Thursday, August 16, 2007

39. Ben Lomond

Photos: The Boys at the bottom of Ben Lomond; View over Loch Lomond; Getting higher; Getting Steeper; Reaching the Top; Quick bite to eat at the Top; Gav enduring the wind; Back Down for a Pint and Curry; Dawsie after he fell asleep at the recent Annual Golf Day...

Waiting seems to be the main thing to ever happen lately. I’ve always made the most out of using waiting time wisely, just get on with normal life and playing the hand I’m dealt. It’s hard to stop being dominated by the next bit of news or something you’re looking forward to – what’s that saying again, life is a journey not a destination? While I really have been making the most of my time, there are still plenty of things to keep me focused and aware of what lies around the corner…

The latest blood tests continue to see improvements from the dodgy ones I received in hospital a couple of months ago. On paper, my blood results look healthier and more normal than Kas, who is just short of 8 months pregnant. Besides my pale Scottish-looking skin and my ever-thinning hairline (my head must be too big for my hair), I don’t think much would give away the fact I’ve got CML. The only thing that will tell me for definite how I’m really going is my latest PCR test, taken last Tuesday. This is the big one – 6 weeks on Dasatinib (Sprycel). As I touch wood, I can say that I do feel so much better and that I am expecting a better result that last. That may be the kiss of death but one must remain confident. In a fortnight’s time, only the result will tell me for sure.

And if there’s news of me getting a sub-standard PCR test, the docs have just told me of a life-line in the form of another potential bone marrow donor. They’ve done the investigation (thanks to all of those who joined the register) and the computers have searched the world wide databases – of the 8 million listed, there seems to be one other person with a 10/10 match to me. Another Matt Sinclair somewhere on this planet…what a blessing, there’s a very lucky lady out there! The docs haven’t said much yet about this donor but I’m sure they’ll have more information for me in two weeks time

Thanks for the well wishes regarding Karen’s Papa Andy who passed away last month – the family are doing really well but obviously still missing him. I was impressed with my brother-in-law Gav’s (sounds too formal – he’s just my cheeky mate) attitude after the sad news settled with him. He rounded the boys up and inspired them to stay out of the pub for the weekend and to climb up one of Scotland’s highest hills – Ben Lomond. Unreal! The mountain that stands proudly over Loch Lomond and looming at well over 3,000 feet was to be the destination for the boys. If the drive up the east of the Loch wasn’t stunning enough, the walk that met us was phenomenal. Most of the Mountain Guides recommend a 5-6 hour round trip, so with that in mind we set off cautiously through the winding tracks and gained altitude at a very rapid pace. Within twenty minutes, we were all working up a healthy sweat and starting to reach a height that could deliver some decent photo potential. We pushed on through the gusty winds and managed to stay on the designated pathway towards the summit (funny, it sounds as though I’m climbing Everest)…anyway, regardless of the mountain height difference, it was a gutsy effort to the top where we met by some views that could only be described as extraordinary! It really annoys me when people say “words just can’t describe it”…the Oxford Dictionary contains over 170,000 words, I’m sure a there are a few words they can use. Enough of my gripe…the scenery that is visible from Ben Lomond is so good and well worth the effort to the top. I may have to write a strongly worded letter to all these Mountain Guides, as we all managed to conquer this peak in four hours exactly – not bad for a bunch of us pint swigging amateurs. Bring on Ben Ime in the southern Scottish highlands next weekend!

As the Scottish summer (don’t think we had one, I think it’s a myth) comes to an end and the Edinburgh Festival draws towards it’s final day, it’s a stern reminder that next month we’re due to have our first child. I really can’t wait! I’m also realising how precious this last month of pregnancy is to Kas after she had a few scares in the past week – I will certainly be breathing a huge sigh of relief when she finishes up with her work and commences her maternity leave.

Then it’ll be the arrival day – this will mean a completely new way of existence and living. Maybe I’ll have to slow down a bit and stop roaming the Scottish highlands…well at least until our kid can fit into some walking boots and join me. I’m really keen to see Kas as a mum as well. With the creation of our very own family just around the corner, it’s more inspiration than anything else to keep positive and continue working hard to beat CML. We’ll pretty much be non-existent socially as we will be looking after a baby for the first couple of months, we’ve then got Dawsie and Jen’s wedding (and Buck’s weekend), CML Conference I’ll be speaking at in November, my sister arriving in the UK and then it’s off to the Anthony Nolan Trust Ball the weekend after. Bring it on!

I’ll also add the part about our Annual Golf Event that was held last weekend in Edinburgh – twenty blokes, a new location every year, one charity shop green jacket awaiting the winner, one pink cardigan awaiting the loser and a second round of golf filled with so much booze, it’s amazing anyone was standing after the day. Actually, not too many were. A great day enjoyed by all, even though it felt like we were playing somewhere near Artic Circle, and even better to know that I evaded the pink cardigan once again after a Tiger like round from myself (Tiger when he was four). Already looking forward to next year…

Until the big PCR and Donor results that I’ll be receiving in a fortnight, keep the emails and messages coming in.