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Rock Maze
  • Writer's pictureNeil

So Here It Is

Having a life limiting illness provides you with lots of firsts and lasts. Although I usually make a supreme effort to appear positive it truly is sometimes a supreme effort. I interject into my life whatever I can to continue the illusion of business as usual but there’s no business as usual. Generally I bury the inevitable with keeping busy and projects. So you see the best of me. I keep the worst of me at home.

Let’s deal with my latest project.

I’ve dropped increasingly obscure hints and clues about what it could be but in case you’re still wondering...... it's a motorbike. The project started like this; my brother Colin came to visit. Before you cry foul, if you drill deep enough into the covid rules you find a few adjustments for people with terminal illness. Family are allowed to visit. Anyway, to continue, a few days later I found myself returning the visit. What you need to know is Colin is a collector of many things. One thing he collects are classic and vintage motorcycles. As we were talking, in his garage, I noticed a bike neither classic nor vintage languishing in the corner. It was a 20 year old Harley Davidson FXST Softail Classic. (Not a real classic) He'd acquired this bike some time ago but hadn’t ridden it for about 10 years. I simply asked if I could borrow it for the spring and hopefully summer. Without hesitation he thought it was a great idea. “Of course you can". He arranged for it to be delivered to my good friend and genius mechanic Paul who did everything necessary to get it through it’s MOT and safely back on the road.

My first and last Harley. I’ve got all the necessary kit but Colin still dropped in a genuine Harley Davidson leather jacket. I got myself a Harley Davidson helmet. And some not Harley Davidson gloves, boots and Kevlar lined cargo trousers. I realise this might be a case of all the gear, no idea.

I have the nagging question of will I be able to actually ride it? Well not today, that’s for sure. Maybe tomorrow. The effects of chemo zaps your strength, your grip (hands and reality) and sometimes makes you pretty wobbly so I have to choose my time carefully.

On the subject of chemo here’s the rub. The chemo is killing me! No, really, it is. Generally the horrible stuff called oxaliplatin can only be taken for so long before it begins to do irreversible damage to your nervous system and other functions. I know I’m nearing the end of this treatment which is the only one available to me that’s likely to have any significant impact on the development of my cancer. I’m in for my next dose on Monday and for the first time I’m having an extra week between treatments to help me recover a bit from the worst of the side effects. This will be the first time I’m having extra recovery time. From now onwards each treatment and it’s timing will be discussed with my consultant. I’m also expecting a date for a scan soon. The chances of a good result are minimal. My consultant didn't use the words “brace yourself" but that’s my interpretation of what was said.

Looking back there have been moments, turning points on my journey which takes me into the next stage. I’ve just had a moment. Clearly I’ve deteriorated in the last few months, walking is getting tougher, I’m not as strong as a was, I need much more rest and I have moments when the only place I need to be is in bed. I also have good days when I almost forget this all consuming story. That’s what the longer break will hopefully give me, a few more good days.

So a motorbike I may not be able to ride, a scan I don’t want to have, a result I don't want to hear and treatment that may soon need to be curtailed.

Brilliant, that’s just what I want!

Now let’s see is it 1 down 4 up? I think it might be.

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