Thursday, May 18, 2006

One year today - last ever posting

I am one year on, today 12 months ago my tonsil was removed and tomorrow 12 months ago I was formally told I had cancer, but I knew this time 12 months ago today on Otter ward that I had cancer.

I have lived 12 months, today I got a cheque from my pension fund, I have a new permanent job with a huge opportunity and challenge, and share of a Docklands flat, 2 great kids and solvent after last year of spending all my life savings.

It is time to close down this blog, and say goodbye for those who want to keep in touch please do

Thank you to all of you who have looked, laughed and cried with me. I still cry, I am still scared sometimes but life is better than it was 12 months ago, without this blog and you I doubt I would have been here.

Love to you and your kin, keep attacking.


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Life feels good

The roller coaster of life goes on today was a good day.

I woke up no children getting into bed and wanting a hug, it was like post traumatic stress the silence when I woke up at 0830!

In the shower I finally realised that for years that I have had this perception and expectations of life that failed to match up with reality. Since the cancer I have found new experiences that have enhanced life and finally I realised that the bar of life needs to be set lower and enjoy the life you are given and seize everyday.

I got the bike out to take to Exeter, caught the train and biked around town, wow it felt good, I felt a freedom, wind around my head, a freedom that my legs and arms work and the bike goes quickly. I am amazed by my fitness the run was good, but today the bike ride was pure class.

I had a great coffee and chat with Sheila, then off to my Liberian Democrat friend Vanessa. V is standing for council something which in my past I have done, but alas failed to get elected, something which I have kept firmly in my Ferrymans locker.

I was part of V's door knocking team, ringing peoples bell and selling the message. Of course I had the people who said no thank you, like I was selling double glazing, and the bloke who slammed the door in my face rather rudely, I put him down as a do not know :) The whole process made me feel human, here I was doing what I do best talking to people listening to their issues, lives, important things to them, rather minor compared with cancer, but it was important them and that counted. I talked to people about gardening, railways, car engines nothing to do with dull old politics, but life, a life I am lucky to have. I had adult company at last, talking issues, laughing and had fun. Of course I asked the question can V rely on your vote she is good sort, it went well.

We retired to V's and she opened a red, for those who know I cannot drink wine, but it was smooth. Cancer took away wine for me, it may have aided cancer but wine was a no no because of the burning throat. I was envious V has a fantastic rambling house, full of character, full of people, and full of warmth and love. I am not saying it was a 1960's hippy commune but it did remind me of my days in the "greenfields" at Glastonbury. The collective warmth that it exudes was clear to see and feel.

I was envious of V's house it has everything I want in mine, warmth, charm and friendship, and of course the huge kitchen table where we sat for hours talking and laughing. The kitchen table came alive at tea time with V son, Stefan, and friends George and Sam I felt alive.

I cycled back to the station to catch the train home knowing full well that life has more to offer than the safety cocoon I have built her in Starcross it is time to move on, set the barrier lower and just enjoy, thanks to Chris, Sheila, V and the gang at Thurlow Towers for the does of reality which I now know life is such fun.

Keep attacking

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday

Well it is a Good Friday, ok I may have skin cancer, unlikely but I may have, that is the way your mind works after beating the initial dose.

The irrationality that strikes you is; can I beat it all again? will I need radiotherapy? chemo? lose weight? not be able to eat and face those dark nights alone?

My doctors are great, Dr Perkins of the Starcross clinic, he sent me to hospital this time last year. I owe my life to his professionalism. I cry when I see him, not that he is an unattractive man to extent that you burst into tears, nor does he smell of onions but he is honest, professional and caring.

I went there because I had a strange skin lesion on my wrist. He looked at the offending skin patch, was honest enough not to give me soothing noises, but wanted a second opinion. I remember the last time he said that! Fortunately there will be no need to go to hospital in the surgery there is a Dr, Dr Quinn who specialized in dermatology and has the skills to remove things as necessary.

We discussed the links with mouth cancer SCC and skin cancer SCC and there is unlikely to be any link, his passing words were if it were anyone else I would send them home with a fungal cream and tell them in to come back in two weeks, but with your history I feel we need to just make sure.

I felt special again, wanted, back in that NHS cocoon that looked after me so well. There is a huge sense of well being that I am being looked after and cared for again, a security blanket to look after me these tender days. Of course it will be all right, but does not stop feeling afraid.

It is the last day of Will and Ellen's visit, we have had a great week and on the whole they are well behaved, cheerful, loving kids, just like their dad! There will be a tinge of sadness but then a tinge of relief as I get my life back and my ankles after the corgis have finished snacking.

Enjoy the day and here is a biblical picture for Easter, St Peters in Rome, taken this year from the Presidential Palace, enjoy.

I am off to scoff some eggs!


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Roller coasters

There is nothing more scarey than being on the rollercoaster of life.

I called the doctors and had the usual gatekeeper questions is it urgent, of course it is urgent! I had SCC and this could be skin cancer SCC. The weird thing is that I know even it is not more likley I will assume it is.

My children are demanding my attention it is hard to focus on life but have to go and deal with the CBBC website as a very persistant ankle biter is keen to have her dad's full and undivided attention.

So here I am waiting for the doctor to call me back, a list full of hypocondracs before he can see me. Selfish I know but only after cancer can you really understand how you need to be selfish for your own good, otherwise many of us would not be here.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The blog today is written from the floor in the indoor play area at Bicton Park. Sixty plus acres of park built around the start of the 19th century. There is the obligatory cafe, trinket shop, woodlands railway and outdoor death slides. It sits in the red Devon sandstone hills at the start of the Jurassic Coast. Will and Ellen are off making friends and their dad is consigned to the floor as the ankle biters(children) surround the adults like the scenes from the Western films where by the poor rehearsed white settler Americans were massacred by those nasty Indians. After all John Wayne wanted was to raid their tribal lands, steal their cattle, murder their children and commit genocide. History presents different views on life.

At the moment one in three of these vibrant young children in this room will get cancer. One in three of their parents either have or will get cancer. Cancer is no different to those films, it is the Indian fighter surrounding the wagon train but in our case the train is our frail fragile bodies.The news yesterday was dominated by plans to launch a tactical nuclear missile. Tatctical means the same devastating effects that occurred in Japan in 1945. The huge human and of course actual cost of war could be better spent dealing with the World's hypocrisy to deadly illness. Surely money would be well spent increasing the chances of not getting cancer to one in four or five rather tactically killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of people. How can you tactically kill innocent people?The noise here masks a fear. I was showering yesterday and noticed a small red circle on my right wrist about a centimetre in diameter with a clear white centre. It could be just a scratch or it could be SCC. My infected tonsil has SCC the same cancer that causes skin cancer. Of course I have not got cancer well not officially but I may have. It is only a natural reaction to fear the worse.

To reflect on what could be a second cancer coming. It most proberly is not cancer but it could be. It could be a scratch, it could be a wound from gardening. I am going to resist the temptation to self diagnose I got it so wrong last year.

However last year the Easter weekend marked the start of the illness period and I'm determined this year to not let the same happen again.I will wait until Monday then start medical intervention if it does not seem to go away I will not hang around.Anyway brave face time the kids want ice creams. Smile joke and act as if nothing happens fuck I want to scream and cry. Irrational I know but cancer makes you irrational.

Next time u see your MP ask them what are u doing to ease the pain of millions at home rather than causing it!

Keep attacking Ferryman

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Out of the words of babes

I had planned a long blog writing tonight but an incident happened tonight whilst putting Ellen to bed which shows the depth of cancer in my physocological make up.

I was putting cream of Ellen, I said "You wait until you are 18 girl I will remind you of this" Ellen replies: "Thats ok daddy you will not be here" "Where will I be was my reply" "You will be dead by then daddy"


My princess knows not what she says but why did that hurt!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Look after your mind and your partner

I woke up the morning bright and early. The sun is shining and my 2 little babes are tucked up in bed.

One would normally expect that I would be looking forward to Summer, looking forward to the balmy nights and long days.

Alas how wrong you could be. The summer brings back memories 12 months ago I was still unsure what the lump in my neck was. I had no idea it was cancer. My online studies had never picked up mouth cancer and a secondary node filled with cancer cells. I had to wait one more month before knowing for sure I had cancer.

I was tidying the garden over the weekend and the memories fled back, the pain, the place where I sat in the sun last year. I tried to keep positive but as I have said before the mental stress and strain of cancer sometimes in greater than the physical.

In a research carried out by Macmillan the cancer charity I saw at the weekend indicated that the stress of cancer treatment and its after effects can have a devastating effect on relationships.
In part of the study 25% of those replied indicated that their relationship had actually broken up.

I think myself lucky but also sad that I was single during the trauma there was no one to upset, no one to change a relationship with, no one to steal the limelight off, or remembering my mother no one to become the centre of attention even though my father was dying.

Macmillan have decided to rebrand themselves and move towards an organisation that sees them focus more on pastoral and mental care. I wish them luck. I have written before about the mental damage cancer does, in hindsight if I knew about the effects of treatment I would even more scarred than I am now.

Mind you perhaps we should not worry about cancer, the radio news, which I adore conjuring up images of the stories being told tell us that Bush is off to "nuke" Iran and no more Swans have revealed themselves as carriers of the plague.

As a result I am off to Pennywell Farm to prod, smile, and stroke small furry animals to the delight of my babes who have just gave me huge hugs and kisses. Hey perhaps Summer will not be that bad after all :)

Have a good day.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

Bird Flu and cancer !

It has been a few days since I posted and no I have not been rounding up dead swans in an attempt to rid the World of bird flu. Do you know that you have more chance of winning the national lottery that catching bird flu! Even that statistic did not stop my local surgery last winter being clogged up with old dears ensuring that the flu jab they got, which incidentally did not contain the bird flu strain.

I very rarely watch television news these days preferring to conjure up images in my mind created by radio. However, watching ITV news last night there was a feature on bird flu. They have a "bird flu" control centre and had a number of email enquiries asking ITV news "is it still safe to go to Scotland on holiday" or "can I still race my pidgons" part of my cynical natures thinks that ITV made up these emails, but then again there are people who buy luggage at airports, there must be because there are luggage shops. I have said before what sort of mad fool turns up at heathrow with their underpants in carrier bags! Well someone does!

Onto illness after days of my feet hurting after my run, and some serious drugs from the Doctors I am proud to announce that including online/offline/gift aid donations I raised £627.05p I would like to thank all those people who supported and for those who did not Ihavee marked your card, cancer will after all effect one in three of us, I only hope it is not you or a relative.

Enjoy the day I am off to spot some swans on the river!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Cancer free! "nuff said"

Trebles all round, joint head and neck clinic result today = cancer free see you in two months. Needs no further comment :)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Job done!

Ouch it hurts, after 1.20 minutes of running through the lanes and paths of my village, and the help of the 3 great strangers all with stories to tell who helped me over the line I did it 10k.
My feet have seized up, they always did in my running days, like a cramp, means that I cannot walk for a few hours, well days, but hey been through worse pain.

I raised £572. 18 for cancer research thank you so much to those who donated
it made it all worth it.

There were a few secret tears before the race I found a quiet spot away from the lycra clad running partners to look at the river, my river the river Exe. When I was younger I use to slip away to the banks of the river Exe and contemplate life. Now living 30 metres away from it, it has shared my pain. Last summer it shared tears, fears and hopes for days like this.
From the castle I could see the sun shimmering away on the river and cried. I cried in relief, cried for joy, cried for William and Ellen.

As I crossed the line there they were, and also Orp my dear friend, yes friend who helped me through with others, Sarah, Jan, Dom Pat my sister, Ron my brother in law, Kevin, Steve and my other dear friends who helped me get me in the wet grounds of Devon Castle.

Thank you to all of you, lets hope that our £572.18p will go to ensuring that in our life time cancer becomes a preventable illness.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

I am scared - Cancer Research 10k

Ok one day to go and I am going to run it.

£415 plus £93 of gift aid = £508 I have made my target, of course I have to run it.

I know what the condemned man's last nights are like. I witnessed them I was there, I saw it night after night, day after day people coming and going into this life. I have felt the fear, then the tremendous relief of entering the prep room before saying good bye to tWorldlrd and the feeling of waking up drowsy, in pain, alone and afraid.

But this is different, the fear I write about above was daily the minute I knew I had cancer. It is the same fear that haunts me daily, nightly and sneaks up behind me when I am having fun or with friends. There is a moment when it mugs your brain and mind. You stare into space, you think about the oncology ward, who would turn up at your cremation, and tnegativesves, then you are transformed back to real World in an instant.

Tonight's fear is different. I laid out my cancer research t shirt, and my number 197 and burst into tears. I looked at the shirt, it said cancer, "like what I had" or still may have. Of course I will finish tomorrow, of course I will give up and walk or stop if I feel ill. Of course I expect I will cry when I finish it is only normal.

But I am scared, not muscaresres me these days, people do not scare me, threats do not scare me, life does not scare me, what does is running 10k tomorrow morning at 11am!

This time tomorrow will tell, best get some sleep.


Friday, March 31, 2006

2 days to go

It is only 6.3 miles, and yes driving the car to Leeds airport I picked up landmarks and measured them. The Humber Bridge, bloody hell there is a sign saying 6 miles and I can hardly see it.

It did help having an email from Cancer Research telling me that the entries were closed for Powderham and pehaps I might consider the Autumn 10k races. This was a get out of jail free card I could still do the race in October and people would not feel let down or juped.

Still no idea what I am going to do, 4 years ago 10k would of been nothing a normal training run, today it feels life and death.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

3 Days to go

Just back from 30 mins and boy does it hurt, what do I do with gift aid I have over five hundred quid raised what do I do?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

4 days and counting

It is four days to my run.
Today was not a good day, it transpires that the job offer and 2 weeks in Lowestoft then to Bournemouth turned out to be 3 months in Lowestoft and no chance of working in Dorset.
It was quite a blow, the chance to be close to my kids and even have them 2 nights at the weekend was blown. I have got use to up and downs but not prepared these days to put up with crap. I am my children are the most important things in my life and my aim is to be working back in Devon within the next 12 months.

It was good however the two faces I could see when I said no thanks to Lowestoft was Will and Ellen. Cancer has changed my priorities whether it is 6 months, 16 months or 6 years I have left here they will come first. I think that is why I feel sometimes I am destined to be single.

I had one thing in the World, I hate, Cancer, I fucking hate it. It is like a predator that sneaks up to every waking day. You park it but it reminds you when your sleeping, drinking, eating, walking, siting, and running. I need to run to help those never go through the pain.

I had a long discussion with Sarah tonight who said that people would not think bad of me if I pull out of the CR race on Sunday. I must admit I felt stressed, tired and certainly no fit shape to run 10k.

I have been thinking hard all day one to sleep on.



Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Denver Clinch

Fact of the day: 27% of women in Congo have Aids that is 760000 women; , 40 % of women. The country is too poor to buy antiviral drugs at a cost of £100 million, £100 billion the cost so far to the World of the Iraq war in military and rebuilding costs! Nice one Tony!

It maybe early but the man sitting opposite me on the train is called "Denver Clinch" well that what it says on his name badge. He proudly displays his name badge as an employee of Transpennine Express Railway Company. Denver Clinch could be one of those names that rugger club lads make up, you know like "Mike Hunt" work that one out yourself.
I am en-route to Grimsby, alas at Manchester Airport it is the only destination missed off Transpennine Express advertisement embellished at every opportunity throughout the airport. It is not even advertised on those head high adverts above the urinals that have developed in recent years from the "Happy Driver" range of Motorway service stations offering you the opportunity to purchase new car number registration plates. The one thing I am sure the happy marketers in their "apprentice" style suits and egos forgot to work out that whilst you were reading their stupid adverts you are weeing on your foot!

Doh, you’re fired!

I spent the weekend with my treasures, loves and angels. Of course my children are my treasures and loves, but hey like any other 4 and 7 year old they are certainly no angels. I like that, it is how they learn right from wrong and how they develop as brother and sister. Of course they drive me crazy, they drive their mother crazy but so what I am sure I did with mine. Although I had nothing to do with the sectioning of my mother under the mental health act, do not laugh it is a true story!

I now fully appreciate how hard bringing up children is and what challenges they present. I am under no illusions that they are at you all the waking hours even when they find their own space it is difficult to switch off. Their mum is a martyr to the cause of motherhood. I have no time for "fathers for justice" and other such groups many of who attempt to play the victim in their relationship breakdown. For years, centuries the male race through macho dogma and violence has gone around swaggering it’s testosterone fuelled passion raping, pillaging, beating and disowning their responsibilities of fatherhood.

Many mothers have been left alone with children, without house, money or a chance whilst seeds were sown or some other poor faceless women has adopted the burden of these selfish men. History is littered with horror stories about man’s brutality to women, and we all single mums now left in abstract poverty by irresponsible men whilst their lives are rekindled and disown their own flesh and blood.

Of course life is not all one way and of course a minority of men have been and will be victims but alas it is the price our race has to pay for the horror, brutality and downright selfish behaviour of the male species since life began.

Keep attacking

Monday, March 27, 2006

Trebles all round!

Fact of the day: £1.25 million given by CEO of Capita to the Labour party, £1 billion the estimated value of government contracts awarded to Capita last year. Say no more squire!

If I were a sixty six year old athlete with a passion for bus travel and champagne I would be rejoicing today at the news from the chancellor that we would be better off. I wasted sixty minutes of Gordon Brown delivering his budget speech and realised I did not understand a bloody word he said.

I was waiting for news on my pension, I have a self invested pension which I can access early plus the lump sum £12.50p after April 6th. I was trying to ensure that Gordon did not lop off my opportunity to retire early on my pension of £3000 per annum! The penison things does not inspire me, but all I know is that it is an asset and it is mine!

I had some good news today that I will move on from my lofty pitch here on the banks of the River Humber and relocate to the Wash, well Suffolk for my next assignment, which fortunately FLYBE locost airline, an oxymoron there somewhere, operate to Norwich international airport. I have been working in Grimsby for the last 4 months, it is no paradox, it is called Grimsby, after all you can still buy a three bed roomed house here under £80k.

The people are great, I work in an all woman office, it refreshing to work in a enviornment which is not challenging, caring and fun.

It will be sad to leave Graet Grimsby as I wanted to prove I could work again. I am pleased to say the answer is yes and how rewarding is that.

Keep attacking!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Just give me your F*c*?ng money

I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have sponsored me, with just 6 days to go I need your help to raise just £140. This will mean that I have raised with gift aid over £500 which is amazing considering just 8 months I would have never considered being ever able to run again.

I know money is tight but just £2 will go a long way to helping eradicating this horrid illness and gives others a prolonged life with familiy and friends.

On Sunday April 2nd 2006 I will running Cancer Research's "race for life" 10k, at Powderham Castle, Starcross, Devon.After my struggles to combat and beat mouth cancer in 2005 widely documented in my online blog "The Ferryman's column" It is the least I can do to raise just £500 for vital cancer research in a race in my own village. I am 8 months out of horrifying cancer treatment which will affect my life for ever.

I am using justgiving a well known charity website where the money goes directly to cancer research. I am nearly there with £300 collected and over £75 in gift aid all I need is an extra £125 in sponsorship to push me over the £500. Donating through this site is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to sponsor me: Cancer Research UK will receive your money faster and, if you are a UK taxpayer, an extra 28% in tax will be added to your gift at no cost to you.

You can donate online at:

Many thanks for your support.

Nigel "Ferryman" Gooding

Friday, March 17, 2006

St Patrick's Day - 12 months today

Fact of the day: 600 hours parliamentary time spent on fox hunting, 6 hours spent on the invasion of Iraq - nuff said!

12 months ago today I was leaning against my neck and found a lump, you know the rest.

This week has been very strange, it started badly with a sharp stabbing pain in my left shoulder which contorted with pain. I was locked for 30 minutes just unable to move, muscular I think but who knows. I was in Paris feeling helpless miles away from the safety of the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital. An internal pain comes and you feel the worse, it maybe muscular but we do not have x ray vision.

My trip to France was tinged with sadness, my ex partner told me that she was dating again before I left. We had a long chat and I gave her the benefit of my wisdom. I wished her luck. Why should she not date after I have and do, it was just the stark realisation that closure was taking place on a period in my life.

In the last 12 months I have been close to closure, my death, other peoples deaths, people died overnight in the ward I was in, alas closure became clinical, but not this closure because of course it involved the most important 2 people in my life, William and Ellen. I wish I tried harder in my relationship, I wish I had not realized I was doing too much and walking away by, stealth from the family I loved so much. I wish I never ran ever ran a recruitment company or became involved with Dawlish Town and wish I had the courage to stay and work it out. It maybe the past but boy it still hurts and now it is closed and I need to move on. My one regret in life.

I can count my lucky stars that I have had 12 months extra life, when the odds are 2-1 against me living 5 years. I have become a better person, realising the strengths and qualities I have, be quixotic about life and death and alas more selfish about me.

There are some good things I have virtually given up drinking, wine burns my mouth, it is like drinking battery acid, my tongue sets on fire and my left gum expands with the pain and the heat. As for beer, some does the same, I may have the odd pint of guniness but my drinking days are history. This week I have been beating myself up about the causes of my cancer, was it the drink, smoking pubs, or just bad luck.

Life moves on for me I have no idea, all I know is that I have 2 days with my children this weekend and nothing makes me smile more.

Keep attacking

The Ferryman

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Cancer research 10k

On Sunday April 2nd 2006 I will running Cancer Research's "race for life" 10k, (6.25 miles) at Powderham Castle, Stacross, Devon.

After my struggles to combat and beat mouth cancer in 2006 widely documented in "The Ferryman's column" It is the least I can do to raise just £100 for vital cancer research in a race in my own village.

Donating through this site is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to sponsor me: Cancer Research UK will receive your money faster and, if you are a UK taxpayer, an extra 28% in tax will be added to your gift at no cost to you.

So please sponsor me now if we raise just £72 through gift aid we will have raised £100. This will help others hopefully never have to go through the horror of cancer.

Many thanks for your support.

Nigel "Ferryman" Gooding

Saturday, February 25, 2006

6 months on!

Friends it is six months on from my treatment finishing, my mouth is still sore and my neck hurts when I am tired.

I have no need for pain relief and I am living life.

In the past week I have taken the children to Butlins, and type this message from an Edinburgh hotel following England's shattering defeat at the hands of the Scottish.

William my son is here and we have had a great time, life ain't easy, but there again it is not meant to be.

I will kick off the Ferryman's column again as I want to be an inspiration to those who need help, yes you can survive, yes you can beat, and yes you can live.

Night night Nigel