On Wednesday 3rd October I had a 45 minute hands-on Reiki Healing session during which the healer’s hand became hot over my bladder. I was most of the time on my back with the latter part on my front. It happened both sides. Afterwards the healer told me to see myself as free of cancer and utterly healthy. I’ve started a mantra: ‘I am fit and well thanks to Sue’.
My third all-day chemo treatment was Friday 5th October. No mishaps. I had an activity pack with me including pencils, pastels, my cuttings model file, and paper; ipod and earphones; laptop for work on my novella ‘Prison Island’ now at the rewrite and subbing stage; six wine glasses to paint with outliner (twenty paint pots were too complicated given the limited space); and the latest Linwood Barclay thriller. I found time for the glasses, music, and a chapter or so of the book. I was too happily engaged in thought and chatting with people including a young man Macmillan volunteer who has cancer of the lymph glands in his throat. Surgery is contra-indicated at present but he hopes for an op when the cancer is more developed. I also had a chat with a 22 year old medical student doing a module on oncology. I’ve emailed her my ‘Adventures’.
Despite the fact that I’m very sure I’ll be completely well again by next Spring, I do occasionally get thoughts about dying and death. I’ve been pondering on why I’m so calm about them. It’s not an act. I think it’s because of two near death experiences, the first of which was when I was in my early twenties – I was stuck on a cliff in Cornwall for two hours with insecure foot and hand holds. Below me was instant death on distant rocks. I couldn’t move. Eventually an Air-Sea Rescue helicopter winched me off. Throughout the two hours I was utterly calm. I had no choice. I guess panic comes when you’re wondering whether to do something like moving or jumping. I knew I’d do neither.
The second one was when I was in my early thirties when I had what some people are probably still calling ‘a nervous breakdown’, some might call a psychotic episode, but what I have learned from the East to see as ‘a kundalini awakening’. It features in my autobiography so I’ll just say it resulted in a more idealistic job, a spell as a Samaritan, and a move from Bournemouth to Yorkshire, where my family and I belong, all indicating an epiphany whose climax was my certainty that I was dying on the settee at home until the ambulance arrived and I was diagnosed with hyperventilation. I felt anxiety and reluctance to leave my vulnerable young family but again I was unafraid of dying or death … it was like the exercising of a vast muscle that I’d always known was there waiting. When death’s inevitable, it offers us peace.
Another event that has left me O.K. about dying was just a couple of years ago … again in my book. When I was seventeen, I had a girlfriend eleven years older than me and I lost touch with her when I left town. There was no contact between us. Then suddenly one day I found myself remembering her for no apparent reason . And then her face appeared in the sky as she was when I knew her and she was smiling down at me. She would have been in her late seventies. I knew that she had just died and that there was nothing to worry about … ‘See my easy smile’.
The other day I was buying some keep-fit equipment over the ‘phone. The supplier, a young woman who runs her own company, said
‘I can knock the vat off if you’ve got an illness of any kind. Can you come up with something?’
‘How about … bladder cancer?’ I replied.
‘Perfect’, she chirruped, with unquestioning delight.