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  • Nine years and counting...

    Did you know that on 23rd August 2010 it was a gorgeous sunny day in Glasgow?

    It is one of the dates etched on my psyche.  I also had a morning meeting at church on finance matters, and my lunch was an egg mayo sandwich from Tescos!!

    23rd Agust 2010, my Mum underwent what was then pioneering heart surgery, at Oxford's John Radcliffe hospital. It was only offered to people whose prognosis was poor and who weren't strong enough for standard alternatives. I researched it at the time, and 50% of people survived surgery, of those 50% would be alive a month later... she was part of the 'good' 25% and had almost eight years. I researched it all again yesterday - with a decade of data they now have 90% suriviving surgery and almost 50% alive and well at ten years. Well done, Mum, you were one of the successes!

    23rd August 2010, I heard the dread words, 'I'm sorry it's cancer'. I did my own research, and the Nottingham Prognostic Index (NHS Predict was in its infancy back then) allocated me to the 'poor prognostic group'. Reputable websites gave me five year survivial stats of 50% and ten year of 30%. And here I am, nine years later, alive, well and living life fully. I used Predict again recently, and my ten year figures are a little under 50% - seems I'm a stats-beater, just like my Mum before me!

    All of this amazing treatment was provided free at the point of delivery by NHS England and NHS Scotland. Without getting too political, the NHS is over-stretched, under-funded and still doing amazing work.

    So, today as I become '9 year survivor' and am '8.5 years NED' two things...

    Firstly, be alert, do the checks, do the screening, rpeort the symptoms - it could just save your life, as it did mine.

    Second - value the NHS, do what you can to protect it, and never, ever take it it for granted.

    Lecture over!

    Remembering absent friends, grateful for my continuing health, and suitably humbled.

  • A Teaser...

    So what does this say? Come along on Sunday and you may find out!!

  • Worth a Read/Listen

    Yesterday, tipped off by a friend who had enjoyed reading it, I bought the audio-book of Revd Richard Coles' book, 'Fathomless Riches'.  Hearing him read his own story was great.  And because he's a mere nine months older than me, and grew up roughly twenty miles away from me (albeit a very different life from mine) it made for a fairly enjoyable nostalgia tour, as well as providing a very profound insight to his life up to the point of his ordination (a couple of years after my own).

    If you can handle some swearing, a lot of reference to sex and drugs, and some brutally honest stuff about faith and doubt, it's worth a read.  Indeed, it is a story of grace, redemption and hope, which has much to say to those of us who never did sex, drugs or rock-and-roll, and who are the white, heterosexual goody-goodies that the church likes so much.  That said, both he and I have had, 'cue spooky music' moments, and experiences of the Holy Spirit descending as a pigeon.

    Now, I'll return to Michele Obama reading her book 'Becoming' which is interesting and informative, but for me is not quite 'doing it' in the same way.  I guess I must be odd, most people rave about this book - whilst it's a good listen, it hasn't yet had an 'aha' moment for me.

  • The Wanderer Returns

    I've had a lovely break - visiting York, Howarth and Orkney.

    The central part of my holiday was the St Magnus Way Pilgrimage in Orkney - some 55 miles across beautiful countryside with coastal and inland views, varied terrain and not too much mud!

    The big surprise was the medal we were awarded at the end - shown above.  Isn't it beautiful?

    I return home rested, refreshed, several pounds heavier (too much amazing home-cooked food) and looking forward to what the autumn will bring.

    More bloggage in due course, but as I have a meeting this evening and a (family) funeral tomorrow need to get on!