18.03.2003 To those who are new to the board, and missed earlier Dear Diary postings, they are reflection of my own experiences as a cancer sufferer and Barnsley supporter. They are not intended to be offensive or contentious, but give me the chance to let some feelings out now and then, and some readers have said they enjoy them. The last Dear Diary was about six weeks ago, so this is omething of an update....... Well, that’s it then. Looks like war is about to break out again. No, not the one in the Middle East between the forces of good in the red corner – G W and close pal and confidante Prime Minister Blair, and that pantomime villain of the peace (Freudian slip?) Saddam Hussein, complete with appropriate moustache for twirling, in the blue corner. No, my surgical team, complete with flashing blades, scalpels and more than slightly bloodthirsty, not to mention bloodshot eyes, are, as I write this, stropping away madly on the old cutthroat razors in gleeful anticipation of yet another incursion into the innards of my body, or what is left of it after previous campaigns. After several months of posturing and mediation between my oncologist in Leeds – he of the ‘sit back and let’s observe’ philosophy, as previously discussed, and the surgical team in Birmingham, who believe that any issue can be resolved with a knife, the gloves are finally off. The heavyweights with all their high tech armoury are massing on the borders of the theatre of war, waiting to prove once and for all that the ‘go in quick and get rid of the problem’ philosophy is better than more months of fruitless observation, whilst the problem gets worse. Inevitably there will be bloodshed and possibly casualties, but the hoped for outcome is a cancer free zone, fit to carry on in good health for years to come. But never mind the War, back to my treatment. I went down to Birmingham to see my consultant Bob (better known as God) Grimer on the 27th February. I had a fraught journey down. In spite of allowing myself ample time to cover the 150 miles to the hospital I arrived at exactly 2.30 for a 2.30 appointment. Phew!! At least I’m not late. Hot and sweaty with a bright red face and sky high blood pressure, but not late. Two hours and twenty minutes later I finally got to see The Man. I overheard him talking on the other side of the door. My scan results had been lost and he was talking agitatedly to his secretary. Oh well, better wing it, seemed to be the philosophy. So he entered, followed inevitably by a line of students, looking like a mother duck with her brood. I never cease to be amazed by the supposed shortage of Doctors in this country. Whenever I see a consultant, and bear in mind I have seen several just since Christmas, they are invariably accompanied by a gaggle of earnest looking young men and women hanging on the very breath of their esteemed superior. If the shortage of Doctors exists, as we are assured it does, then the conclusion that I have come to is that those following these learned men around are either paid extras, there to add credibility to the opinions on offer, like those that you used to see in those Doctor in the House films with James Robertson Justice or, and I think this more likely given the state of the National Health, voyeurs who are there having paid to accompany the consultant on his rounds. After all what better way of seeing people in various states of undress than to pretend to be a doctor?? After having the lump on my back felt at by Doctor Grimer a couple of these ‘students’ asked if they too could have feel at it. ‘You can feel what you like’ I said jokingly, forgetting for an instant that my wife had accompanied me on this trip, and was now glowering at me with that ‘Wait till I get you home’ look on her face. Her withering look was matched only by that of the female, very attractive 19-year-old student doctor, who gave me a look that said something like, ‘When I want a feel at a 50 year old bloke with BO, halitosis and bigger tits than me I’ll let you know’. Anyway, after Mr Grimmer had carried out his examination he asked me why I was there, and so I explained all that had happened since Leeds had diagnosed my two new tumours in October, how I had fought this thing since 1996 and could not handle the ‘do nothing’ approach on offer from Leeds, as it smacked too much of ‘there’s nothing we can do’. He listened intently and without interruption for some ten minutes or so and then reeled off a speech that I might have written for him, as it so much coincided with my own ‘best case scenario’. He would take the one out that is on my chest wall, he has a colleague in Leeds who is an excellent thoracic surgeon who will take the one out of my lung, and he will arrange radiotherapy to the one in my groin to try and shrink it or inhibit future growth. As I almost skipped back to the car it occurred to me that few people of my acquaintance would understand that, in spite of having quite radical treatment over a period of several months ahead of me, that I had had HOPE restored to me. I was reminded of, and film buffs can correct me here, John Cleese’s impassioned cry of ‘In the end it’s the hope that kills you’ in the Life of Brian. But without hope where are any of us? As Barnsley fans we are left hoping that the multi millionaire, willing to pay over his £10 million, is not just a cruel figment of PD’s imagination. That the creditors back the CVA, that we don’t blow up in the last weeks of the season and contrive another relegation, that PD is not playing the long game in his dark intent of closing down the club and flogging off the assets, that sensible backers are seen to jump on board with money and a genuine feel for the club, that Hodges proves to be, even if by accident, the right man in the right place at the right time, that next seasons promoted/relegated clubs do not have the financial wherewithal to compete immediately for the promotion spots, that another deadbeat club doesn’t find itself a millionaire benefactor, that potential new players see the recent fall from grace of the club as a short term blip and so don’t perceive us as somewhere to come and toss it off for a few years whilst blocking out promising youngsters, but as a vibrant forward looking club who will reward success on the field with the promise of financial rewards consistent with good results, that we don’t throw out all the out of contract players, even those willing and able to do a job even with lower wages. A lot to hope for. But when it’s all that’s left you clutch at all the straws.