Emotional Rapids – Part 2

I wrote a blog on emotional rapids almost two years. I really didn’t think it would would take so long to have a re-look at that aspect of the canoe trip. In  the previous blog the talk was about the sudden appearance of sadness and fear out of absolutely nowhere and the ‘raw-ness’ of these emotions. They are almost pure and are always powerful and somewhat overwhelming.

Going down a violently moving series of rapids (which is the only way I can describe my chemotherapy experiences to date) is bound to bring up emotions and this latest episode is probably just what should be expected. If I had to give any advice to fellow canoeists (and am addressing myself here also) or their close ones it would be  … Expect nothing, anticipate nothing but be prepared, Don’t get caught in it. If the emotions arise let them – They cannot be stopped, They must be acknowledged, They are valid and They will abate. They are transitory.

Anger at the whole trip, not the cancer, not the treatment but at the lonliness of it all. Have just today reached a slowly moving part of the river. I need the rest … there are more rapids up ahead. That’s the nature of the trip. Have heard news of the passing of a fellow canoeist and of another going into the river. I feel for them ……….. I wish them well

When the river gets rough

I usually try to stay calm, cool and collected when the river gets really rough. It is not always easy. Chemo on monday last – not too bad until this evening – Now have fallen into a rough rapid flow – Always happens – Sporadic episodes of irregular stomach spasms not unlike but not then very like hiccups. Have been there lots of times – after nearly every cycle – must be closing in on 20 cycles at this stage.

This stuff sucks the pleasure out of life – Horrible physically at the moment and then horrible psychologically for another few days.Then the inevitable intensive self care and recovery in time for next round

This is not me – this is a sheath – I am not cancer, cancer may be part of me but just a small part I need to get back to my essence – my calmer self

Horrific, Horible,Horrific …………….Horrible….Horrible

What choice do I have

‘I cant go on, I’ll go on” – Samuel Beckett

Losing fellow Canoers

When you are on fast parts of the canoe trip, when the current and flow are rapidly changing and intensifying, when the water is white and noisy, when you are in the zone and concentrating – At these times one is focussed on one’s task and doesnt see there are many more canoeists on the river. We canoeists only really notice each other on the quiet parts. At these times we can meet and recognise each others journeys, provide mutual support and encouragemnt, disclose tactical knowledge. It is a learned group. Experienced. Every individual on a canoe trip faces the fast parts alone and should enjoy the quiet parts in good company.

This is a dangerous river, there are always some who get lost, go down, drown. I have met and lost some very good and wise companions on my canoe trip to date.

Good Company just like the river is ever changing

Back in the canoe again

The ‘distant rumbling’ needs to be heeded always. I’ve said that before. Keep it in ‘half’consious. Be ‘Ready’ to move. Don’t get caught by surprise. Easy to say. The ‘rumbling’ continues and intensifies. I had to get back in the canoe and tighten things up. Current picked up slowly but steadily. Flowing fast for a while, easing now a bit. Another few of these ‘rapid’ coming up over the next while.

I never strayed too far away from the river ….

The rest, the meditaton, the philosophy, the reading, the poetry, the exercise, the travelling and even the boxsets – They are all part of the preparation and have earned their place in the kit bag. Tie it up. Going to be lonely for a while. Just keep it tight!

The next quiet stretch …………………………………………..