The most wonderful man has left this earth far too soon to Liver Cancer.
If ever you needed your day to be awakened in a Cancer clinic in walks this man. I’m sitting there minding my own business and then two names are called for the usual weight:BP check before you see the consultant. Suddenly I see this man walking beside me who says ‘should we dance together down to the weighing room?’ I burst into laughter – this got my attention.
I was weighed and then he was and we sat outside the room. We started talking about cancer and then family. Family was very important to us. The passion I could hear about his children was refreshing. During our conversation something strange happened- I realised that I was laughing in a Cancer clinic for the first time in 9 months! It was 5 months post op so I certainly wasn’t ‘healed’ as they say- physically or mentally. However, this man made me really chuckle.
My name was called again and I went in to see my consultant and thought nothing more of our encounter. After the consultation I was making my way out of the clinic with my son who had gone to park the car earlier, when I saw my ‘clinic dancing partner’. I smiled at him and he stopped me, he said that everyone needed to talk about cancer a bit more, it was too hidden. He asked if I had an email address and at this point I introduced him to my son. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his card and handed it to my son! I was standing there with my hand outreached to receive it 😂 I was intrigued as to why he did that. Later I was to find out that he did it out of respect and courtesy to my son. He didn’t want him to think that he was trying to ‘chat up’ his mum in front of him AND at a Cancer clinic 😂😂
This man was intriguing so 24 hours later I emailed him to reintroduce myself and wished him all the best for the future. Three days later he replied but not with good news about his consultation.
This was the beginning of what became the most wonderful friendship in such a short space of time. Time was precious to him, I thought I understood it then but now he has gone I finally understand just how much time meant to him. They say walk a mile in another man’s shoes, that saying is so true. We can empathise as much as we can but until it happens to us, we will never truly understand.
I’d love to chronicle the whole story but I’m not sure about that- especially now, my heart is truly broken. I never knew how painful it would be but now I know because he can never call me 3-4 times a day, email me, walk with me, laugh with me, he is no longer here😔. Death is so final but not in his world so for that I am happy. Maybe I will see him again as a beautiful butterfly 🦋 in my beloved gardens this year.
My dear friend, you will be missed as you are laid to rest today. I have loved every moment of our friendship. You are exactly who we need to meet in life. We shared stories of our ups and downs which was a privileged position to experience. You were not just beautiful on the inside but your spirit was filled with energised kindness which was genuine. Thank you for being you.
Out of the blue, out of nowhere but possibly out of lockdown, grief paid me a visit.
One year on I thought things had improved, that I was managing losing you. Situations and times have moved on but not the way I feel about you my Clinic Dancing Partner. It is almost as if I am stuck in time. I think I can handle certain discussions or listen to music which reminds me of you playing your guitar but the truth is, it still hurts. I think lockdown has intensified my thoughts by 10. Everything concentrated. When one of the biggest moments in time arrives and you are not here to see and discuss it, it hurts. Don’t get me wrong, in a way I prefer that you’re not going through it as this is no way to live. Yes we have to get through it but would I personally want you to have gone through it? No. The risks would have been very high for you and social distancing would have been painful. This weekend I needed to allow myself the time to let grief play itself out- no suppression.
Second to grief came the return of Cancer fatigue and nausea. Having not experienced this for quite some time, it wasn’t exactly the highlight of my week. The fatigue is bad! On Saturday afternoon I actually went back to bed! This is not my usual way of managing fatigue but it got to that point. During lockdown I eat well and attend doorstep social distancing exercise to keep myself energised. Exercise is known to help with fatigue. I will keep going with doing some activity each day but remain sensible- if exhaustion is bad, don’t push it. I spent a few hours listening to podcasts which were phenomenal! One of them discusses living and going through Cancer and the other consists of interviews with UK professional artists. These podcasts enabled me to laugh, cry, reminisce- all in a safe place.
One of the reasons that I lay my truth here is because I feel free, safe to speak. There is nobody to change the narrative, these are my words which you can choose to read or not – there’s no need to listen. My truth will always be mine and never anyone else’s version, this is why I enjoy posting on my blog it brings emotional freedom. As I was reminded a few days ago about writing styles, when you read your work, is it really you? Does it sound like you? These are my thoughts, my emotions and my experiences so this blog is definitely me, warts and all…
I have travelled to many places but I still have places of interest stuck firmly on my Bucket List which I created 8th May 2014. With the current pandemic it doesn’t look as if we will be able to travel freely around the world any time soon. So what is my plan of action?
Feeling pretty optimistic, I feel able to move forward despite the negativity which looms all around us. The main positive for me is that where there is life there is hope 🥰 I love being in water and have not been able to go swimming for months! It has gotten to the stage where I watch every programme going which covers travel, moving abroad – absolutely anything where I can set my eyes upon water! I would love to have my own personal area of water outdoors but it is so cold at the moment. Plunge pool, a hot tub, a basin of water to paddle my feet- anything to quench this desire to be in relaxing water. When I visualise the gym pools standing still at the moment by heart sinks. The jacuzzi bubbles are no more, empty of the life and laughter of customers nattering away. Some may feel this experience is a luxury but for me it was a place to relax, empty my mind and reappear feeling invigorated to move mountains! I used to literally bounce out of the gym feeling as if anything was possible so where do I go now? I am one of the shielded so I cannot go outside for exercise like most, I am not allowed to visit parks and all gyms are closed. I have taken to doorstep exercise practicing safe social distancing but I need water therapy.
‘You will never know how much I love you. But oh you had to go but I’m always thinking ‘bout you. If I could take your place I’d do it a thousand times, now there’s a U-shaped hole in my life,
And oh, I won’t be the same.You taught me to be brave. And although it wasn’t for long. You taught me what love is. No I won’t be the same, you taught me to be brave. And although it wasn’t for long, you taught me what love is’.
I woke up at 3.15am this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. After deciding to browse Twitter I came across a Tweet which mentioned a beautiful talented young lady on BGT, I decided to download the track and listen…
Within the first few lines, the sound of Beth’s voice and oh the beloved guitar 🎸, I was in floods of tears. You came to life all over again in the depth of Beth’s beautiful song which is an original. It was as if you my Clinic Dancing Partner was here with me once more, smiling, laughing and living your best life, all over again. Beth reminded me of the moments when you would instinctively pick up your guitar and begin to strum when you felt inspired, it never annoyed me, in fact I was always mesmerised by it. Whatever I was doing, wherever I was, I would stop and listen to you sing and play. This morning Beth resurrected those feelings which reminded me that you are never far away. Earlier on in the evening I watched the film ‘Crazy Rich Asians’. Much of it reminded me of you, especially the tranquility of the wedding water, the love and the beautiful Lotus flowers- the same flower which you handed me during a hypnosis session earlier this year. Could this be the meaning of the message, your presentation of the white lotus, was I meant to watch this film and hear Beth’s song because you know how much it would mean to me? I will never truly know. As we go through this difficult period of the Covid-19 pandemic, the world is at its mercy and on its knees, I miss you. Very often I envisage your thoughts and how I believe you would of interpreted all that is happening. It would have been a real topic of daily discussions, you were fascinated by life itself and all that it had to give. You were a beautiful soul whom I miss with all my heart.
This morning at 3.15am, Beth Porch, the beautiful Paediatric Nurse not only started to raise funds for the NHS but she brought you back to life for me and reminded me that ‘you taught me what love is’…❤️
Thank you Beth Porch and all the best, thank you for everything you do for us as patients in the wonderful NHS ☺️ ❤️🎸😘
We are fast approaching the end of week 1 of the UK govt lockdown. The advice remains:wash your hands with soap & water, stay indoors unless you need to go out for essentials- food, daily exercise (once a day) & medication, stay TWO metres apart from others and under no circumstances should we congregate anywhere! This is to help reduce the spread and protect the NHS staff & resources which at present, is overly stretched.
So where is the UK population now?Mostly adhering to the advice which is good to see. Long may this continue. Our NHS & other essential workers are out in the world, the supermarket employees, transport, deliveries, pharmacists, emergency services, charities, volunteers-day in, day out helping to keep the country ticking over. The least we can do is to listen to the advice and protect them as they work to look after US. Please listen if you wish to stay alive and that of your loved ones…
What of the people living with long term conditions and Cancer?Earlier in the pandemic, the UK govt pledged that life saving treatment would continue. As we have moved along the scientific curve of COVID-19, this message is continuously under review. Treatment is now dependent on a number of factors and will be determined between the patient and their consultants. I sincerely hope that we can all get some kind of support whilst we continue to walk in the path of Cancer whilst having to now dodge a ‘new normal’ of the COVID-19 ball! A new invisible co-morbidity. Most of us have been here before, that thing called social isolation, some of us are still present but now we have most of the world sitting alongside us. I have noted people not being able to cope with staying indoors together with the necessity of staying away from their friends and loved ones – this is an experience people living with Cancer do, have done and continue to do- day in, day out. This is by no means a critique of anyone, let me be absolutely clear on this, it is a social observation (the psychosocial in me). Perhaps this is where our community of Cancer self help resources can tap in and support people around us who are afraid and under strain with the lockdown. We can because we know, we can because we have, we can because we felt and continue to feel, we can because we know that smell of fear.
‘And when the broken hearted people Living in the world agree, There will be an answer, let it be. For though they may be parted there is Still a chance that they will see There will be an answer, let it be Let it be, let it be. Yeah There will be an answer, let it be’
There is no song which you are truly worthy of, no love you should be attached to. You have arrived and destroyed lives…
I seriously do not know which I fear more, the Cancer I live with or Corona! This moment feels surreal. At times I find myself asking, ‘Is this real? Am I dreaming or am I dead?’ I just cannot get my head around it. I have watched many apocalyptic films in my lifetime and always found them fascinating but not now. Now it is no Hollywood film set, real lives are at stake and people have sadly lost their lives. They have gone far too soon, may they rest in peace.
I keep wondering what my ‘Clinic Dancing Partner’ would of made of this had he been alive. One thing is for certain, Corona Covid-19 would have been the topic of the day, as he was intrigued by human behaviour. When I feel anxious about the situation I just think of him calming the atmosphere with words of wisdom. I see him approaching me with the beautiful white Lotus flower I recently saw him present to me in my Mindfulness therapy. Was this the message he brought to me? Was this his way of calming the path before the storm? I may never know the answer to this but it gives me a real sense of inner peace when needed 💕🦋