Sunday, May 07, 2006

12. Starting Gun

It's not what I expected...

As the announcer called the 10km start, a group of us wearing the bright yellow 'Banana Army' shirts were very quickly overtaken. The shoulders immediately jostling to gain full advantage of the first stretch of road before it curled up through the hilly Edinburgh streets. With my dodgy ankle firmly strapped, we leapt into a full power walk as I expected many others to do...only to realise that within minutes we were all alone at the back of the pack being closely followed by the police car and sweeper vehicle (reminds me of being a teenager). We did however proudly fly the Leukaemia research flag and the girls (and Col W) got into action by raising even more cash to add to what was already raised. The total before the starting gun was at £2,345 and with a few mixed coins and some female persuasion, the total crept up to a healthy £2,710. The outcome if the walk/race was that Dawsie and I came 4th last out of 8,000, pipping a few fatties at the line that went out too fast...

The Donor Day in London was a clear success. After a huge effort from staff at Pernod Ricard the day finally went ahead after many flyers, emails and bribes... We hoped to add at least 14 to the Bone Marrow Donor registry after hearing some stats from previous events. The total at close of play was an extra 32 donors. A great effort! With so much going on around me, it was hard at times to concentrate on my work...the emotions creeping up on me every now and then. Bizarre to think that there are 32 people wanting to help out, knowing full well that they could be a match for anyone in the world (or even me).

The 'wedding bliss' has eventually subsided after 7 fully charged and emotional weeks. The aussie crew came and folks were still here when we got back from honeymoon, so good to still have them around and have a bit more time to see the sights (Scottish hills and more hospitals). My 2nd PCR test has been taken and hopefully the results will be back with me within weeks. I know it's completely out of my hands so I'm trying not to think about it...hard sometimes as the 1st result wasn't as good as we had hoped and the dose increase has taken place. I've also been reading quite a few cancer and leukaemia sufferers websites lately. Sufferer was the only word I could think of there...I see myself and others living with it, not suffering... It's good to read the fight and determination others have found within themselves. There's some gutsy people out there. Of course they are all trying to keep people informed of how they are and progress, etc but I've thought that there is some part in us all, that we just want to be remembered. I guess everybody wants to be remembered for doing something, hopefully good but when you get hit with a cancer diagnosis, good prognosis or bad, I think we want to show people what we're made of...if it is striving for inspiration or just to be a good person...

Good news is that Dawsie (best man) and Nina (bridesmaid) have both become engaged since our wedding. Not to each other... It's good to see there are a few more Scot/Aussie weddings coming in the near future. Maybe get another chance to don the 'tartan skirt'...

In the meantime I will keep working hard, try not to eat so many pastries from Greggs (love the steak bake), munching my Gleevec pills and keep my big digits crossed, hoping I will find out by the end of the month if I have an American bone marrow donor...


Bad Drew said...

Hi Matt, nice to read your BLOG very inspiring. Almost as inspiring as your BLOG is a tasty savoury snack from Greggs, which I am pleased to see you have discovered since moving to Scotland. This is a subject very close to my heart (ask Colin W), and I look forward to discussing the merits of the Greggs savouries next time we meet. In the meantime get your chops round a cheese and onion pastie, without doubt the creme de la creme of the Greggs product range.

Fiona said...

Hey Matt

Its been a very long time, Been getting updated by willie and marie as im now back in stazione, You really havnt changed a bit im glad you always were an amazing guy.
I hope to see you and karen in staz soon, and keep up the diary its great.
Love Fiona xx

Simon said...


Don't know if you remember me, Simon, English friend of Julie, Kaz and Nina from the Sydney days, met you a few times? Saw the article in the Observer today and just had to drop by to wish you good health for the future and all the best for you and Kaz. Hope everything works out for you mate. Please send Kaz a kiss from me and remind her that if it was not for my advice, you kids might not be together today! (She may or may not choose to explain that one!)
All the best
Simon xxxxxxxx

Paul said...

Hi Matt,

Came across your blog after seeing your article in the Observer Sunday Magazine yesterday, and have to say it has been a most inspiring read. As someone who battled Non Hodgkins Lymphoma from late 1998 to 2001, I think your attitude and outlook on life are truly amazing and you handle things with a grace that eluded me for much of my treatment.

Congratulations on your wedding day by the way and good luck with your future treatment. Please let me know if you undertake any more fund raising endeavours as I would be happy to help and perhaps post more info on my blog.

Anne said...

Hi Matt

A complete stranger here :), saw your piece in the Guardian Weekend mag. As a fellow Aussie, just wanted to wish you all the best in overcoming your illness. Your wedding looked fabulous and I hope you and Kaz have a great, long life together.

Best wishes

Annette said...

Hi Matt
Keeping my fingers crossed for your pcr result. Rich will hopefully get his first pcr result post-transplant next week... anxious times all round.
Best wishes

Anonymous said...

hey matt,

live long and be happy. 'this much i know' was deeply inspiring.

stay well.

will keep an eye on your blog.

good luck, adam