I had already decided a few days ago, what I was going to write about this week, but just before I started writing, I was told of the death of my friend Rory Morrison, who was a broadcaster on BBC Radio 4. Like a lot of people in my life now, cancer had brought us together.
We first met at an awards evening for The Lymphoma Association. I asked if I could have a picture taken for my blog, and we then started talking. We had so much in common, including, a rare aggressive lymphoma. I knew that Rory was facing some of the treatment that I had already encountered, including a stem-cell transplant and high dose chemo. We decided to stay in touch, and via social media, I shared numerous stages of treatment with Rory.
After his transplant Rory wanted to celebrate, and he recently bought a new car, and managed to get tickets for himself and his wife, to go and see the Wimbledon Men’s Tennis Final. He wanted a goal, something to look forward to as he recovered. He believed he would be better in time. It was his target and focus. Unfortunately he won’t be driving his car or watching tennis at Wimbledon, and our lives will be much poorer for his loss.
The above example is very similar to my own. Despite, what logic, doctors, experience and everyone else tells me, I have to believe that things will eventually improve, otherwise I would not want to get up in the morning! After 6 years of unrelenting health issues and treatment I still see a time when I will be back to normal. Maybe it is a form of ‘psychological block,’ where reality seems like a worse option, and I refuse to see it?
My self belief started when I was at school. I was told I would do nothing with my life, which of course was really the best thing I heard from my teachers. Forget all the rubbish they had taught me, that I never ever used again, they gave me determination! This served me well in my business and personal life, and created a fantastic platform, to ease my way into retirement.
Then along came, cancer. The most daunting challenge I will ever face, both physically and emotionally. Yet I still have that belief.Perhaps it comes, from many years of life being kind to me? I have seen some extremely dark times. Days where I never thought I would see tomorrow. My clinicians got me through those, but there are still days when the darkness returns.
Recently we have lost Sir Henry Cecil (horse trainer), Iain Banks (author) and now Rory Morrison (broadcaster).In the same period, I have also lost many #Twitter friends, all to cancer. These are constant reminders of my own fragility. When I go to hospital, I am aware,after talking to other patients, about the tightrope we are walking. We all share experiences, and are no longer surprised when one of our ‘regulars’ passes away.
Despite all of this, I am still managing to do some incredible things, and raise awareness of the massive psychological and emotional issues of cancer, both through my face to face, and social media work.My diary keeps getting filled with lovely opportunities, despite my wife’s hesitation!
Maybe she is right? Perhaps I should slow down my workload, and just get on with whatever life I have left.I know my doctors would see the sense in that. In fact most people would, but I am not really good at taking advice, as those of you who know me can testify. I think my fear is that if I have no obvious focal points in my life, I would stop believing. Instead of pushing forward, I would start to slip backwards.
Maybe it is the peripheral challenges that take my mind away from my biggest foe?
I would like to dedicate this post to Nikki, Honor and Reuben.