I have spent the last two years pursuing two avenues of exploring ways to change my lifestyle. The most important has been improving my physical wellbeing. Initially, I had to find a surgeon who would accept the challenge of removing my very large goitre (this is a thyroid gland in one's neck that has enlarged). This gland produces a hormone called Thyroxine that basically controls the body's metabolism. If it misfunctions by becoming overactive, it can cause damage to the heart which races, and lead to weight loss, anxiety or tension. If it underfunctions (becomes underactive) it can lead to weight gain, extreme tiredness, dryskin, hairloss and feeling the cold. For over forty years I had suffered with the later problem, and in my attempt to keep on driving myself to work, I think my thyroid gland just expanded. This is called a Colloid Goitre. Initially, I decided not to have the then slightly enlarged gland removed because I was training to be a teacher and I knew that one outcome of the operation could be damage to the nerve that controls the vocal cords, and I didn't want to face the possibility of loosing my voice at the beginning of a carreer in teaching, something that I was delighted to be able to consider - I knew someome to whom this had happened, so I shelved the problem until the gland had got so big that it threatened to affect my ability to breathe. A scan also revealed that half of the gland had increased in volume so much within my chest that it had reached down to the Aorta, the main blood supply out of the heart. The surgeon at Boston Hospital who saw me every six months re my sleep apnea, said he would only operate on my goitre if it was a matter of life and death, because of the difficulty in the cutting off the blood supply, which is high in the neck, where it joins a main artery. Unfortunately, if I ever needed an emergency operation, resuscitating me could be a serious problem, so it was rather a "Catch 22" situation. Fortunately, after a year of searching I met a Mr Ubhi at Nottingham City Hospital who agreed to accept the challenge, and in October 2013 he undertook a three hour operation during which he succesfully extracted my goite; he said it was the largest one he had ever handled, weighing 825g. I asked if it could be preserved in a bottle, but he said this sort of thing wasn't done now, but I do have a photograph of it! A thorasic surgeon had been standing by in the operating theatre, ready to assist by sawing through my breast bone if access was needed that way. It wasn't, thankfully, as I understand from Mr Uhbi's registrar that it had been possible for this experienced man to gradually ease upwards, out of my chest cavity, that hidden half of my goire by inserting his finger tips though the single cut that was made across my neck. All that visibly remains is a fine white line. I marvel at how they even knew where to make the incision on the bulge that I had.