Having decided to take a month out from Chemotherapy to recover somewhat before embarking on the next round, it’s interesting to discover my body is throwing everything it has at recovery. All the effects of Chemotherapy, both physical and mental, have increased in what I can only describe as a mass cleansing of my system by my system. That’s both how it feels and how I interpret what is going on in my mind and body. I have no sense of deteriorating, rather an intense sense of rejuvenation, as with the common cold my nose is constantly running, which is one of the ways the body gets rid of toxins.
I’ve said before that throughout my life I have enjoyed good physical health and have taken for granted my bodies immune system and its ability to recover from illness and harm, like cuts and broken bones. It’s an autonomous system requiring no conscious input from me, other than to take periodic medication thanks to advancements in medical science to aid my body’s natural system of recovery.
I don’t begin to understand cancer, other than as a rogue bodily invasion by something that my body’s natural immune and recovery system is unable to handle on its own. As brutal as Chemotherapy is, it would be a mistake to think that my natural processes of recovery are not working, even though Chemotherapy reduces my natural immune system, meaning that for a period of time I need to be careful about infections of all kinds. Yet even under all these multiple attacks from both disease and treatment, my body is still doing what it does best and as nature designed it to do, working for my good health.
How do I feel? I feel as if I am rising, even though the effects I am feeling are difficult and intense, the sense of lifting is impossible to ignore. Coupled with the knowledge of my body’s ability to restore itself, I see no reason to feel pessimistic about what’s happening, even if it ain’t a barrel of laughs; nor is the coughing, sniffling, sweating, dribbling effects of the common cold as the body throws everything it has at defeating the invader.
I am just a week into the break I have chosen to take and it feels that it was exactly the right thing to do and the right choice. There is no question that I needed the Chemotherapy as the cancer delivered me to deaths door and damned near won, but the effects of Chemo took me to the end of my resources and I had nothing left with which to take on the next round without a break.
I have spent my life studying the human condition, which remains an endless source of fascination to me, driven by a lifelong battle with depression which, over many long years, I came to see as a friend and sound advisor on the vicissitudes of life and the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.
Inside me there is a deep and profound love of life and I have crawled on my hands and knees out of despair and mental torment, because, somehow, there was always something else. A sense that we naturally yearn for wholeness and all that is wholesome. Much of pain and sorrow is the mind yearning for release from it. Even in the darkest places, somehow the yearning for the light grows stronger, which, in the curious way of things, makes the suffering more intense. It’s a paradox, yet paradox is something we are eminently well made for and capable of dealing with. Every suicide is a tragedy because when someone passes beyond their ability to cope the suffering is so extreme they have lost sight of the light they yearn for and they despair of life. I’ve been to that place and thankfully survived to learn from it.
If I compare human kind with artificial intelligence, it is clear that AI doesn’t do paradox, and, so far as a Turing test goes, I would ask, “do you understand compassion and are you capable of expressing it?” And, “Do you have imagination and do you dream?” And, “Do you understand suffering?”
We are more than the sum of our parts, in fact we are each Tardis like in containing far more than we ever express, our thoughts, feelings and ideas have no end and yet we place necessary limits on our expression of them. Is a computer capable of thinking, “I shall not give up!”, when it comes under attack from a virus? Yet we are naturally equipped to think such thoughts when we’re down and feeling bloody awful.
Life itself is the highest expression of nature. If we ever wonder about miracles, check out life, it’s amazing and the greatest miracle we’ll ever encounter!
The history of human existence is a mixture of intense dark and intense light. The good, the bad, the best and worst. Does anyone understand it? Even a little bit?
Life is the greatest challenge any one of us faces and I shall end this here with my blessing – Wherever your journey takes you, may you succeed on the road.
Love and peace.
Keith Lindsay-Cameron. 04 December 2020.