The Land Of Make BELIEVE

And so there endeth the first full week of working from home. I’ve got to be honest and say that I still haven’t adjusted to the routine yet, and it does get a bit lonely at times with just Dennis and Fluffy to talk to, but at the end of the day, being my own boss has some distinct advantages. When I think back to the distractions of office life, with people cackling away right left and centre in an open plan office, it makes a nice change to be able to get your head down and just crack on: until tea break that is. Don’t you worry, I take a few of them even if it is just to walk about and grab a glass of water or something.

People used to say I was disciplined when I got up before 5am to ride 25 miles into work. I kid you not: that was a breeze compared to lying in bed at 7am with a cat on my lap, knowing that I have to get up now, this instant, and get logged on to start work. At around the same time as I would have been falling into the shower to get warmed up just a few weeks ago, I’m now having to drag myself out of bed to start the day shift. It’s a world apart from anything I’ve ever known before.

LifeCycleForNeuroblastoma – the bike ride – continues to sit on the back burner while I contemplate how long I need to recover from the hand injuries that finally took me off the bike, a thousand miles after I originally fell off. Jane is doing a Swedish Massage course and she returned from her weekend of tutorials last Sunday with a theory that with hand injuries, the trick is to maintain movement but only within the bounds of pain. So that’s got me thinking that maybe what I should do is strap my thumb to the first finger, but leaving enough movement that I can do simple stuff like hold a pen or a knife (I’m right handed y’see). But the upside of this rather odd ruse should then be that I’d be physically prohibited from the range of movement that’s extra sore. I’ve waited eight weeks for an improvement, not seen or felt any whatsoever and I think it’s time I took matters into my own hands and got this thing sorted. I haven’t been on the bike for over three weeks now and I’m starting to wonder whether I should just abandon the layoff and get back on it, albeit strapped up. There’s no point in saying “I’ll see how it feels next week because I already know: the same as this week, last week and the week before… L

Anyway, enough of my woes, I’ve been enthused this week, and also right royally entertained I might add, by Mouldy’s escapade from Lands End to John O’Groats, the so-called LEJOG ride. Seven of them started out from Lands End on Monday morning, and whilst one guy has apparently chucked it, the other six, including our hero, are still going strong and will cross the border into North Britain tomorrow. They must be about halfway now they’ve arrived at the border. I have to admit mind, that I’ve had a wee chuckle to myself while I’ve been reading Mouldy’s blog. His roommate’s a bit of a snorer by all accounts and the big man’s been missing out on his beauty sleep. Not only that, but the weather’s been a bit Fenwick Muirish in places and the lads have been getting a bit of a soaking. That’s okay when you only have twenty odd miles to do, but when you’re in the saddle all day long and the rain’s lashing down, and it’s cold, it can be a very, very lonely place: the banter stops and it all becomes a bit of a game of mental endurance. Mouldy, I know you’ll be reading this after another hard day on the road: I’ve every faith in you mate. We all have. You’re doing this in the name of your wee pal, Tommy’s wee pal, the wee pal I never got to meet in the flesh. That rain you talk of is just wee Oscar playing with his watering can. That’s what I used to tell myself on my darkest days (sic). You’ll be fine, with or without your saddle sores.

Now, talking of the wee man, it’s the Grand National tomorrow and another chance to pile the money on Gallant Oscar. Stephen (Oscar’s dad) posted earlier that Ozzie was being touted at 18/1 so I’ll be having a bit of that, thank you very much. And if it wins, just as Pineau Du Rea did two years ago, the winnings will be going on LFCN. It would be superb if Gallant Oscar wins the National. There won’t be a dry eye in many a house if it happens, I can tell you.

Now while I’ve been sat on my backside trying not to pile on the pounds (you can never tell while you’re lazing about the house in joggies) I’ve been looking at the LCFN Facebook page from a completely different perspective. Gone are the posts about the weather and gone are the posts about punctures, broken glass and sunrises. But in their place, or should I say, still there, because they always lived in and around the bike stuff, are some great articles on all things cancer and wellbeing related. Tonight I even shared a very stimulating article about an Italian doc who may have stumbled across a cure for MS by accident. I’m proud of the bike ride, I’m proud of the blog, but the thing I’m most proud of is the Facebook group. That has somehow managed to keep over 700 people educated, entertained, saddened but over the piece enlightened about a disease that I dare say most of us had never heard of this time three years ago. LCFN the Facebook group is here to stay…

I said on the Facebook page last night that this week’s blog would be a celebration of belief, and that’s exactly how I want it to be remembered. We’ve got Mouldy believing that he’s gonna make it all the way to John O’Groats. We’ve got my old programming mate from twenty years ago, Big Al, chucking his permanent job and going contracting. We’ve got another old mate from ten years ago, Jak, chucking his permanent role in IT Infrastructure and going out on his own. Then there are my fellow redundees from my old place: all of us believe in ourselves and in our ability to add value to somebody’s business: in my case, it just happens to be in Liverpool.

But the belief game is so much more than that. In Maria (fae Queensland) and Nicola (fae Sussex) I have two of the most positive thinking people in my circle. Maria point blank refuses to entertain negativity, end of story, whilst Nicola overcame cancer herself, gave up her old job and started out on a new career as a fitness trainer. These girls are amazing, and they’re a great example of how good things happen when you surround yourself with positive minded people who simply refuse to give up in the face of adversity. That positive message story started for me with Fabiana and Anna at my work. I don’t think I’ve ever come across two individuals who ooze self belief that good things will happen like these two ladies. They call it The Secret after the book of the same name. I know that they’ll both read this and maybe have a wee red face but during some of my darkest LCFN moments, both on and off the bike, you guys have kept me focussed. Thank you.

But I can’t finish this week without going back to the real reason why LCFN exists in the first place: kids fighting neuroblastoma. I’ve been privileged to meet a number of children who have fought, and still are fighting for their lives. And I’ve met some parents who’ve been to hell and back along the way. One of the children I’ve followed, and he’s featured more than once in the blog, is wee Kian. Kian has undergone a long programme of difficult and at times, very painful treatment, and I’ve looked on from afar as Lisa, his mum, has kept everyone up to date with his progress, just as countless other parents have done down the years. How they find the emotional strength to do that is beyond me. You are heroes, one and all. But this has been a huge week in Kian’s journey as he prepared for the tests that might finally signify that he is NED (no evidence of disease) and perhaps able to finally start dreaming about following in Eileidh’s footsteps and seeking specialised treatment abroad that is not available in this country. All was going in the right direction until Lisa posted late last night that Kian is now fighting Septicaemia. This is devastating news, but Lisa can I say this: your wee warrior has beaten the odds so many times these past few months, we all pray that he’s gonna do it one more time. If it makes any difference to his chances, just whisper in his ear that the LifeCycle Man beat Septicaemia 27 years ago, and I’m hereby passing the baton of that battle to your wee fighter.

Negativity is not something we entertain on LCFN.

This is the land of make BELIEVE….