What to do when out of the river

It is easy to start things when out of the river. But how to continue while wondering or wandering … Maybe that is what makes us hold back from starting..

I have started (in the last few months) studying a History of European painting (and absolutely loving it) and have been doing my best to continue to learn Sanskrit – If it is hard to find the time now imagine tryin to find the time while canoeing

Don’t fight the current.

“If the boat they we’re all riding in was plunging over the falls upside down, there was nothing to do but fall with it. Tengo could struggle all he wanted to at this point, and it would do nothing to change the flow of the river” – Murakami 1Q84

I haven’t posted in such a long time. Was reading Murakami a good bit this year. Love the lines quoted above for some reason. I suppose it is because he describes the futility of struggling.

Enjoying being well while it lasts. Resolving to write more. Determined to enjoy life. As always – Drink the best wine first

Qualities rediscovered

Reflecting back on the last few years I am discovering self qualities or characteristics that I was unaware of. Do any of us really know ourselves?
I remember having a conversation with my GP a while back. I was feeling a little sorry for myself as can happen. She looked through my medical records and then looked at me and said. Tom look at what you have come through, and how you always come back. She pointed out to me my resilience and I am very grateful to her for that.
I had a psychotherapy session just a few days ago. This lady is really good and she talks to cancer patients to help them get through the voyage. That’s her job. She listens and she mirrors. We discuss lots of things, life, philosophy, poetry whatever. And sometimes we discuss cancer. But it is good that we talk about lots of subjects. She showed me how deep I was and how I have always been. I had forgotten. I had been told that by people throughout my life but never really accepted it.
I have often wondered have I got through the ‘horrors’ and ‘rapids’ of chemotherapy but those two ladies have helped me realise that resilience and depth were important tools.
We all have those qualities, we need to cultivate depth we need to believe in ourselves, we need to make efforts to understand ourselves and our minds.
“An unexamined life is not worth living” – Socrates

Witnessing Life

As usual I will start by remarking on how long it is since I last posted … I have an urge to express myself in writing (always but particularly tonight) – Have a blogging colleague (for want of a better term) Linnea https://outlivinglungcancer.com/author/linnea11/ who shares a similar journey to mine and blogs frequently and elegantly and is inspiring so here goes ….

This is not so much a ‘cancer’ blog but more a reflection on life (however it is also informed by my cancer experiences). I went to ARC Cancer support today to see Suzy (a psycho-oncologist) – Told her things I don’t think I ever told anyone before – Nothing secret just how I met Sylvie (my wife, partner, better-half and whatever you’re having yourself) and re-met her and my adventures in Morocco and Paris and fate (or was it) – Did I ‘engineer’ it all? – Funny how things work out. It was good to remember those things and helpful to me in understanding myself. We went further back to my earlier days and things start to make sense. …

Anyway, I also talked about my sense of being a witness in the world – Just Watching, Observing, Seeing – In essence in so far as I can, just enjoying life, experiencing it, marveling at it all.

Some mornings it can be hard to get up but it is always worth it – Never know what is going to happen. See a flower, remember talking to a park keeper in passing – He told me what he was doing (planting Fritilerria bulbs) months ago. They are flowering now and gorgeous but one needs to be observing to see them they are so small. Not a major event but isn’t that why we are here – To be part of the ‘Creation’, to Witness it, To Live

As always please enjoy your life – Don’t take it TOO seriously but seriously enough (quand meme). Drink the best wine first (priorities) and if going to cinema go and see western ‘The Sisters Brothers’ – a great western ……

Cancer still fucks – (Let’s fuck it back a little)

Three month’s since I last posted – That’s way too long! This blog is supposed to be one of my attempts at creativity – Helping me on the river and being therapeutic – It has been and is all of those things – So why so long to post? Well here goes

Have been looking back at the posts I did in the past – One that stands out for me is “cancer fucks’ – It was fucking with me at the time – psychologically – And it is fucking with a good friends mum at this very moment – physically – The ’emperor of maladies’ is ruthless. I so feel for my friend. Please excuse the language but we are all adults here!

I bumped into her at the Paul Simon gig in July. She was with her sister – Their dad was supposed to be with them but cancer was fucking with their mum. Because of that it was also fucking up their lives. I usually write of cancer personally but in reality it is not only the diagnosed who suffer – All around them suffer – We didn’t exactly laugh at cancer but we did dance and sing our hearts out. Paul Simon can help transcend the horrible if only for a few hours – Thanks Paul and thanks to James Taylor who played earlier. Indeed – ‘you’ve got a friend’

For myself cancer still fucks with me – Even six years in – Everyday day I wonder when will I need to get the wetsuit on and get back in the canoe – Not soon it seems – Scan result a couple of weeks ago – All good – A huge smile and hug from my oncologist – She tells me I’m her best patient (am sure that is relatively speaking) – If I can keep an oncologist smiling I must be doing something right. I may regret saying so but maybe it is time that somebody fucked with cancer.

So much to enjoy before next scan – Theatre (a female Hamlet and some Beckett) – Music (David Byrne, Steve Miller, Van Morrison Robert Plant, John Fogarty, Madeleine Peyroux, Johnny Mary) – Two big birthday’s – Qi Qong retrea in west Cork – Wild food foraging – Maybe getting back into the Wicklow mountains – and red red wine – Life – Live it!