Monday, 30 November 2009

Chemomans Guide To Killing Cancer

I'm pretty sure Rich originally had a link on here to the Chemoman & Radman radio interview he put together, however I think the link is broken (and not being an internet/computer whizz unsure how to fix). However, \i found a copy of the document on Richie's laptop - therefore I have posted this as a blog.

This transcript was taken from Chemoman’s 2008 radio interview by Richard Wildman. Also featured, are the wise musings of Chemoman’s trusty sidekick, Radboy.

I’ve broken this long and sometimes rambling interview down into relevant sections.

RW: Hello and welcome to Chemoman and Radboy! I know you’re both really busy, out there fighting cancer, so we really appreciate you taking the time to come and talk with us.
CM: Hey, no problem.
RB: What? Oh, yeah, cool.
RW: So, Chemoman, how would you describe yourself, to someone who hasn’t heard about you and the work you do?
CM: Cancer killing superhero, I think sums me up.
RB: Yeah, me too, although I do have a more sensitive side as well. I like poetry, moonlight walks, holding hands on the beach, that kind of stuff.
RW: Right. Now, I’ve had a lot of questions in from listeners, regarding cancer. As an expert, how would you describe it?
CM: Cancer is a mutha f**ker man!
RB: Yeah, it sucks. Sucks real bad.
CM: My one aim in life is to rip every single cancer cell into gooey pieces. I mean real gooey!
RB: I like to flash roast ‘em!
RW: Not wanting to offend, but there are rumours that when you two go to work, you are sometimes a little over zealous…
CM: What do you mean?
RW: Well, there have been reports, dare I say, numerous reports, of not just cancer cells being killed, but innocent healthy cells too.
CM: Hey, if you’re making an omelette, you gotta break a few eggs!
RB: Yeah, eggs.
RW: That’s hardly reassuring…
CM: Listen man! (stands up) My job is to ice cancer! To save lives! (bangs oversized fist on table) Every last one of those squirmy little mutha’s has got to be wasted. Sometimes an innocent cell or two gets caught in the crossfire, boo hoo. Hey, I don’t always have time to check if its cancer or not, I sometimes get one shot at ‘em before they sneak away. I ain’t taking no chances. (bangs fist on table again) Shoot first, ask questions and send letters of condolence later! There’s lives at stake!
RB: Yeah, lives! Zap first, say sorry later.
RW: And what about you, Radboy? How do you respond to the allegations that innocent cells that stray too close to you when you’re using your rad blast, can turn into cancer themselves, sometimes many years later?
RB: Erm
CM: Let me field this one. Things have changed a lot over the years. When we were just starting out, there was a little over zealous deployment of fire power and yes, sometimes, years later cells could mutate, but with experience and maturity, we’ve adapted our techniques and that sort of thing doesn’t happen as quite as often.
RW: But it still happens sometimes?
CM: Thems the breaks. Would you rather be dead?
RW: Fair point.
CM: Look, we try to cause as little collateral damage as possible. I mean, we’re always reviewing and discussing our tactics, weapon deployment and strategies and as long as the primary goal of cancer slaughter is served then secondary concerns, for example trying not to hose too many innocent cells, are worked on.
RB: Erm, can I add something?
RW: Sure.
RB: Can I just say, that all those rumours implying that Chemoman and me are lovers, they’re just, like, so untrue, you know?
RW: Sorry?
RB: I mean, there was this one time… but we were both really drunk and…
CM: Thank you, Radboy! Next question please!

What is Cancer
RW: I have a question here from one of our listeners, Jimmy in Maidstone. He writes, “Dear Chemoman, I love your work, but I’m not sure I really understand what cancer is. Can you help?”
CM: Sure thing, Jimmy. Cancer is a filthy, snivelling, cowardly low life. Its an abomination and has no right to live on this sweet planet. Let me tell you a story. One day, an innocent, happy little cell, lets call him Joe, is happily doing his thing. All seems well, but what Joe doesn’t know is that something has happened to his DNA.
RW: What’s DNA?
CM: It’s like a set of instructions for how to make a new copy of a cell. They all have ‘em. So, anyway, Joe doesn’t know, but his DNA has become damaged. It’s like, some of the instructions have been lost or changed. Now, Joe reports in for copying. This is where new copies of him are made, based on his DNA. Blissfully unaware that his DNA instructions contain errors, he happily sets to work creating the next batch of Joe cells. He finishes this and blammo, cancer!
RW: Sorry, I don’t quite follow. How did we get from copying to cancer?
CM: Oh man! Okay, you see, Joe, the cell, has mistakes in his DNA, you follow me?
RW: Yes, I get that.
CM: Right, now he uses the DNA to make a copy. Still with me?
RW: Yes, of course. It was from copy to blammo that lost me.
CM: Right, okay. Well, you see, there are certain things that make an evil, stinking cancer cell different from an innocent, hard working, lovely normal cell.
RW: Like?
CM: Well, firstly, they don’t die when they’re supposed to. They just try and live forever. Second, they don’t make a sensible number of copies of themselves, they keep on cranking out more and more, faster and faster. Finally, they don’t stay where they are supposed to, they go off elsewhere and invade the homes of other cells. Now, that is just rude.
RW: Okay, so cancer cells are different. I get that, but I still don’t get the blammo part.
CM: I’ll go through this real slow for you. Damn it, even Rad boy gets this!
RB: Hmmm?
CM: Everything that a cell does is determined by his DNA, his instructions, okay? So, if Joe makes a copy of himself and the DNA is not right, then his copy, lets call him Joe2, may not do what he is meant to. If the right instructions are messed up, then what you have is cancer. Joe2 arrives on the scene. Joe and the rest of the body recognise Joe2 as being one of them, but Joe2 isn’t interested in doing an honest days work and striving to make the body a better place to live. No. He is bad. He has darker thoughts and goals. He wants to multiply, invade and live forever.
RW: That’s where you come in?
CM: If that was the case, life would be so much simpler. Usually, Joe2 and his rapidly copied buddies keep themselves to themselves, all hidden away, growing and copying. Smug and confident that no one knows they’re there. Every so often, one of them may leave the group and go out to set up his own little group elsewhere, thus spreading the cancer around.

When does Chemoman intervene?
RW: So, when do you usually get called in?
CM: When cancer starts getting cocky and effecting the cells around it, the bodies owner may start to notice. Sometimes it’ll be a pain or a cough that won’t go or a lymph node swelling up and not going down. Cancer always gets greedy and gives its position away. When it is found, usually after a number of tests, then its chemo-time and I’m sent in.
RW: What preparations do you take, before a mission?
CM: Firstly, I determine what I’m up against. You see, depending on the original cell that the cancer was created from, I may need to take a different set of weaponry or use different tactics.
RB: Or I might be sent in.
CM: Yes, sometimes Rad boy and I work together and sometimes separately. Usually, if the infestation is small and localised, they’ll probably send in Rad, or if I’ve kicked seven bales out of it and there’s just a bit left then Rad may go in and finish the job.
RW: So, he gets all the easy work?
CM: Pretty much.
RB: Hey! It’s not easy, man! I work hard. I’m a professional!
CM: Yeah, whatever. Anyway, when I was just starting out, I might have just relied on a single weapon, but I’ve found that cancer is a slippery devil and it doesn’t hurt to hit it with different weapons in different ways. Keep it confused and don’t give it a chance to adapt.
RW: It adapts?
CM: It tries to. That’s why, if I nearly wipe it out, but some sneaky suckers survive, when we next meet, they may very well have counter tactics to some of my attacks. I guess it’s that which keeps the game interesting.
RB: I like games.
RW: I’m always researching new ways to hit it. I mean, quite recently, I was able to add the MAB gun to my arsenal.
RB: I also like rainbows, ducks and those days when it’s a bit chilly but still sunny. Oh, I also like plums.

RW: What’s the MAB gun?
CM: MABs are monoclonal anti-bodies. They’re kind of like Y shaped self guiding micro missiles, that find and then stick onto certain cancers, lighting them up as easier targets for my bigger guns and the bodies own immune army.
RB: I don’t like swans. Their necks are too long. Makes them look suspicious.
CM: MABs are still pretty new stuff and the current designs are limited to what cancers they’ll lock on to, but we’re developing better ones all the time.

The document stopped there, I guess we have to move onto our next chapter for Wildo to tell us the rest.


Saturday, 28 November 2009

Lets Party Like Its Your Birthday!

So tomorrow I turn 32 and will be my first birthday without Richie. Really strange feeling. Richie always use to make sure birthdays were lots of fun and full of surprises - with the exception of last year but we can let him off that one!

When I was 30 he took me away to Stratford for the weekend. He made up a travel itinerary pack and everything! He booked nice restaurants and booked me and Katy treatments in our hotel to ensure we had a fab weekend. In return me and Katy dragged Rich around numerous shops (!) which he managed not to complain about too much!! When I was 29 he booked a table at our favourite Mexican restaurant in Marlow for us and lots of friends and then had a limo turn up to take us all there.

One of my favourites has to be Barcelona - he booked Ryan Air flights for him, myself and Katy when they had flights for a penny deal on. We arrived in Barcelona aprox 10am and flew home the next day on a flight at around the same time! 24hrs in Barcelona! I had to get up really early on my birthday in order to get to the airport etc which I had the right hump with!!! I think, well I know, I must have been the most grumpy and ungrateful person to wake-up on their birthday. We even argued on the way to the airport I was that grumpy about it all. However, once I had chilled out (a little booze with breakfast does wonders!) the next 24hours became probably the funniest of my life! We arrived in Barcelona all a little jaded to say the least. We then had an hour coach trip into the centre of the city as the cheap tickets took us to some dodgy airport miles out of the city. So, when the coach pulled up we all toddled to the hotel and decided there and then that if we even attempt to drop our bags in the room then we will fall into bed and sleep as we were all so tired, therefore the best thing to do was just crack on with the sightseeing etc (etc probably being more accurate). We therefore walked to the first bar we happened across! A few drinks later (and a few breadsticks to soak up some of the booze!) we walked up the Ramblas to the Marina. At the Marina we managed to find ourselves in yet another drinking establishment (shocker!) where the 3 of us slowly got more and more merry! It must have been around 4 in the afternoon we decided to make tracks and headed back up the Ramblas randomly attempting to sing Happy Birthday in Spanish (Cumpleanos feliz!). Katy then decided it would be a great idea to buy 3 massive Sombreros and some disposable cameras, and once we found a shop selling them she immediately decided that she needed to put her negotiation skills into practice in order to bag a bargain! She ended up paying more than the advertised price! Bless her! After this it all pretty much becomes a blur, we find an Irish bar (why o why, wherever we go we always end up in an Irish bar!) and bump into a crowd of people also from Maidenhead who immediately become our new best friends!!!! More drinks, a few shots etc before we all crawl back to the hotel for a few hours sleep..... i will leave the story there as I wouldn't want to embarrass myself Katy or Richie by describing any other antics (just to note none of these antics were sordid in anyway!)! However the 3 of us awoke very early the next morning to catch the hour long coach trip back to the airport before catching our flight back to the UK. Once back in England the first thing we did was pull in at the nearest Burger King for some serious stodgy food and watery cokes - those where the days!!

Friday, 20 November 2009

A Year

So its nearly a year since Richie left us. What a roller coaster of a year it has been as well. Grief is a difficult thing to explain and I guess one persons experience is very different from another.

In the early days numb is probably a good word to describe how I felt as well as shock, despair and a real pain that's indescribable. As well as the emotional feelings there were horrible physical symptoms too. Uncontrollable shaking at times, insomnia, being sick and a real lack of energy to want to do anything other than sleep. During this time I guess it was Becs and Harry that kept me going, they still had to be fed, washed and dressed, taken to school etc. The worst part of the early days was the fact that Christmas day was the week after the funeral. Celebrating Christmas and New Year was way down my lists of 'Things I Want To Do Today'! For the first time ever I turned into Scrooge and was bah-bloody-humbug to it all. There is still a big part of me that feels like that about this Christmas. However it was the children again that pulled me through it - they needed a good Christmas after everything that happened, so I plastered a smile on my face and we made it as special as we could.

As the new year progressed so did my fear of being on my own in the house - I have no idea where that came from but the thought of sleeping in the house without another adult was horrible. It has taken a really long time to get over that and its probably only been the past couple of months that I am back to normal on that one and can say I am 100% at ease with it. I started back at work way too quickly as well, as soon as the Xmas break was over I went back to work. At the time my head was wanting everything to get back to normal but the reality was I needed a break - the stress of Richies illness and then to them loose him so suddenly, arranging the funeral and then immediately having to cope with Christmas and New Year was way too much, but like an idiot I slammed myself straight back into work. The first week was horrible, I was on the edge of tears for most of it. Luckily I had an amazing boss who helped me out with a lot of the work I had on to take the stress out of those first few weeks back. Maybe it was good that I threw myself back into it - bringing back the normal routine for Becs and Harry etc, who knows, I guess the main thing is I'm still cracking on today!

The other change early on was my Jekyl and Hyde moments from feeling relatively normal to getting really angry - this was probably the period my friends suffered the worst! Usually after a few glasses of wine, I would find myself getting infuriated by the most ridiculous things and then just turning into a mad shouting woman. I was angry at everyone and everything. I hated the fact that peoples lives were carrying on as normal, and I struggled with peoples good news stories (engagements, births etc). However thats another phase that is thankfully long gone and these days I am back to the old Sam (hopefully a good thing, no doubt my friends will have some commentary around this!!)

I think overall we (as in me, Bec and H) are about as normal as we are ever going to get, Richie will always be part of our lives and be with us forever. There's not a day goes by where I don't think about him, mostly the good memories - the sadder ones are slowly disappearing and being superseded by the good/happy ones which is brilliant. Each day we all get a little bit stronger as well and sometimes I even think about what our future will be now he is not with us, but in a positive way and not the holy crap how do I do this without him way! Maybe that's because deep down I know he's always with us, and when he's not his positive influence certainly is.

Throughout the year there have been a number of charity type stuff myself and friends have been doing to raise funds for Lymphoma research - 10k runs, 3 peaks, Nottingham to Maidenhead bike ride. This Christmas the panto that I am involved with will be collecting money at the end of each show for Lymphoma research as well which is great. We have more events planned for next year - London to Paris bike ride and I am going to attempt my first half marathon.

The anniversary type dates are always the hardest - our wedding anniversary, Richie's birthday etc - I have always tried to make these special days where we celebrate the good times and try not to focus on how Lymphoma destroyed everything we had. Therefore December 5th this year will be about celebrating a wonderfully brave man and everything he meant to all of us - and in typical Richie style this means sinking a fair few drinks and dancing like a loon with massive grins on our faces!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

I Belong In Your Arms

Being the 'Monica' tidy freak I can be at times I happened across a copy of one of the poems we had read out during our wedding ceremony. I decided to add it to the blog as its beautiful and was part of a special day for me and Richie.

I belong in your arms

I have found a place
Into which
I fit
And securely with no doubts,
No fears,
No sadness, No tears.
This place is filled
With happiness and laughter,
Yet it is spacious enough
To allow me
The freedom to move around,
To live my life
And be myself.
This wonderful place,
Which I never believed
Really existed,
I have found
Inside your arms,
Inside your heart,
Inside your Love.

I guess when I look back on mine and Richard's relationship I only ever see the good stuff, and therefore this poem is a really good description of how things where for us. However, I guess it doesn't portray the parts which were not always like that! Sometimes we would argue about the most stupid things - whos turn it was to take the rubbish out, the fact that Rich would rather go our crinkled than pick up the iron, whos turn it was to drive so the other could have a drink! All the little things that sometimes niggle each other and cause silly spats (Or a Sammie Seal Strop as Richie and Katy would refer!!). I'd give anything for one of those again, just so I could have the hug when we made up. Never let the sun go down on an argument was Richie's moto, and mostly that was the case!

During his illness we rarely argued, those little things become really insignificant when dealing with cancer and the enormity of what the end picture could look like. I think this should be the way we deal with our relationships, friendships etc to create harmony all of the time! Although I guess that could get a bit boring and theres nothing better than a little spirited fight every now and then!!