Tag : health

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Setting Goals for 2019

It is important to set yourself some goals and targets regardless of what walk of life you’re from as they give you something to aim or aspire to. New Year is the obvious time, the cliched time, to set goals because you have a clean slate and a full 12-months ahead of you.

First, sorry to my entire readership base of three for not updating this little corner of the internet since Nov. 17. You can blame the lack of content on the fact I’ve been balls deep in Red Dead Redemption 2 on the PS4. The game is nothing short of fantastic. I’m almost done with the story mode, so will be writing a review at some point next week all being well.

As for my goals for 2019, you’ll realise several of them are interlinked; completing one will likely achieve another. Without further ado, let’s look at what lies in store for 2019.

Stopping Smoking

Stopping smoking

This is the number one on my list and I won’t care one iota if I fail to hit the rest of my goals if I manage to achieve this. I’ve stopped smoking a handful of times before falling off the wagon and starting again.

There’s a history of cancer and dodgy hearts in my family so me smoking is even more stupid than it would be for anyone else. You also have to take into consideration the financial cost of smoking. The brand we smoke is around £8.60 a packet, which is fucking criminal, and I’ve loosely worked out I’m currently spending approximately £400 a month on cancer sticks. That’s £4,800 a year. £4,800 a year that could be spent on a family holiday or wiping a credit card, anything other than destroying my lungs.

The plan is to go cold turkey. I used an e-cig the last time I stopped, but it’s not going to be too long before we get told by the experts that these are just as bad for you as cigs. Putting anything other than air into your lungs is a bad idea if you think about it.

To help keep me on the straight and narrow, I’m going to transfer money daily to a savings account, meaning I can see the savings I’ve made. We can then use the money how we see fit every few months or so.

Improve My Fitness / Lose Weight

Another goal is to improve my fitness and lose some timber, which goes hand in hand with stopping smoking. I started 2018 by jogging regularly and was starting to get into it. Then I pulled my right calf muscle and took six weeks for it to stop hurting. By this time, I’d given up on jogging and essentially sat on my arse for the rest of the year.

I’m not getting any younger and have already done a shit ton of damage to my body so vastly improving my fitness and losing some weight/ body fat to give myself a fighting chance later in life seems like a good idea.

I’ve already drastically cut down on the amount of alcohol I drink and that should make this goal easier. I’d need to weigh myself on New Year’s Day and somehow measure my body fat percentage at the same time before setting a concrete target.

Take More Care of Myself

Again, this is loosely connected to the improving my fitness and losing weight. I’ve never been one for following fashion trends but I do sometimes see clothes I like but then never buy them because they won’t look right on me.

Also, working from home means that you don’t have to take as good care of your appearance as you would if you had to work in an office o rhad a customer facing job. This means tend to only shave when my growth makes me want to scratch my face off, and I only shave my hair when it’s got to the stage that it looks like I have a dandelion clock on my head; that’s an exaggeration but you catch my drift.

These couple of things are connected to my mental wellbeing, too. Despite being an opinionated twat, I actually have quite low self-esteem and confidence and the opinion of myself is rather low. I still have spells where the black dog pays a visit, and this exacerbates the above. Making a conscious effort to improve all areas of my life, especially myself, should see a happier, less anxious and paranoid 2019!

Read at Least 12 Books

Must read more books!

Reading is one of those things that is easy to fall out of the habit of doing. While I find it hard to put a book down once I have started it, it does take a while to get used to reading again. My concentration levels seem to drop when I try reading. I think the main reason for this is the fact I skim and scan hundreds of articles and websites each week rather than reading them properly. When I then come to read an actual book, I find myself skimming and scanning, missing chunks of the story and not getting into it properly.

Twelve books in a calendar year should be easily achievable as it’s only one a month. Substituting browsing the news websites and the like for a chapter of a book should make achieving this target a piece of piss.

Write at Least 50 Blog Posts

Again, this should be easy as it is an average of slightly less than once per week. If I managed to read 12 books, that is 12 entries right there, plus if I start playing poker regularly, I’m sure I’ll fill this blog with bad beat stories!

Get Back Playing Poker Regularly

Playing online poker at partypoker

There was a time when my entire life revolved around playing poker or improving at poker. I’d play online or sometimes visit my local casino for a small donkament or cash game. Large portions of my time were spent reading books, forums and watching videos about poker.

Playing poker and being so invested in this game led me to working in the poker industry, which in turn stopped me playing poker. I often use the excuse that writing about poker for 10 hour a day means I don’t want to play poker when I down tools at the end of the day.

While this is true, there’s also a fear factor to consider. Thinking about it, I’m a little scared that I won’t be able to win anymore. The game has progressed so much and I’ve not kept up with the latest trends and strategies. Being unable to beat the game would piss me off, even though I was never a big winner by any stretch of the imagination. Not to mention it doesn’t look good for a someone in my position to be a complete fish at poker!

Perhaps I’ll stick a small amount online, probably at partypoker, and see if I can grind that up playing nano-stakes cash games. We shall see.

Make £5,000 From Non-Work Activity

This goal could be linked to the above if I do eventually jump back into poker, but it may also spur me on to start at least one of the two websites that I bought the domains for around this time last year!

I purchased one domain that is going to be a gambling portal with things like sports betting, casino and poker site reviews. I’ll feature strategy for these markets, news too, maybe even transfer gossip and esports.

Most of the content in these markets is factual and quite dry. My plan, if I ever get the bastard off the ground, is to make them a little tongue-in-cheek and maybe even mildly offensive. Think Paddy Power and not The Guardian! Stick a few affiliate links in, fish read my shit, sign up to sites and viola: extra wonga.

The second domain is more fun but could lead to someadvertising revenue. It’s not a new idea, but I want to write a pisstake newspaper for Yorkshire folk. An old mate of mine, Simon Young, has a brilliantsite called the Suffolk Gazette that I love reading. I’d love to do something similar so look out for the Yorkshire Tribune coming to a screen near you soon, hopefully!

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Best News Ever? Fuck You Cancer!

I’ve got prostate cancer.”

Those were the words, or at least they were along those lines, from my dad’s voice that flew through my mobile phone and hit me with the force of a heavyweight boxer.

The rest of the conversation was something of a blur.

My dad had been hinting at meeting up for a few weeks prior to that phone call, saying he had something he needed to tell me and that it would be better to do so face-to-face. One Facebook Messenger message stated, “don’t worry to death, nowt that can’t be sorted,” followed up by “nowt that will finish me off” and “not something critical.”

I was convinced it was something to do with the old man’s ticker. He’d been diagnosed with a heart rhythm problem a few years ago and was controlling it with beta blockers and the like. Maybe one of his valves was dodgy and needed replacing? Perhaps he needed a bypass?

“I’ve got prostate cancer.”

What the fuck, Dad? Nothing too critical or anything that’ll finish you off. I remember, vaguely, rattling off some shit about how it was important to remain positive in such situations before regaling a story about the Mrs’ mum who died of cancer almost four years ago, before I had the chance to meet her.

Probably not the best anecdote to share, but I was rocked and clutching at straws rather than sit there in an awkward silence.

Their Body, Their Choice

To say I was stunned by the announcement is an understatement. I told the Mrs, then didn’t have a clue what to do or say.

Google can be your worst enemy when it comes to looking at diseases, yet I still frantically searched for the survival rates of different courses of treatment. Dad had said he’d decided to undergo radiotherapy and hormone therapy instead of having the tumour removed.

Why the fuck would he be doing this? There’s something in your body that is killing you and will take you away from us all, but you’re leaving it there. As the Mrs said to me, you must respect the fact that it is the cancer sufferer’s body and therefore their choice.

That’s the first part of the guilt surrounding cancer sufferers, the guilt their family and friends feel for wanting to try and take control of their lives when they’re not the ones having to endure any treatment.

Dad’s no fool. In fact, he’s one of the most intelligent people I know, so I knew he’d done more than his fair share of research into all the possibilities and potential outcomes. His body, his choice.

What do you say?

I’ll openly admit that I’ve been wank when it has come to being the supportive son. I’m rubbish at all that shit; I never know what to say.

“Oh hi, Dad. How you feeling?”

When I know full well he feels like his insides have been set on fire due to the radiation being blasted at him from all directions.

“How’s work?”

When I know he’s had to change his hours because he can’t see properly for the first hour or so of waking, can’t control his body temperature due to his body having less testosterone in it than that cunt Louie Spence so is constantly hotter than the sun.

That’s the problem when someone you know is seriously ill, you don’t know what to say to them. You don’t want to act or treat them differently, but in the back of your mind you know they have cancer. It’s fucked up.

I’ve been dealing with it how I deal with similar things of this nature, by trying to joke my way through. OK, the jokes are shit, but by making light of the situation I could avoid the elephant in the room.

A death sentence

The only first-hand experience I had of cancer before this was from the grandparents on, ironically, my dad’s side. Granddad died after undergoing surgery for lung cancer. Grandma survived breast cancer only for another form of the horrible little bastard to take her later in life.

My Mrs told me about the suffering her mum went through in the final stages of her life as she battled with the “Big C” so everyone I knew on a personal level had died after being diagnosed with cancer.

And there lies another guilt-causing problem: you start to, or at least I was, making plans for when the battle is finally lost.

I remember welling up in the car after listening to the German entry for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest as it was a guy singing about his dad. Fighting back tears and with a lump in my throat the size of a decent King Edwards spud choking me, I recall wondering how I’d react if I got a call to say the cancer had spread and there was nothing more they could do.

There were even fleeting thoughts about what I’d say at the funeral, or if I could even manage to get any words out in that situation.

How would my mum be? What state would my sister be in? How the fuck do you tell the kids that they won’t see Granddad anymore? All this when the poor old bastard was sat boiling his tits off at home and trying to go about his business as normal as possible.

What a cunt, Matthew. Thinking like this. But I couldn’t help it, despite the guilt it made me feel. It’s not like I was wishing the old man was dead, far from it, but you kind of make mental plans in your head for when cancer claims yet another life because it is often seen as a death sentence.

A new-found respect

I’ve always had a lot of respect for my dad. Coming from humble beginnings, he strived to be the best he could be academically, earned himself a degree in Chemistry – I think he was the first person in his entire family to do so – and has always done everything to be a provider for his family, including us lot.

While I have no doubts in my mind that he’ll have had a cry to himself on the nights he was along and trying to get to grips with the fact he had cancer, he’s gone about his daily routine with a smile on his face and a positivity that has been almost unnatural; you’d never know he had cancer and was undergoing treatment unless he told you.

There’s me moaning about being tired after a crap night’s sleep, and there’s Dad walking around full of the joys of spring despite almost glowing in the dark from radiation and going to 27 pisses during the night.

They say you learn a lot about someone who is facing adversity. I’ve learned that my old man is even more awesome that I originally thought him to be.

Fuck you cancer!

So, what’s the best news ever? Well, it came last week when my dad was told the months of treatment, the hours of worrying and the burning pisses had been worth it because his cancer is in remission.

It means that he no longer needs have injections to stop his body producing testosterone, which this form of cancer feeds off. We just have to wait to see what, if anything, happens when his body begins making testosterone again, but for now we can say fuck you to cancer! Here’s to one day everyone everywhere being able to say that to their tumours.

Dad and I

A photo of my dad and I pissed up at my sister’s wedding a few years back (look at the size of my head!)