he would be my deputy or chief of police. Our discussions on the merits of public flogging of the youth, bankers, general transgressors and a delicate sprinkling of politicians were only undecided because we could not agree on the severity and methods used.

We were possibly in mid rant about something and we were interrupted by a guy that had attended the PC talk that I presented a couple of months ago. He wanted to thank me because his father had been referred for a MRI scan and then a biopsy, just before Christmas. He had deduced what was wrong with his father based on what I had said in the presentation. They had recently lowered the PSA threshold for men of his father’s age to 3.5 so now his condition had become a problem. He said that because of the talk he knew where his father was at the testing stage and was able to talk and reassure his father and the rest of the family of what was to come. He was just so grateful. I said to him that he should have a look at the blog and even pass it on to his dad as well. Later when I passed him the blog details, I also told him to send me a message anytime if he wanted to have a talk or even if his dad wanted to have a talk. He was not the thinking about it type and within minutes he had got back to me and we had made an appointment for the coming Monday to all meet over a coffee. More on that another time.

Back to the porridge. I have never been a fan of porridge. I have insulted and cursed it, in all manner of ways – mainly prison related. However, assault it viciously, with enough currents and it strangely becomes palatable and less gaol like. This would be an example of me trying something different – moving outside of the box. As a child I used to love peas. I didn’t like the colour of sweetcorn so I refused to try them for years. One day I tried a spoonful. Well that was it. Hello sweetcorn! Where have you been all my life? I never had a green pea again. I would describe myself as a little bit of a fussy eater. Boss mum will give you an earful for a long as you stayed to listen about my eating habits and Annette would make a face or two and then possibly a sigh.  This year, where I can do something differently, I will try to do so and it’s certainly not only food related. I am going to walk more, I have thought about a cruise (I have always said only fat and old people go on cruises).  I am going to experiment and push my own comfort zones. It’s very loosely planned.

Still grinning and overjoyed about becoming a finalist in the UK Blog Awards – it is a humbling and fantastic achievement. As you do, I took a look at the other fantastic finalists in the Wellbeing category. Here they are if you want to have a look too,

Roots and Toots

Nicoles Journey Helens Journey
Natalie Ellis HR Happy and Healing Being and Niceness

Chloe Chats

 

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