This isn't going to be an easy post to write ... it may waffle at times but bear with me a bit and everything will come out.
The past 12 months or so have not gone very well but, until August, things were definitely improving. I'm not going to go into any detail about what happened before that other than to give a very brief reminder ...
... injured badly at hour 21 in World 24 hr Championships (Poland) [Sep 2012] ... spent about ten weeks walking with crutches ... diagnosed with gout last December ... six months intensive rehab for the injury ... finally able to train normally from July this year ...
But then things deteriorated and at the end of August I ended up in hospital (again) with the throat problems explained below.
At the age of four I began to have trouble breathing (so I'm told - I don't remember) and this rapidly worsened causing my parents much distress. I was taken to hospital and it was found that my trachea had been severely narrowed by the presence of many nodules. A hospital stay of many weeks followed (I do remember that) during which I underwent various operations including a tracheotomy and removal of the nodules (as well as the start of a few years worth of speech therapy).
OK so far ... but, unusually, these nodules kept regrowing which meant many more operations until the age of 16 when they appeared to stop growing. At this point the doctors thought that it would be something that would stop as I reached adulthood and it did appear that they were right, but in 1983 (age 19) I was back in hospital.
I remember that time well because I was at the Reading Festival when everything suddenly went wrong and I ended up in the back of an ambulance being taken to the specialist back in Bradford (a distance of about 320 km).
More hospital visits and operations followed in 1989 (less than a year before my first cancer operation), 1997 and 2004.
Back to the present ... in August my breathing deteriorated very rapidly and I was in hospital at the end of that month where I was told there were too many nodules to remove all at once. The first operation removed the major ones but I was back for another go in mid September. I'll be back inside next week and the surgeons may be able to remove the last few nodules.
I feel that I'll have to go back in November for the fourth time in four months.
Because of all this I feel I've not been keeping a close enough watch on what's happening to one or two other ultra running friends [sorry Fiona - I know you're getting better by the day].
Apologies for not letting you all know sooner about what has happened but I don't really enjoy going into such great detail about a very long standing medical condition. Even if it does compromise my running at times - eg the smoke drifting across the course during the first Commonwealth Championships in Keswick caused a few problems regarding breathing.
Those of you who are aware of my condition - thanks for the messages of support. Especially Andy Smith who gave me the kick up the backside I needed ... THANK YOU. Although I have to say, if you're reading this Andy, I very rarely think about my past achievements but often think about what I can achieve in the future.
Ending on a positive note ... having been a runner since 1972 I have absolutely no intention of stopping anytime soon. And as ultra distances are far and away my favourite races I have in mind that my return race will be the Tooting 24 hr race next September.