UPDATE END OF THE YEAR To my Facebook Friends. Thank you for being a part of my life this year! Although some of us have never met face to face I cherish your kindness and friendship! We are in the last month of the year and I just felt I should thank everyone who made me smile this year. YOU ARE ONE OF THEM! So here is a big Thank you! For 2018 I just want my health improved and my mind back to how it was before my long 2 year battle, and without my friends and family this battle would have literally been impossible to win. Thankfully I have now won the battle but still have a little bit more to go. I urge you to keep on being positive and remember that any obstacle can be overcome and what I’ve been through is a firm example of that. Sometimes you reach out to people when you are really struggling and luckily there are some good people in the world that are more than willing to help! So to all you lovely friends and family have a fantastic Christmas and a very peaceful New Year. Next year you cannot change the world, but you can help change someones world. THANKS AGAIN!

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Melanoma Diagnosis

In 2006 I was lifting weights at the gym when I felt a pinch on my right shoulder. I went home and had a mole that didn’t look right so I went to the doctor and was referred to the dermatologist at Milton Keynes Hospital. I was diagnosed with skin cancer and a malignant melanoma on my right shoulder blade and had four operations that year to remove 3 moles on my shoulder and one on my waistline. The signs were good that the cancer had been removed.

In November 2015 I was at the gym and noticed that my strength was decreasing and I was getting weaker. I found a lump under my right armpit and went to the doctors, had a biopsy and it was confirmed as cancer (malignant melanoma). I was referred to Stoke Mandeville Hospital and had a CT scan before having an operation to remove the Lymph Nodes. The operation took a few hours and I was in the hospital for 4 days. 33 malignant lymph nodes were removed.
I went home and had a fluid bag stitched into my right hand side which I had for about ten days. A little while after I was rushed into A&E after suffering a breathing problem. I saw a specialist, went for a scan and was diagnosed with a viral lung infection.
The day after, I went to the doctors again. I was feeling depressed and needed help. The doctor referred me to Willen Hospice. Graham, one of the Clinical Nurse Specialists at Willen Hospice who visits people in the community, came to my house to see me. I spoke to him for an hour – he listened and gave me advice.
I was having a lot of pain and limited movement in my arm following the operation and saw a cancer specialist at the hospital. He referred me to the Lymphoedema clinic at Willen Hospice and the team there have been supporting me, helping me with aftercare. The exercises the Physiotherapist has helped me with and the sleeve, taping and advice given by the Lymphoedema team have both helped with the mobility of my arm and reduced my pain. The team also showed my mum how to apply the support so it could be done at home. I also attended the Wellbeing Centre and received lots of support to help with the mental battle that I’ve gone through. The nurses offered advice, listened to me and given me so much support – I cannot fault them for their help and kindness. Jim, one of the volunteers at the Wellbeing Centre, helped me with tips on how to relax and even gave me a CD to listen to at home to help with relaxation.
With cancer, once you have the all clear that’s when another battle begins. I have ups and downs, flashbacks and have struggled with depression. Without Willen Hospice, I wouldn’t have known how to get through this. I’ve gone back to the gym to work on my physio and am now planning on doing trips around the world as I had done previously.
 

My adventures to New Zealand 

Hello Mum and Dad 

Gary picked us up from Christchurch airport on Monday

arvo and we went straight to an Antartic Centre next

to the airport. It was all about the south pole and we

went into a makeshift base camp and they turned on the

cold fans, so the temp went down to -25’c. Good job i

brought my fleece! Then we went on a snow

mobile(haagland) that went round an assort course. All

good.

 

Then i had my first look of a hostel were i got a

shower and change. By this time i was thirsty so we

went to the pub in town. An irish bar, and i tried the

Guiness, not the same as the scots club. We had roast

dinner for tea, for about 2 quid, at another

backpackers and loads more beer. There was 2 bunks in

the room and this girl came back from the shower in

the morning and slipped into her bra and thong. These

mixed dorms have lovely views and that’s not even

looking out of the window!!

 

The next day Gary drove north to Nelson and we stopped

off at Kaikoura. I had a massive fried breakfast for 6

quid and couldnt eat it all. Then i was taking photo’s

of a fur seal on some rocks, i got a bit close and it

went for me. I’ve never moved so fast, Gary and

everyone else was laughing.

 

We got to Nelson and arrived at another hostel. They

had a jacuzzi spa and a sauna. Me and Gary jumped into

the spa and was joined by 2 scots girls. Very nice,

say no more. That night we went into town and they had

a 2 for 1 meal deal on in a pub. I was chatting the

bar maid up and we kept on drinking then we had a lock

in. The bar maid wanted to take me home but i told her

i’ve got to be up for 7 to go Kayaking!!

 

The next morning we got up early, with a hangover, and

had a free breakie in the hostel then we caught a tour

bus that took us to Abel Tasman National Park and we

went sea kayaking. The sun was shining and it was a

great day. Met lots of nice and friendly people and

Tassie the tour guide took us to see the baby seals.

 

That night when we got back to the hostel we were both

knackered so we jumped in the spa again, then headed

off down to the local. The bar maid was there on her

night off and she gave us table service while we had

our dinner. These kiwi people are very friendly. We

had another big night drinking and she wanted to take

me home again but the kayaking had worn me out!

 

We headed to Fox glacier on the west coast the next

day, about a 7 hour drive. We had a buffet dinner for

7 quid and loads more beer. Bumped into Oskar from

Holland in the bar that we met at the bus stop in

Nelson. There was karoke in the bar and Gary got up

and sang to a fat bird!! That night in the four bed

dorm, one another lad took his matress out into the

lounge to sleep because he reckons i snore like a

chainsaw!!

 

The next day we done a glacier walk with a tour guide

for a full day. We had boots provided that we had to

put these clamps onto the bottom when walking on the

ice. Met loads more nice people and Dave are tour

guide. Took loads of pics and used one film up just on

the Glacier.

 

That night Gary met this girl he knows from back home

and we went for a meal with her and her friends. They

had a bloke singing in the bar and everyone was up

dancing and this 65 year old grabbed hold of me and

wouldnt let go! Another girl took her bra off and put

it onto a deers skull as a pair of glasses! It was a

good night and we didnt get in until 3. A girl in the

room got up and slept on a couch in the lounge,

because she reckons i snore as well!!!

 

We had to check out for 10 in the morning and then

Gary drove for about 5 hours down to Wanaka. Staying

here for tonight then going to Queenstown. The sun has

been shining all week and i havent seen rain yet,

which is good.

 

Having lots of fun and i’ll be in touch soon with more

news.

 

Might not be coming home, it’s that good out here.

 

Gary says to say hello.

 

All the best

 

Mick.x

 

Well i’ll start where i left off. After coming off the

computer in Wanaka, i picked up a magazine. Gary had a

look at it and a joke he sent them had been published,

so he has won a bungy jump!

 

We went down by the beautiful lake in Wanaka and took

some picks. Then went back to the hostel to chill out.

Nice place, we were in a four bed dorm with en-suite

with a couple of chicks, what more could you ask for.

 

Went to an irish pub for dinner that night and i had a

nice steak meal while Gary had bacon and cabbage. More

like pig and cabbage, it was huge, Gary said his never

seen anything like it. Went out for a few beers that

night but everywhere closed at 12 because it was ANZAC

day on the Sunday.

 

Left Wanaka and went across the Crown Range to

Queenstown. Just driving out of Wanaka and there’s

these two lovely female backpackers thumbing for a

lift. So the gentlemen we are we picked them up. Had a

good chat and a laugh with them on the way back to

Q’town. Stopped off at the bra fence(a wire fence by

the side of the road with hundreds of bra’s on it) and

the girls left one of there’s on it!!

 

Got into Q’town after a fantastic scenic drive and

dropped off all the gear at Gary’s place, then went

into town. Returned the hire car in one piece and went

and had a pint of Guiness in another irish bar. Gary

had to work that night so i went back to the pub for a

meal when Gary went to work at 7. He managed to get

finished at 10.30 and met me in a pub called Winnies,

it’s roof opens up so that you can see the stars. Best

air conditioning i ever seen.

 

Monday we had a chill out day. Done all my washing and

hand washed my socks before putting it in the top

loader. As you know that was the first time i’ve ever

done my own washing, but you still do it better Mum!!

Went out that night for a curry and met some of Gary’s

friends. It was $10 curry night, so cheap as. Had a

good meal then went for some more drinks in Winnies

again. Met these irish girls and stayed out until 4

drinking with them. Gary pulled the blonde one, havin

a snog with her at the bar!!

 

Had a bit of a hang over the next day. Gary drove to

Glenorchy. It’s where they filmed most of Lord of the

Rings. Went on a unsealed road to Paradise as well.

Took loads of pic’s, some awesome views and met

someone that was actually in the film. That night Gary

had to work so i went down the Gym for a couple of

hours and then got a KFC for dinner. Went back home

and it was good to have a night off the beer.

 

Wednesday we went to Arrowtown. We were lucky to get

on a tour of a Lord of the Rings sights. It was only

$15pp and it was a special for one day only for there

winter festival. It lasted about an hour and the

driver pointed out lots of places where they filmed.

He was in the film as well. I took a whole roll of

photo film just that day. Gary reckons i’m worse then

the Snap Happy Jappy’s that we see about!!

 

We went and saw the bungy bridge as well, where the

first ever bungy jump took place. I was going to have

a go but didn’t have enough cash in my wallet,

honest!!

Gary was working that night but i met his mates that

we went for a curry with and had a game of pool.

Wasn’t no fighting thou! Gary met us at 10 o’clock and

we all had some more beers. Went to our favourite bar

again Winnies and chatted to some more ladies. Grabbed

a famous Fergburger(massive) on the way home and

shared a taxi ride at about 3. Hope you liked the

surprise phone call Dad. Sorry if i was a bit pissed

but Gary is a bad influence on us.

 

Well that’s all for now, enjoy.

 

Mick.

 

After a heavy night on Wednesday we didn’t get out of

bed until about 11. That’s still early for Gary! We

went for a walk into Queenstown and decided to have a

$5 bangers, peas, mash and gravy to soak up the

alcohol. It was in the pig and whistle pub in town but

we didn’t go for the hair of the dog.

 

That arvo we went on the gondola. It goes right up the

mountain and you have awesome views on Queenstown.

Managed to both get a free ride, because it was a girl

that Gary was chatting up the night before and he

remembered her name. Gary was sweating like mad

because he doesn’t like heights. After we took some

photo’s we had a go on a luge ride. It’s like a

plastic tray with wheels, brakes and steering that you

sit in and go down a contrete track. Great fun and we

got that free as well because Gary’s mate works on it.

 

Gary cooked a spag bol for dinner and we had a bottle

of wine and a few beers. We were both stuffed and

couldn’t move afterwards so we decided to have a night

in. A few games of Connect 4 were played, i won’t

mention the score but i think gary has played before.

 

Gary had a voucher for a free bungy so the next

morning we headed out to the bungy bridge site again.

Gary drove straight past saying it was closed and we

went to the Winery instead. Eventually we headed back

to the bungy site and Gary said that i could have the

prize as a present. I told Gary that i couldn’t except

it and he booked in for the jump. Well i and everyone

else was waiting a long time for him to jump and

numerous countdown’s from the staff and a shake of the

arms and legs but he didn’t go. We were all shouting

encouragement from the viewing platform. Then one of

the staff gave him a helping hand or was it a push,

and he was flying through the air down to the river.

He got dunked upto his waist and loved every second of

it.

 

We then headed back into town and i had a tattoo done.

It was at a place called White Tiger. He does tattoo’s

for Maori’s and some of the All Black rugby team. He

is supposed to be the best in NZ. I had a Maori symbol

of the sun, his own design, tattooed on my chest. He

photograghed it afterwards for his portfolio. It took

about an hour and half to complete. We both went into

an irish pub for happy hour at 4 to celebrate our

achievements that day. Met Gary’s friends and decided

to go and get some meat for a bbq and a few beers. Had

a great barbie where Gary lives, then headed into town

at 9 o’clock. What a great night we had, not getting

in until 6 in the morning.

 

Saturday well what can i say. Had breakfast at Joe’s

Garage than it was about 2 o’clock. Andy decided the

best thing to do was have another beer. So we went to

the pig and whistle and spent all day in the pub. Well

it was spitting outside, seemed like the best thing to

do. Ended up at home at about 10 o’clock and an early

night.

 

Sunday we went to a place called Deer Park Heights.

it’s on the outskirts of Queenstown and is were they

filmed quite a few scene’s from Lord of the Rings.

It cost $20 for the car to drive around and upto the

top of the hill. It was fantastic and there was loads

of strange animals up there roaming wild and coming

upto the car. Got some great pics. It was the first

time Gary had been up there and he wished he would

have taken his Mum and Dad as well.

 

That night Gary cooked a Chicken Curry for dinner. We

had a few beers to wash it down and decided not to go

into town for a change. Probably because we were both

stuffed as he always cooks too much.

 

Monday my last day here and i’ve seen rain just like

at home. It hasn’t stopped all afternoon. We drove to

Wanaka and we went to this place called Have a Shot.

We fired a .22 rifle on a shooting range and a got a

few bullseyes. All good fun. Then we went to Puzzle

World. Full of different mind puzzles and holograms.

Took some more pics. A great place and cheap as well.

 

Just in the internet cafe at the mo while it’s raining

cats and dogs outside. Going for a slap up meal

tonight and i’m going to treat Gary, as a thankyou for

such a great time i’ve had over here. Don’t want to

get on that plane tommorrow at 9 in the morning. Might

just sleep in for a change. Well if i’m not at

Heathrow on wednesday morning, you’ll know that i’ve

decided to stay!!

 

This is a diary of my 2 week Adventure of New

Zealand’s South Island. A time that i’ll never forget.

 

All the best

 

Mick.