Picture the scene: You’ve just spent over £9.00 on a new sketch book. You can’t wait to get it home and put your trusty Stabilo 189/46 Sensor Pen Fineliner 0.3mm (black of course) to paper. The satisfaction of the smooth lines on the crisp off white, textured paper. No marks from overleaf drawings, seeped through. No bends, no indentations… just crisp, simple paper perfection. At university, nothing would give me greater pleasure or satisfaction than the (often overzealous and unconsidered) actions of sketch book initiation. How life has changed…
It’s been well over a year and a half (1 year 7 months, 6 days, to be exact) since my last blog post, and I feel I ought to show face. A renewed ambition to update vivilanco.com when I can (ideally every two weeks) doesn’t start as a cheery one, but I feel I owe you a little back story.
In my time away, life didn’t stand still. Without going all emo on you, My family grew. A new addition rendered us immeasurably elated, but around the same time, the (not so subtle) realisation that our time on this earth is limited struck hard. My father recieved the terrible (but not so shocking) news that he had developed bladder cancer. At the time, my father was over weight and lazy, smoked, and didn’t do what he could to avert the overwhelming odds himself. Now I appreciate it may sound harsh, but with lifestyle and health acting as negative factors, the odds and his health were against him*. What knocked us for six was the form of cancer that had manifested within the bladder wall: Urinary bladder Sarcomatoid Carcinoma (carcinosarcoma)… “Sarcomatoid Bladder Cancer” to you and me. At the time of diagnosis, we were forced to realise how rare this cancer was, and how bleak the outcome looks to be. Neither the Doctors or Consultants had heard of this type of cancer and both required to research it further prior to treatment. Their research revealed that there were less than 90 patients word wide that had been medically documented/wrote about in a 10 year period. Those that were wrote about, less than 23% were available for follow-up after 2 years. This looked bleak, but a number of meetings with Consultants and Doctors resulted in the agreement that the only treatment that could help is palliative radio therapy. This would look to reduce the size of the tumour and make dad feel more comfortable. Sadly about a year since diagnosis, the cancer has acted up and resulted in kidney function being reduced by 90% and a very restrictive diet. It’s been hard for us all, but as a family we are getting through it – and we are working with him to improve his quality of life where possible.
Until now, I’ve not spoken of this outside my immediate family. Not even many of my friends know. It’s been hard but we’re strong.
- Bladder cancer is the seventh most common cancer in the UK.
- Around 10,400 people were diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2011 in the UK, that’s 28 people every day.
- Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in UK men, with around 7,500 new cases diagnosed in 2011.
- Smoking is the major preventable risk factor for bladder cancer and causes around 35% of cases in the UK each year.
(see more for yourself at http://www.cancerresearchuk.org > filter to bladder )
Now, of course – life isn’t that cruel! I have had many a wonderful occurrence in the last year and a half! I now have two children (here one referred to as Dragon and Unicorn – your the internet, I don’t know/trust you). Dragon is really proud of her little Unicorn, and both growing/developing so fast! You will hear more as the blog develops I think… Work (Change this Limited) has been a high octane thrill ride, developing and implementing Business Improvement Platforms for our blue chip customers – working within the SAP platforms, we’ve thought outside the box – I will post the portfolio as soon as its ready. Until then, take a look at the company website http://changethislimited.co.uk/.
With the renewed effort on my blog, I delved into the depths of the archives, folders and previous hard drives to find out “what’s in my past” – I have an extensive array of “crap” I didn’t realise! This blog used to look at technology, graphical design and website development related content. Whilst it still will, I will be opening up the categories – it will be my bib of world wide web dribble, as it were. My catch all for life, tech, gadgets – the lot.
With this, I’ve recently become obsessed with Sugru. Sugru, incase you didn’t know, is a “self-setting rubber that can be formed by hand. It moulds like play-dough, bonds to almost anything and turns into a strong, flexible silicone rubber overnight”. Now being the tongue-in-cheek sod that I am, I tweeted @Sugru with a view to getting some for free…
Here’s hoping Amy can oblige – but I don’t know what a “Sugru Challenge” is. Having Googled the term, I can only assume that Instructables are the way forward. I await Amy’s response with eager anticipation!
Recently, Lifehacker and Gizmodo served up a UK alternative to their flagship american sites. Lifehacker.co.uk and gizmodo.co.uk. Whilst their content is lacking in comparison to its much older brother, it’s a welcome achievement – and I am looking forward to more UK specific content being available. Don’t get me wrong, I still read and enjoy the American originals on a daily basis (via the Flipboard app (much love of the Flipboard app!)), but it’s a step in the right direction.
Anyway that’s enough waffling on so I will close with this: It is with a sorry heart that the world lost a wonderful person this week. Robin Williams was an awe inspiring actor and comedian, and an inspiration to many (including myself). With this, I leave you with a scene from a movie that I love and is dear to my heart!
O’Captain my Captain