Probably like most of you, less than a year ago, having cancer was the last thing on my mind. Life was pretty good and busy with work as it is for most people of my age. Yes that's right, people of my age. At only 30 years old, I am fighting bowel cancer. That doesn't happen to people of my age though...right?
A bit more pain and hanging around and being at the mercy of machines is doable. It's a bit like going on a long tour with a really shit band. The chemo I've done for the last two days is certainly not as bad as my worst hangover was back in the day, but it does feel like the most oppressive jetlag, the plane having flown in from Mars.
It's less than three weeks to go until the General Election. Whatever your political views I think we all agree that these are interesting times as we use our vote to influence what happens over the next five years. For bowel cancer, we see the new Parliament as an opportunity to say loud and clear that we must save and improve lives by setting out within that time frame the significant steps we need to take to beat bowel cancer.
Like no doubt others before and after her will make very personal and difficult choices, I get the impression Lynda Bellingham managed to make peace with cancer and herself. Perhaps we need peace to make truly positive life changing and life enhancing choices, especially when they are about our death.
How do I find the words to thank each and every one of you for reading Charley's final blog post and taking her to your hearts? Tell you all how much strength your messages have given me as I find myself in that very 'gaping, unjust, cruel and pointless hole' that Charley described in her piece? A cherished wife, loving mother, beloved daughter and dear friend has been torn from our lives. So I am now a widower at the young age of 38. I never expected this. And it's hurts so much. But my wife has taught me so much about courage and "framing rainbows" that I want to be brave and useful and do something to help others - as Charley did.
'But you look so well!' It was a shocked response I have become used too. If the illness of a person is judged on their appearance, then I generally haven't fitted the criteria. It doesn't matter that I have incurable cancer, to many people, there is almost a sense of disappointment that I don't look like I'm on my death bed.
Let's face it, men are rubbish at talking seriously about their health. Other than sporadically airing my own health-related neuroses, my own previous form on serious cancer talk is questionable. Other than a mere cursory chat to a friend about his mother's breast cancer diagnosis, it's probably zero.