Tag Archive: living


Within the last couple of weeks, I have discovered something that I thought was true, but now I have experienced it, I know it to be true.
Six months ago I was diagnosed as having testicular cancer. Thankfully this was caught early and after having the offending anatomical item removed and analysed , I was told that I was in the 5% to 10% bracket of not having to do anything else.
Great news!
However, this was not to be true. Four months later I got the call that a CT scan showed that three lymph nodes in typical positions for the spread of this cancer were a little enlarged and I was going to have to go through a course of chemotherapy.

After following the sad demise of a friend who suffered from a far more aggressive form of cancer (Cholangiocarcinoma), and her experience of chemotherapy, I was more than a little anxious as to how bad this experience was going to be.
The course I was put on was a nine week course of three lots of three week cycles, back to back, with the chemotherapy drugs known as BEP. The first five days of each three week cycle was as an in-patient, then on day’s nine and sixteen I would go in for a top-up of one of the chemo drugs in particular.
After the first cycle I went home and felt a little under the weather, but to be honest it wasn’t anything more than the feeling of contracting a heavy cold for a few days. I was still able to function and think and do all the usual day-to-day tasks, just without the energy to do any physical activity.
Not too bad.
The second cycle was a little heavier, and so when I came home on day five I went straight to bed with a low level of energy, then was pretty incapable of anything useful for a couple of days after that. By day nine I was feeling a lot more alive and able to do most things slowly.

However, the ‘something I discovered’ that I speak of in the first line was learned after coming out of the third cycle (and I’m still in it at the moment – I’m typing this at day ten).
Until last night – day nine – my energy level has been so low that even sitting up was an immense effort. To walk would require something to hold onto every ten metres or so. Even just standing was so exhausting I couldn’t do it for any longer than a couple of minutes.
For a person who is used to leading an active life, I found this complete physical inability emotionally and spiritually draining. Being dragged down so low and not being able to do anything was quite possibly the worst experience of my life. It was like the essence of me had been removed… it was quite literally draining my life–force from me.

…and this is where the lesson was learned…

Something so important to my life… my feeling of purpose… my method of achieving self-worth and accomplishment… the ability to be physically active… having had it so completely removed allowed me to see that that ability is the very essence of what makes my life worth living. The loss of it is something that I NEVER want to experience again.

If life is most profoundly experienced by doing that which makes the spirit soar,
then death is to have that ability removed from ones being, and mere existence is all that is left.

For the rest of my life I vow to be active to whatever degree my body allows… because if I am not, then I am already dead!

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Increasingly, I find it frustrating when I hear of people saying with a resigned air:
I’d like to, but no, I don’t do that sport anymore [insert pursuit of choice…], ‘cause… well, you know what it’s like when you get married and have kids, get promoted at work, etc… you know… life gets in the way doesn’t it.

Yes, I DO know what it’s like, but I’ve never ever seen it as a reason to stop doing whatever it is I pursue at that time.
Surely that’s what life is about? About finding something of value that makes the hard work all worthwhile. Something that you can look forward to, even in the knowledge that it is going to be difficult to arrange things like babysitters, or transportation, finance, etc, …but also knowing that when you’re doing this thing that you love, that all the stress goes away. It’s a relief valve…
Equally, it eventually becomes something that you can look back upon through memories and friendships and laughs, when the body no longer allows you to carry on.
Surely life is about enjoying this chance we each have to make the experience of living worthwhile… and not only through our children.

Now, perhaps some people would say that I’m not the best of parent’s when I say that you should not fully sacrifice your passions so that you can give your children the best chance at pursuing theirs.
Partially, yes. But not fully.
After all, isn’t that the same as giving away a life to save a life? No net gain…? Surely better if you both have a passion to pursue…?

I actually feel that even though it is logistically a harder path, I feel that I am being a better parent by demonstrating to my children that I can have passions and interests of my own, as well as helping them find and develop theirs. I feel that I am setting a better example to follow, and a more useful one for them, for when they one day, find themselves in the same position with children of their own.

Is it not an almost equal waste of a life to live a life of living though others as opposed to living a life of not bothering with pursuing anything of interest…?
Perhaps a little bit of selfishness is a good thing.

12th September ’11 (taken from my personal journal)

I’ve been reading Paulo Coelho’s book ‘Veronika decides to die’ and I would hazard a guess that it is a pretty good take on what being ‘mad’ is.

Veronika is a perfectly sane young woman who believes that she has seen what life is about and has concluded that she doesn’t want to get old whilst following the same daily / weekly repeating patterns for the next, perhaps, 50 years. All she can see is a life of boredom whilst her body gradually declines into her old age. She thinks “What’s the point?” So she decides to do something about it. She decides to kill herself by taking an overdose of sleeping pills.
The next thing she knows, she wakes up in a mental asylum.
During the next few days (she is only given four or five days to live, so she considers it a successful suicide) she learns a lot from the other patients about what being ‘mad’ is, and also about where she was so, so wrong with her assessment of life. She learns that one need to be a bit mad in order to get something out of life. Up until this point she had lived her life by doing her utmost to fit in with everyone else, not realising that she never gave herself any time for what she wanted.

This is a great book that covers (for me) this important subject:
That in order to live life more fully, one must learn to put aside the feelings and opinions of others from time to time and do something a little mad, or crazy, or stupid, or any similar descriptive, because if one constantly lives a life to ensure that they ‘fit in’, that they ‘don’t rock the boat’; they will never ever discover what they are really like, or who they really are deep down inside their being.
Almost all of us are restricted by the opinions, voices and thoughts of others… but what about our own inner voices? What are they saying?… ha! perhaps that’s where the madness comes from… listening to the voices in our heads 🙂

We should all strive to be at least a little mad. It is the same as saying that one should not take life too seriously, but inject fun into everything that one can.
Examples:

  • If you work in an office, once in a while skip down the office with a ‘gay’ little skip. Yeah, of course you’ll feel daft, but what harm is there really? If there is someone just as daft as you, then that’ll help.
  • When listening to a powerful piece of music that would make you cry… allow the tears to flow… regardless of where you are… surrender your soul to the feeling… allow it to take over.
  • Dance on the beach.
  • Go skinny dipping – it’s very liberating!
  • Sing your favourite songs out loud… dance a little whilst you’re doing it
  • Sit on the roundabout, swings, fairground ride, etc with your kids instead of just watching them.

Play with everything in life… allow yourself to have fun!

Hmm…reading through the above, it seems that I may be going a little mad…
He he, it must be working!