My Year in Numbers

I’m not a big fan of statistics. My eyes tend to glaze over them and I’ve devoted most of my life’s work to the unmeasurable emotional manipulation of making noises that are designed to excite and/or move myself and others, i.e. making music.

But in a year when the cascade of life experience is almost impossible for me to grasp, I think they’re aiding the process of taking it all in. In my life BC (Before Cancer) very little of what is represented below – both achieved and endured – would have occurred to me as remotely within reach, let alone being able to say I’d been there and done it.

It’s been an extraordinary year and you don’t even need to be a statistician to work that out:

c. 6 tumours in 3 places (at time of writing)
5 year survival odds: 1 in 10
2 chemo cycles
1 bowel obstruction, resulting in 8 days in hospital, of which 3 were in ITU
1 major emergency open surgery
1 failed epidural
2 weeks in a world of pain
1 morphine button (many hallucinations)
1 stoma (colostomy)
c. 300 bag changes
3 urgent laundry changes
5 CT scans
Countless blood tests
5 heart in mouth appointments
10 months without treatment
0 tablets to take at time of writing
1 will written (free from Macmillan)
11 counselling sessions (free from Macmillan)

55 blogs
c. 8,000 of my own words published across 4 national newspapers/magazines
1 article commissioned but not published
c.500 below the line comments (99% of which are supportive)
1 book in the works
2 BBC TV appearances in 1 day
3 podcast appearances
3 published interview pieces
Meetings with 2 shadow cabinet members
Lunch with a Lord
2 minutes backstage with Kier Starmer
4 minutes of ‘moving’ speech at the Labour conference
As many cancer awareness announcements as possible, taking every opportunity to vividly describe my bowel habits
c. £6,000 raised for Macmillan Cancer Support

2,331km run in 5 countries
58,217m of elevation gain (including three mountain ranges)
1 treadmill – constructed by my brother whilst I was in hospital
4 pairs of running shoes
1 excruciating knee injury
3 Ultramarathons (50k, 98k, 100 miles)
1 unofficial world record (distance run with a stoma/colostomy)

c. 35 gigs (including 2 weddings)
4 trombones played
1 conductor’s baton waved a few thousand times
3 festivals played in 1 weekend (including playing to a crowd of over 2,000)
8 solo songs written
Everyone in tears

6 months off sick
2 fancy award dinners
1 national music education award
c.900 children taught on a regular basis
c.100 amazing colleagues picking up the pieces
A massed orchestra of 200 young musicians to conduct
3 rounds of performance on big stages with Music for Youth (including one very special night at the Royal Albert Hall)
1 heartfelt thank you speech from a student on stage at the Royal Albert Hall
5 1/2 days a week – returning to a stressful full time teaching job with a Saturday morning at Music School that’s never felt like work.
2 bouts of flu (working with kids!)
10 mins average lunchtime nap on the staff room sofa
0 sick days upon return

1 Comment

  1. Absolutely amazing!!!


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