welcome to the first bigmoose blog, buckle up this is where the journey starts!

it seemed to me that keep posting stuff from everest at fifty when it really is all about bigmoose is a bit mad, so this week i am going to be transferring my twitter and facebook accounts to bigmoose, so if anybody was on the everestatfifty ride, and feels it’s time to depart, I will be sorry to see you go, but there will be less physical mountains, and more metaphorical ones on the bigmoose journey, and hopefully we can keep you as part of our tribe.
well the currant bun is shining, the farmer is ploughing the field at the end of our garden, and bigmoose seems to be growing in momentum daily, life is good.

this week i have had a number of meetings with people that i hold in high esteem, who have all committed to bigmoose with huge enthusiasm, which increases my confidence in the project immensely, so onward and upward.
the more I work on bigmoose the more I discover there are a tremendous amount of people who really want to do good stuff, and hopefully you dear reader gravitate towards this blog regularly, and follow our journey for the same reasons, you are one of life’s gooduns, and if you are, please keep coming back, together we are gonna take over the world, but in a way the others won’t even see coming!
i am going to relate some stories this week which are all different, but hopefully they make you smile, cry, or at least not doze off.
one of the cool things to happen to me on my everest trip was meeting some great people, one of whom was charlie, who I have mentioned before was a u.s. soldier who was an amputee with a prosthetic leg, and he was to become an integral part of making my trip so enjoyable, he had a great sense of humour, and we regularly duelled with words, which was great fun.
i wasn’t sure whether to relate this story of charlie, as it might be perceived inappropriate, but here goes, this is typical charlie.
we were in a bar in namche on the trek back from our ill fated trip, and the music was great and loud, we were all climbers, and the beer was flowing, and I was sitting next to charlie at the bar, when he turns to me in a very serious way, and says .
“wanna drink beer from my leg?”
i slowly swivelled my head in a well thought out dramatically slow turn, and replied in an equally serious mono tone “of course I do”
charlie then proceeded to take his prosthetic leg off, and raising it up, proceeded to pour everest beer into it, passing it to me as I could see the frothy head nearing the top.
i toasted charlie, and drank from my first prosthetic leg, not something I ever thought I would write about let alone do, but after the other guys on the team shared our leg shaped vessel, and the customary pictures had been taken, we laughed, hugged, and laughed some more.
this was charlie.
now the reason for sharing this story was to highlight the fact that charlie, although he had lost a limb, had not lost his sense of humour or boyish mischieviousness, and as such, amputees, like other less abled individuals can still be amazing at stuff, running, jumping, climbing, and running for senate, like charlie is going to do.
this leads me into my second story which is about a young amputee tom carter, who i have recently had the pleasure of coming into contact with since our connection with the teenage cancer trust ward in cardiff.
i went to see tom and his lovely mum at their house to see if bigmoose could help them with some fundraising, as i had become aware that tom was raising money to get a sports leg, as opposed to an nhs leg, which is very basic in its operation.
it became clear  quickly that tom was in fact very close to raising the money he needed, and wouldn’t need our help, but we have kept in touch, and tom has agreed to share his story, which i think is very powerful, and is indicative of how brave this young man is, have a read, it may inspire you, it did me, but hopefully it will make you realise how precious life is, and how we should all use every moment we are afforded.

Tom’s Story

15 year old me celebrating scoring my first 100

15 year old me celebrating scoring my first 100

I was 19 years old, had finished school and left 6th form with 3 A-levels. I was spending the year looking for work and thinking about going to uni the year after my year off. During the winter, like any cricketer, I started indoor winter nets and I started to get pain in my left knee. At the time I thought nothing of it and just thought it was wear and tear from running on a hard surface, especially as I hadn’t done much physical activity since the season ended. After a few weeks of resting, the pain was still present and if anything, getting worse. I decided to go to my GP to get looked at, and they referred me to have physio. 

After about 6 weeks of physio the pain showed no sign of disappearing and started to get worse. I was taking painkillers everyday to help with everyday walking until one physio session, where I was told to start going to the gym and start running to get moving. I then decided to go for a jog, which only lasted a few strides as the pain was unbearable. After this, I told my dad what the physio had said and that I could barely walk anymore. My dad then booked an appointment for me with a private phyiso he knew from his rugby playing days. 
I went on a Monday to the physio called Steve Cannon, and Steve took one look at my knee and said “You can’t run on that, I’m not going to touch it, I think you should have an MRI scan”. At this point, Steve could only speculate about what it was, and he said that it was most likely cartilage damage from training after a long spell of not training. I was told that keyhole surgery was most likely which I wasn’t too bothered about, as long as I got back on the pitch playing again. We were told by Steve that we had 2 options, have a scan on the NHS and face a possible waiting time of 3 months, or pay £280 and have one done the following week. This was a no brainer for my dad and I, he paid the £280 and on the following Monday I had my scan. 
We received a phone call the following week from the GP saying the results of the scan were in, and we booked an appointment for me to see the doctor about it. I went on my own as both my parents were in work. When I was with the doctor he told me that the results weren’t in and that me and one of my parents should come in a few days time. So me and my mum came in the following week to be told that there was a lesion on my tibia and that it could be nothing serious at all or the worst case scenario. I was referred to see a consultant in the Gwent were I had a x-ray where we saw the lump itself and he told us about having a biopsy in Birmingham Royal orthopaedic hospital. He also warned me that, the lesion could be eating away at my bone and making it weak, which could result in me fracturing the tibia and gave me crutches as a precaution. This was on a Wednesday, on the Saturday while watching my cricket team play, while walking, I fractured my tibia. 

Me before my biopsy before i was diagnosed with my girlfriend Alice by my side

Me before my biopsy before i was diagnosed with my girlfriend Alice by my side

On Monday I was on my way to Birmingham to have the biopsy on the Tuesday and I was home Thursday. The following Tuesday, we had the phone call telling us that the biopsy showed that the lesion was cancerous and that I had osteosarcoma which is bone cancer of the tibia. I was then referred to see my oncologist in Velindre. He explained the chemo regime and what the possibilities would be - either I had surgery to remove the knee and the shin bone and have it replaced by a metal pole, or have my leg amputated. Even at this early stage he said that the most likely one would be amputation, and I said that I preferred that, because the cancer would of been gone with the removal of the limb and there would be no chance of it coming back. Also, with the metal implant, there a risk of infection, the cancer coming back and I’d have to have it removed and replaced every 5-10 years. I then took part in tests to see if I’d be able to cope with chemo and took part in sperm banking in case the chemo made me infertile. 

Photo taken by the argus during my chemo after my op

Photo taken by the argus during my chemo after my op

The first 2 months of chemo felt like years, I was sick, wasn’t eating, I fainted twice and I lost 2 stone in weight, it was terrible and I’d never wish it on anyone, no one deserves it. I went to Birmingham after my first 2 cycles in a 6 cycle course to see the consultant and to have a MRI scan on the tumour. We had a meeting after the scan, and the consultant said that I would have an above knee amputation. He told me that I didn’t look strong enough to have the operation, and that I should have a 2 week break from chemo then have the op. During those 2 weeks, I started eating and feeling better, but nowhere near my usual self. I went up on Tuesday and had the op on a Thursday. I woke up in recovery and I felt cheery and happy and felt more like my usual self, joking and talking to the nurses. After about 15 minutes I was taken back to my room and, to my parents shock, I was sat upright in the bed talking to the porters, "a completely different boy to the one a few weeks ago”. I felt like a massive weight was of my shoulder and I was free from cancer. I was just so happy and cheery, after 40 minutes of being in my room, I turned to my mum and said “I’d kill for a McDonalds”.  And as requested, I had one and ate every bit of it, it was the first meal I enjoyed for a long time. 

The day after the op, the physio’s in Birmingham had me up on my crutches. I then came home on the Tuesday after my op and I had 2 weeks off at home before starting my chemo were I had 4 cycles left over 4 months. I came back to the TCT unit in Cardiff and the nurses said I was a different person, talkative, happy and just my usual self. The chemo this time round didn’t effect me half as much as it did first time round so it was a lot more bearable. The count down towards the end of chemo left like months but it was totally worth it. 

Taken at my fundraiser luncheon with Ex England cricketer Simon Jones 

Taken at my fundraiser luncheon with Ex England cricketer Simon Jones 

My attention then turned to physio and walking again and looking to getting back on the pitch playing cricket again, which has been my goal since I was told about the possible options regarding surgery. At the current moment, writing this, I'm walking without support around the house and walking with just 1 crutch in public. 
We are currently fund-raising for a specially designed artificial leg with a microprocessor in the knee which will enable me to turn and twist. These cost upwards of £30,000. To play cricket again would be a dream come true because its always been my goal through all of this. My ultimate goal is to represent England in the physical disabled side. 

what a cool guy eh?
now, last week i mentioned a new girl on team moose, karen jones, who having now known for just over a week it has become apparent that she is gonna be totally what team moose is all about.
she writes her own blog independently, and i recently read this one, and thought it would be good to share with you guys, so you can get a flavour of kj’s writing, so have a read, and hopefully you enjoy it, and if you do please let me know. (if you don’t enjoy it, please contact her directly!)

it’s no drama…… by karen jones
TV or not TV… that is the question. I’ve been living in my new place for a month and still haven’t bought a TV. I intended to get one in the first week or so but I had too much to do to justify spending the money on something I didn’t have time to watch. We have Netflix, and a laptop and smartphones that are compatible with that, as a compromise, but I thought the nagging from the children was going to make white noise sound heavenly and I’d give in.
I googled some figures. On average in the UK we watch 4 hours of TV a day. That’s 28 hours a week sitting on the sofa, being inactive, 121 hours a month of using our time ineffectively and 1,456 hours every year we spend completely sedentary, moaning that ‘there just aren’t enough hours in the day’.
If my life was perfect, maybe I’d get another one. So If I was as physically fit as I’d like to be, if I had enough time every night to make the children food that was completely fresh and good for them without having to rely on the odd ‘whatever I’ve got in the freezer is being cooked if it takes 20 minutes or less’, if I could play the ukulele and guitar to the standard I’d like, if my children’s school work was at the peak of what they have the ability to achieve (they’re pretty good but I know they can do better), if my house was clean and organised every day, if I was making more time for friends and family, investing in those relationships a little more, if I went climbing everyweekend or at least if my climbing was improving…
I don’t have the right to moan about any of these things if I’m watching 4 hours of TV a day. Without delving in to the issue of the quality of what we watch on TV, it takes away something more precious than any TV experience can give me – time.
If, say, at 70 year of age I was looking back on my life, would I ever really say the following?
‘you know I’m glad I bought another TV when I was 31, because those 56,784 hours I’ve spent since then sitting on my backside wishing I had more time to improve my life in some way was worth the hundreds of pounds I spent on the TV in the first place’.
My thirteen year old daughter has had her guitar for three years, and for about two years and six months of it, it’s been left alone. In the last month I’ve learned the guitar through various youtube clips so I could teach her – she can now play Ben E King’s Stand by Me. My six year old son hasn’t asked for the TV once, he’s more concerned with being let to play with his friends in the street and what lego pieces are missing.
My only TV related dilemma was picking what would now be the main feature in my living room…


an interesting thought don’t you think?

finally, i recently came across a website that a young lady by the name of  nicole antoinette runs, she is a bit of a potty mouth, but quite inspirational in her own gritty way, so if you are easily offended look away now, but if you don’t mind a modicum of effing and jeffing have a read I think she’s pretty cool.

The First Step For Anything Is This: Show Up
I have two words for you: sweat equity.
And a question: What are earning?
Right now, in your day to day life, what are you actively working toward? What are you pouring yourself into? What are you showing up for, fully, every single day?
You say you want X thing. You think about it and talk about it all the time. That’s great; sharing your dreams and your goals, regardless of whether they’re big or small, helps keep you excited and accountable.
But while you’re thinking about it and while you’re talking about it, what are you actually doing about it?
Steven Pressfield said it best: “Put your ass where your heart wants to be.” If you want to be a runner, get your ass outside and run. If you want to be healthier, get your ass to the grocery store and eat some fucking vegetables. If you want to be a writer, put your ass in the chair and just write.
In other words: SHOW UP.
Stop talking about how much you want something, and just start showing up. Let your actions do the talking.
Stop planning, stop researching, stop trying to decide on the “best” next step and just do something. Do anything.
The thing you do might be crap to start with. Guess what? Sometimes you have to move through a lot of crap to get to the good stuff. But guess what else? Every crap sentence you write and every crap run you have gets deposited into your sweat equity account, and eventually you’ll be able to make some ridiculously fantastic withdrawals. Eventually you’ll write something you’re proud of and excited about. Eventually, if you keep going, if you keep showing up, you’ll be able to run faster and farther than you ever imagined.
Look, I’m not the fastest runner out there – not even close. I’m probably never going to win a race unless my only competitor is my mother. I’m not the best, I’m not the fastest, but I’m getting better and better every single day because I keep showing up.
Here’s the truth: you aren’t entitled to anything. No one owes you a damn thing. If you want to close the gap between who you are right now and who you want to be, you have to start showing up.
You might think there’s a magic secret to success that only certain people know, but there isn’t. Or at least, there isn’t a sexy secret because showing up every single day isn’t very sexy. But it works. It’s the only thing that works.
You want quick results? You want the best “hack”? I get that, because sometimes that’s all I want too. But can you do me a favor and stop fixating on the end result for a second? Stop thinking about being X weight or having X number of clients or making X amount of money or having X many subscribers or getting an X-figure book deal and just start showing up. Do what you need to do to fall in love with the process, and trust that incredible results will come if you dedicate yourself fully to a daily commitment to that process.
Because, you know, the craziest thing of all is that the “dream” results you’re dying for aren’t even the tip of the iceberg for what’s truly possible. You have no idea how good you can be if you just keep showing up. You can’t imagine how far you might go if you stop searching for the best shortcut and start dedicating yourself to building sweat equity by showing the fuck up.
Listen, working hard might feel like a pointless slog sometimes, and change might come at an agonizingly slow pace, but I promise you that if you keep putting one foot in front of the other you will move forward. All of that sweat equity will pay off. And, when it does, the results will likely be bigger and brighter than you ever thought possible.
So I ask again: What are earning? What are you actively working toward?
And, better yet: Will you open yourself up to the possibility that sweat equity could lead you to greatness far beyond what you might imagine?
Will you give up control of the outcome and instead choose dedication to the process?
Will you show up today?

nicole’s website is www.lifelessbbullshit.com check her out.

well that’s enough from me this week, from the first verrrrrrrrry long bigmoose blog, i hope you are still onboard.
blue skies,