What astounds me more and more is that no one knows what reality is and by that I mean a reality distinct from our individual selves and our individual personal view.
This entire process of dealing with cancer has been an extraordinary experience, some of it not pleasant at all, but all of it astonishing. I’ve been led by the nose into a reality I had not the least idea about.
The nature of this reality is that it has happened without my choice or consent. It has usurped everything in my life, to the point of death and surviving it requires my surrender to a process of drugs that are hostile to my very being, but, by careful medical management, hostile to the cancer in particular.
I had a phone call from my Clinical Haematologist today and he asked how it was going and was the treatment working. Now, my reality is entirely taken up with the process the drugs take me through, requiring my most intense attention, lest I lose my way. His question is entirely about the physical cancer and I had to grope in my groin to discover that it is much reduced from the last time he asked. In fact I cannot feel it at all.
It is a very strange situation in which I am completely caught up in the intense subjective experience of the world according to chemo, he’s entirely about the physical objective reality of what the cancerous growth is doing in which my subjective reality is a side issue which he has little or no interest in.
My reason for keeping this blog is so that others, suddenly plunged into this world of cancer, can at least have access to one guys journey, in which, I hope, the intimacy and intensity of my personal journey will be of some use in facing such an intense reality that takes over from pretty much everything we’ve heretofore lived and known.
This is not the only site out there dealing with cancer (in fact this is a site about kindness, not cancer), but I sincerely hope that as an addition to all that is out there, it is helpful, not least in recognising, being with and dealing with some pretty intense difficult stuff.
I think it is very easy for us, in the UK in particular, to do ourselves down and to think of ourselves as failures. It’s part of our national conditioning (being so damned English), that we do not easily or knowingly love ourselves through the hard times and feeling low and miserable. Yet dismal days are a reality and how we weather them and deal with them is crucial to our well being. Learning to rest and sleep has been a big one for me, to accept that there’s nothing I can do to improve my mood other than to give my body rest and the time to sort itself out. Which, I have to say, it does remarkably well.
There is another part to writing this blog and many other posts and notes, the discovery that this is a two way process. This became apparent when I was doing a Letter a Day to Number 10. People would comment that I had expressed how they were feeling or expressed something they had not felt able to express, so I have found many friends and companions on this journey which is utterly joyous.
I guess I can sum it up by saying we are not alone, yet that is something that is a plague on life, the isolation in our own small worlds and realities, and the release and the breath of fresh air when we discover that others are experiencing the same or similar in their own lives. From that a thing of beauty emerges which I personally experience as profound joy, a shared love, care, concern, kindness, and being vulnerable and discovering that being vulnerable is one of the strongest places we can be. Instead of being shamed we become strong, the meek, as the saying goes, inherit the Earth, in a world that’s heading for destruction because people have forgotten how to be human, real, vulnerable and present to themselves and others.
If there is a solution for the worlds troubles, being more human and more alive is surely a major part of the answer. Instead of saying, “Who gives a shit?”, to stand and say, “I give a shit!” is a place of great strength impervious to mockery, because we own it for ourselves and know it in our hearts and discover what we hold as true and for which we stand. And then discover, we can stand together.
Love, peace and kindness.
KOG. 04 September 2020.