Sunday, 25 April 2021

My Anniversary

This is a special day. And one that I truly never thought I would see. Ten years ago today I was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer. I remember the events vividly. How could I forget that awful night on a trolley in Casualty? The doctor grimly closing the curtains around my bed? And then those life-changing words? I shrank into the bed feeling sure that my life was at an end.

So much has happened since that day. And readers of this blog have learnt all about the many twists and turns of my journey. The two metastatic recurrences, the four major operations, the many weeks in hospital and the two occasions upon which I was told that I wasn’t expected to survive for very long.

But I am still here. Alive and very much kicking. I’ve come through a great ordeal. I’ve found a well of resources that I never knew I had. And I’ve gained the partner who I was always looking for. Someone who has stood beside me on every step of the way. It has certainly been a sea change in my life.

I am now a stronger and more resilient person than I was ten years ago. But that does not happen by default; these qualities are not just gifted to you. I had to find my way through the ordeal to gain these benefits. They are burnished by fire. And they are all the more powerful for it.  For I know that I can rely on them in any circumstance.

I am also now a better person than I was ten years ago. I’m clearer about who I am and how I want to live my life. I’m more open and honest; I’m more aware of my own limitations. I also feel that I have become more understanding of others. Most people are trying their best in their difficult circumstances. But I am less willing to suffer fools. Life is far too short.

So where do I go from here? Well, I travel hopefully. And try to make the best of things. I don’t think in the long term. In a month’s time I will have my next cancer surveillance scan. And all being well, we will be going on holiday to Co Clare in the late summer. Apart from that, I’m pretty much living day by day. Today is bright and sunny. I’ll post this blog and go outside to work in the garden or in the garage. Tomorrow, if the weather is still good, I’ll go for a bike ride.


  1. Paul, congratulations on your anniversary, a special day. Thank you for your reflections on the last ten years and how your experiences have shaped you. Great writing, I felt every word.