A scare -- and a proud moment
15 Jul 2012
It's been quite a fortnight: a proud parental moment, a return to cycling, a shock on the health front, and a nice moment when I formally received my Lung Cancer Journalism Award.
I'll run quickly through these in order (sometimes it's nice to be tidy-minded!). Our younger daughter Rachel has completed her BA Hons in Graphic Design (degree result next week and it looks like she's heading for a good one) and we went to her final degree show. I was impressed, not just with her work but with so much talented and innovative design work from her fellow students at Kingston University. That was followed by the 'London Show' in Brick Lane, which Rachel was curating. It was exhausting work for her but it was a great way to round off her 4 years at Kingston.
This is part of Rachel's display at the show. I particularly like the grainy, black-and white photographs of old spoons, which are a way of reflecting - and characterising - family history through familar, everyday objects seen in a new light (see photo above).
It's now just the small matter of finding a good start to her career. She's already had some very succesful placements, which augur well even though these are tough times for new graduates, especially in something like graphic design. So, if there are any graphic designers out there in need of a bright, keen and able young graduate (and an all round lovely person, naturally), have a look at her website: Rachel Baker multi-disciplinary graphic designer
Meanwhile, although time is too short to put in enough mileage before my big charity ride, I have at least managed some moderate length bike rides. My stamina and strength are still below-par, following the kidney/bladder infection, but I have managed some nice rides, including a nice jaunt down the Thames towpath with old BBC colleague Don Brind. And today, with the sunshine finally peeping out, I managed 27 miles along the Culm Valley in Devon. My thanks to Jamie from Cullompton who, having overtaken me, slowed down and rode with me for a few miles just when I was flagging. Thanks, Jamie.
I am now ready to join Reka, Penny and the other intrepid cancer patients on the The RIde. They have already started their marathon from John O'Groats to London (via Ireland and Wales) - see the website to follow their impressive progress. I look forward to joining them in Holyhead next Sunday. Reka, in particular, is a marvel. She is sandwiching a 1000 mile ride between two sets of chemotherapy treatment. Now that takes guts.
Meanwhile, to reassure those who have been kind enough to share their concern at me undertaking this, let me say that I do not necessarily expect to finish each day and I solemnly promise not to push myself to the point of dangerous tiredness. Any miles I don't manage in Wales, I will make up at a later date. So, please do still sponsor me. I am getting close to the £5,000 target for the cancer charity Yes To Life, so please, please help me get there by being very generous and visiting: www.justgiving.com/Michael-Baker8 It would be great to get to £5,000 for a very deserving charity that doesn't have a big income.
I did have a bit of a shock this week when a blood test showed abnormally high levels of calcium. I saw my oncologist and he said this can be an indication that the cancer has spread into the bones, a very worrying possibility. It can also be that the level of cancer cell activity is generally higher. So - despite my previous misgivings - I have agreed to have a bone scan and another CT scan next week, which will confirm this one way or the other. However, a few days later, a second blood test showed my calium levels to be normal. This was a great relief -- but I will still go ahead with the scans next week.
Amid this upsettng scare, it was nice to have the distraction of a visit from the lovely Emma Gunby from the Roy Castle Lung Foundation who came to present me with the UK Lung Cancer Journalism Award. Apparently I now go forward with all the other national award winners from around the world to see who wins the global award.
So - 1 week to go - and then it's the hills (and downhills!) of Wales. Can't wait.
Once again, thanks for reading this blog and do please send your comments - I love to read them.