Cancer sucks. The uncertainty, the waiting for results, the life on hold, the cocktails of drugs, the body attacked, the weakening side effects, the removal of simple pleasures.
My dad was diagnosed with blood cancer 9 years ago. His is a chronic condition, which didn't need immediate treatment. It's a watch and wait game, monitoring appointments, tests with exam-results-day anticipation. Some people need to start chemotherapy within months, for others it will be years away.
I remember we worried whether he'd be able to walk me down the aisle on my wedding day. Happily back then in 2011 Dad was still in excellent health: cycling for miles, delivering thousands of leaflets in Bishopbriggs and hitting the hills when he could.
In the summer of 2015 it all started to go wrong. Rapidly Dad's health deteriorated - in July we were climbing The Cobbler, with its peak just shy of 3,000ft. By August Dad was in hospital. That autumn the treatment started, a mix of steroids and chemo.
Since then, it has been a rollercoaster. Dad has had amazing NHS care at the world-class Beatson Institute, but the nature of cancer is unpredictable. Positive news then hopes dashed. Bleak outlook then a chink of light. Strict infection control imposing cruel restrictions on Dad seeing his grandchildren, both my son Andrew and my sister's girls Charlotte & Sophie. Even gardening has been off limits at times.
Right now, I'm glad to say Dad is well. After 18 months of turmoil, his recent test results were good, and we're all hoping we can get back to some kind of normality for as long as possible before treatment will be needed again. As I put Andrew to bed this evening he could hardly get to sleep, so excited was he that we are going to spend the weekend with Gran & Grandad (he's also over the moon that we're going on a plane to get there).
So adventures in the Transport Museum & Kelvingrove await, with good conversation and laughter and the love of family life. But cancer really does suck, so I'm running to raise funds for research on blood cancer so that families in future don't have this hellish experience.
Please donate to Bloodwise - they do such excellent work and every penny you give will be put to good use.