Thursday, 19 June 2014

All clear

To expand on what most of you would have read - yes, I got the all clear today. After three and a half years of tedious bullshit, I was given the moment I've been building up to since I was diagnosed. No more leukaemia. No more medication. It is over.

I feel pretty great, if not a bit cautious of how surreal the situation is. I've not technically had cancer for quite some time. Nearly three years, probably. But then when a doctor gives you the official verdict like he did today, then it makes it all the more legit. And this has always been a journey that felt nearly infinite in its length of time, so it never felt like being complete until the whole thing was done.

Anyway, I'm having a drink tonight because I feel like I could do with one. Thank you all for your messages of support over the years, your collective presence, and for hoping that I got better. I'm not really into superstitious stuff, but I genuinely believe that it made a difference.

Big love, as always.

Friday, 28 February 2014

The Hard Shoulder

I've recently moved home and entered the world of unemployment. Not the smartest of one-twos, but then I'm a pious believer of the swings and roundabouts theology, dictating that should fuck ups like such occur after huge expenditure ventures (or expentures, if you're a bellend), then one must just 'fucking deal with it, mate'. Yes, having no money is tricky, and not having a job is probably trickier, but I can still afford extra lean minced beef (and 1kg boxes of Shreddies, and haircuts, and Zone 1-3 Tube travel, and pineapples, and I could go on). I'll be fine.

My body insists on being a proper cunt, though, so I've had to contend with that. Over Christmas my shoulder decided to pack in, leaving it about as mobile as the Titanic, and those well versed in my hip complaints would perhaps understand that I shat bricks over the prospect of scoring even more points on Disability Bingo. Thankfully, it looks to be a minor (ha, yeah ok Doctor, MINOR) issue that's slowly healing. I had an MRI this week and will wait with nervy patience for the prognosis, but the general vibe is that it'll return to normal eventually.

Let's talk about MRIs. Now, I know that I've never had my nipple pierced, or had any shrapnel enter my eyes, or been stabbed in the belly with a screwdriver, but I damn sure mistrusted myself when being rolled into the giant magnet machine. The attendant really does plant the seeds of doubt, too. "So you've never been shot, then?" "No" "Are you sure about that?" "Erm... yes?" "Ok, as long as you're sure." And then you have the claustrophobia to contend with. I never realised I suffered from it until having to slowly descend head first into one of these motherfuckers. Barely audible Classic FM doesn't ease the apprehension either, and the stupidest thing I did this week was not choosing Heart FM as my station of choice during my half hour stay in the disco coffin. In summation: fuck MRIs. Can stem cells hurry it along and somehow eliminate the need for these? Please?

Health wise I'm alright, and treatment finishes soon. I'm not sure what's more insane, what I just said there, or that three years later I'm still actually receiving treatment. In any case, it's about three or four more intravenous visits, a lumbar puncture, and then a bone marrow biopsy to top it off. A hat-trick of ball aches, but it really does end soon. The thought of throwing a huge party to celebrate the end has just popped into my head, and I'm now convinced that it's an excellent idea, so look out for that pals.

Thanks for reading. Should anyone correctly guess my next job role, I'll give them a mention in my next blog post (scheduled sometime next year). Can't buy you anything - I'm too selfish. Nothing to do with being poor.


Thursday, 15 August 2013

This laptop is so hot it's making my belly button sweat

'Sup chums!

I'm still alive, still kickin' it, still got that cancer $wag. To clear up things with what happened to this webspace and its (apparent) demise, I just got some serious writer's block is all. During the first half of 2012, when I was balls deep in the university avenger initiative, churning out essays and short stories for academic advancement was all on the regular, which chipped away at my desire to plonk myself in front of a laptop and vomit out a bunch of words whilst consciously trying to fabricate an impression of intelligence and insight. Stick a cancer backdrop to all that and I just could not be fucking bothered.

So it's been a whole year gone and I'm back like The Rock, with not a lot changed from before. The ghost of cancer past continues to haunt me like the mysterious stranger from Fallout, I still read books and pretend to understand them, and I carry on contracting pneumonia every now and then. I am who I am and I'll be who I'll be.

There have been a number of life altercations worth mentioning though. My face is NO LONGER HUGE. The complete lack of steroids has enabled me to drop the Michelin Man monicker, and I've reclaimed the jawline from the good features thief-bastard man. I also got rid of those nauseating curls, meaning that I can now slick my hair back with a comb because that's what all the cool turds are doing these days, except I don't actually do that much now because I don't want to be a turd. I even do exercise (lol), so I look like a God. A God amongst cancer patients.

On the drastically shitter side of things, towards the tail end of last year I was diagnosed with avascular necrosis of the hip. Both hips, that is. And a femur, for lols. To condense an earth shattering event into one paragraph, it goes a little like this:

All the steroids that I was taking did some serious damage to my hip bones, restricting the blood flow and effectively killing a part of them (hence the 'necro' part for you language buffs.) It's not killed the entirety of the hips, and the right one is barely noticeable at this stage, but the movement in my left leg has been hugely restricted, and it hurts like a bitch. It's also an irreversible condition that requires total hip replacements to fix, once the pain becomes too intense. Here's a picture to show you just how utterly grim it is:

As far as one knows, injecting masses of stem cells into dead things as a procedure isn't up to much, so it's really just a case of having to chill with it until a doctor eventually decides that he's going to get the hacksaw out and replace the hips with a pair of supersized ping-pong balls. I'll keep you in the loop.

So there it is, really. If you've ever seen me limping, and wondered 'hey, why's Ryan limping god-fucking-dammit?' then it's because of this unmitigated disaster. I can still kick my heels, mind you, so not all is lost.

Otherwise, things are pretty much how they've always been. Hairlines recede, eyesights get worse, money gets made. The short of all this is that yes, I'm fine, and yes, life is pretty decent, in spite of the odd few mishaps. Let it be known though that if I do need to get a walking stick, I'm definitely going to enjoy forcing twats to stand up when I board busy tube carriages, and I'm definitely sticking a little direwolf of House Stark on top of it.

I do want this blog to have a revamp and an increase in content. Help me out with this please! My desire to write is fuelled by activity from pals. Drop a comment, let me know what you think and then maybe I'll keep writing.



Saturday, 11 August 2012

This is a bit awkward.

Years ago our cat Barney disappeared for about 2 months. Inexplicably, without warning, he just upped and left for eight solid weeks, until finally he strolled through the front door, sheepishly crept into the living room and stared at us like he'd just shat on the bathroom floor. As he sat there hopelessly denying culpability, we could all tell that his conscience was wrestling with a desperate need to escape. He'd only come back because he felt like a right arsehole about leaving in the first place.

Well, here I am, similarly going through those motions. Nearly 3 months without an update and I feel obliged to give you a bit of a catch up as to what's been going on, all in the while horrendously ashamed that I've gone this long without even the slightest hint of a dialogue. Is that the right term? Dialogue? Well none of you guys ever leave comments so I guess it isn't. BITCHEH!

But don't worry, I'm not mad, and I hope you guys aren't mad at me. In fact, I really hope that your mood doesn't hinge on the regularity of my blog updates. If it does, seek help. If it doesn't, I envy your life's probable excitement that is likely generated by a reason to get up in the morning and a social life that doesn't involve two hours of travel, supplemented of course by extortionate costs and weirdos who complement you on your socks.

Oh what the fuck am I even talking about here? The be all and end all is that I've been a lazy, decadent dullard who can't seem to juggle the responsibilities of numerous things at once. The result of this absolute shambles has been utter negligence towards this blog, and here we are without an update in three months. One must start to question the passion that I have for the site these days as I seem to prefer lazy days involving watching episodes of Frasier to letting you all know what's been happening in Ryanland.

And yes, I'm trademarking that shit before you get any ideas.

The truth is, the longer this blog remains as an account of my life as a cancer 'patient', the more and more I lose interest in contributing to it. The way I see things, this whole cancer thing has, well... no. I don't want to say that it's ended. That's tempting fate a bit, yes? But... I'm moving on. I can't let leukaemia define who I am and the longer this place reminds me of my struggles through it the less inclined I am to hold it in such personal regard.

Don't worry though, this isn't a 'fuck this I'm abandoning ship' kind of deal. It's more of a 'we really need to move the furniture around a bit'. I really love blogging, writing and - if your words are to be trusted - entertaining. But things should really change. My life isn't that interesting these days, but I feel the things that I observe are. So if I can find the spark that can ignite my creative side again, then exciting things may well happen to this place.

So yeah, this space. Watch it.


p.s. The first change: Helvetica for all.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

"Did you smash it?"

Kings and Queens and all your knights.


Thought I'd just swoop down here and drop off a quick update regarding the weekend's proceedings. Seeing as I badgered you all not once but twice into donating money for Ellise I thought it'd only be fair to tell how how she actually got on. She smashed it. Much in the same way that Lenin smashed the Bolshevik revolution, or how Rivaldo smashed the sperm race, Ellise took the piss out of 10k, finishing the two laps of Regent's Park without a sweat even breaking upon her forehead. This of course means that London marathon is in the process of being sorted and similar expectations will have to be met. The hopes are all on your Irish shoulders now, Ellise. 

Well... obviously she did sweat. She's not RoboCop. But still. SMASHED IT.

Thanks for the donations to those who parted with their cash. To those who didn't, how do you sleep at night? If you're unable to answer that question and are indeed having trouble falling asleep with your TAINTED CONSCIENCE then you can rectify this by finding a link on the previous post and donating. Otherwise, out of my sight you hellions.

I'll let you judge how serious I am with that thinly veiled belligerence. But yeah, nice one guys.

The next three weeks are going to be utter hell for me due to deadlines and exams, so apologies if I don't update this. If I get a spare moment I'll try and write some nonsense about abandoned buildings or disconcerting weather formations or trigonometry. 


Friday, 11 May 2012

Five stars, mate. Five stars.

Cops and robbers!

I've been considering what the best use of five pounds is. Five pound sterling, usually comes in note form which itself boasts a lovely shade of green (NB: the five pound note has always been my favourite note, purely for aesthetic reasons, but big up the fifty pound note for having an almost magnanimous sense of sorcery attached to it, the kind of sorcery that makes your bum cheeks clench whenever you hold one).

Pose me this philosophical query circa fifteen years ago then I would have straight up said Merlin Premier League stickers (I've still got the albums somewhere; I think completing the West Ham pages of the 1995/96 season is my crowning achievement). A few years later I'd have been on the Pokemon card bandwagon so have some of those fivers in your cash registers, you bastard merchants. The manner in which card packs were (and still are, nowadays said cards are just shit) placed directly in front of a kid's line of sight, like some glitzy Amsterdam slut, was a stroke of genius by shopkeepers across the country. No fucking wonder games like Magic the Gathering got so much fanfare.

That's not to say I oppose Magic the Gathering, but come one. That had no right becoming as popular as it did.

Shout out to former glories such as vanilla coke, jawbreakers and old school Bioware games. Back in the day a fiver would have bagged you the lot and your afternoon would be sorted. These days though a fiver wont really get you far. Maybe a bus fare and a twix? After which the remnants are rendered so pointless they're slotted into the embarrassingly gimmicky piggy bank that sits on your windowsill, mostly used to fund bus fares and twixes. I suppose you could put it towards collecting clutter and crap, but unless it's LEGO I'm not really interested.

Maybe it's actually becoming an adult that's stifled this vividly imaginative notion concerning the wonders that five pounds can bring. However, I for one blame the internet. Yes, yes, I realise that even the bluntest of smart arses will point out that 21st century revelations such as the internet provide a gargantuan haven of wonderful shit that you can buy for five pounds or less (plus postage, transaction fee, blah blah blah). But hasn't that killed it? Going to the shop, buying awesome bargains and rushing home to waste your time faffing about with them was pure class. Having the thing just handed to you on your doorstep kind of kills off the excitement a little bit, no?

Yes, of course. I'm right. So now that I've established that, what else is there to do with a fiver? Oh what's that you say? Donate it to charity?

Oh yes, you unlucky bastards know where this is going.

Ellise is doing a 10km run this Sunday in Regent's Park all in the name of leukaemia care. Why she would run for that particular charity I've no idea, but in any case it's a noble cause for which she deserves sacks of cash. So if you've been impressed by my incredibly roundabout way of having you part with your own money, then do head to the link at the bottom of the page and think about donating a bit, be it a fiver or whatever.

Cheers for reading. I hope the bit that wasn't guilt tripping you into donating money was entertaining.


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The first of eighteen chapters on why I'm better than most.

So I've been reading Ulysses.

That's not just a statement of intellectual superiority, by the way. I could sit here typing ferocious interpretations about what it all means, all the while punching you in the face with an arrogance that can barely contain itself as it nearly comes to climax over the types of book I choose to read. But you see, that would all be a false commotion on my part, purely because I for one don't like writing about books, despite undertaking a degree that depends on my ability to do so, and I never out of my own volition decided to pick up this beastly tome and absorb its horrendous vastness. You can blame the degree for that as well.

But I can't simply pick up this former colony of trees and gloss over it like a magazine, then lodge it back on the bookshelf never to be picked up again as if it were some Richard and Judy chick lit designed to spend more time in holiday suitcases than in the tight grasp of the eager reader's palm. There's just something about this novel. You might render that a disastrous conclusion coming from a lit student who plans to write on this text for an upcoming exam, yet having mulled over certain points and events and themes, and having considered what meaning they all amalgamate into, I'm still entirely not sure what makes this novel such a fantastic one. And as far as I'm concerned, that's what makes a great book really great.

As a disclaimer, I should probably point out that when I first started reading Ulysses I was rather unyielding in my critique. In fact, I might have used the term 'a piece of shit' with great vitriol after getting past the first three chapters. But that's the thing about Ulysses, I suppose. It's a book that rewards you for persistence. Anyone who reads it and doesn't have a clue what's going on when Stephen dallies around Sandymount Strand should probably take heart from the fact that pretty much no one does.

It's a book that questions our need to take meaning from absolutely everything that we encounter. By launching volley after volley of historical references or cultural fancies that you wouldn't have the faintest chance of acknowledging without the use of google (how they managed it in the early twentieth century I have no idea), there seems to be that subtle dig at the intellectual. Once you strip away those references and fancies all you have are the happenings of a single day. Unremarkable, sure, but always conscious their intricacies with the nature of human emotion.

It amazes me how we write days off when it comes to the end of them. I'm guilty of this more than anyone. Time for bed? Right. Another day chalked off. And what happened? Well, a great fucking deal happened, most likely. Perhaps we don't notice because we're always preoccupied with something that demands our attention. There's always something lurking around the clouds of our mind. Something that's occurring later that day perhaps, of even later that week. Later that year even. There's always an event that manages to overshadow everything else that's currently taking place. Therefore, these dwarfed events of little importance are discarded, or dismissed, or barely even noticed at all.

In an ideal world, I'd love to take in everything that happens in a day. From the moment I wake I want to remark about everything with great detail. What do these things invoke for me? Why are they happening, and what significance will they hold for me later? I hate how diminished our collective attention spans have become, mostly because mine is just as bad as everyone else. Like I said, it would only happen in an ideal world.

Oh well. Such is life these days. Just remember one thing though: reading is fucking cool. So go do it.

I'm off to eat a sandwich. That's if my ego can fit through the door first.