You never know around which corner lies success

18 03 2013

DSCN0396Before we begin, I had better introduce myself lest you are drawn to think that Rebekah has taken on a somewhat masculine tone to her writing voice: I am Alistair, Rebekah’s husband and she has kindly asked me if I would like to do a guest blog spot – or whatever its called in blogging parlance.

I am delighted and honoured to contribute to Rebekah’s lovely blog. Reading her thoughts usually brings tears rolling down my face as she tells our story of living in Gladys fulltime and our cancer-healing journey. I don’t know why, perhaps it’s that she tells it in such a loving way or maybe its that for such a small person she is so much of a source of strength and inspiration to me.

I have long dreamed of living an alternative lifestyle. My daydreams have often wandered to times gone by perhaps in previous lives, of simpler times. I would have long ago built a Hobbit house in the forest if I had the money to buy a bit of woodland.  I have wanted to get away from Banks, Mortgages, Politicians and bullshit for a long time.

The Dalai Lama  (or Dal as I call him) says that people who lead the simplest lives are often happier and more contented than those that lead the far more complex, stressful, fear-filled existence we seem to have inherited in these last two centuries. However, I hadn’t planned or dreamt of a life with cancer.

To be honest, I saw myself as more of a heart attack kind of person; cancer just wasn’t on my radar. So when I was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer on my birthday December 2011, I thought fuck, this is really unfair, this wasn’t in the plan.

Its strange the thoughts I had initially; ‘why me, I’ve tried to be a good person, I’ve helped people all my adult life?’ As though only bad people got cancer. Then I found myself observing my reactions as though I was looking on as an impartial observer would. I knew from this vantage point that I couldn’t, mustn’t let the voice of irrational self-pity take over. I knew that I had to take charge of this situation. I knew absolutely that life had dealt me these cards for a reason and I had to play out my hand as best I could. There was no room for the ‘poor me’s’. I knew also that everything I had learned as a Nurse and as a Counsellor and all the strength I had gained over my then 55 years of life were for this moment; to deal with this cancer.

So, when Rebekah and I left the death Doctor’s office I said to her that I wasn’t going to be a victim to this and I wasn’t going to let the medical profession take over and run the show; that somehow I had to figure out how to fight this thing. God bless her, Rebekah said that she was my wife and that she would support me 100% in whatever we had to do and you know, she hasn’t failed me for one moment in her commitment to do that since the life-changing day in 2011.

Since we changed our lives around, sold up, moved into Gladys, put Kirt and Candace out of house and home, became vegetarians and generally started to become knowledgeable in healthy living and holistic cancer treatments, well, I have felt better than I have felt in many years; until the beginning of this year that is.

I don’t know quite what has happened but my prostate has closed in around my urethra. In short, I can’t pee other than a few squirts so my bladder has began to fill up and stretch to ominous levels.
The prostate gland is like a walnut that surrounds the pee tube and it often get larger in older men and causes constriction and sometimes urinary retention. It also enlarges due to prostate cancer. This enlargement can result in emergency admission to hospital to clear a way through the restricted urethra.

Lucky for me perhaps, I had been self catheterising once a week to keep a previously operated on urethral stricture open so I have had to kind of nurse my way through this situation by self catheterising about 3 or 4 times a day whilst waiting for an appointment with our intrepid NHS. Finally, the appointment arrived last Monday at the UCH but as Rebekah has previously blogged, there is a 5 or 6 months waiting list to get this fixed.

Right now my spirits are ok but I confess I took a down turn for a day or two after the UCH experience. I feel in pain in my back and side. The constriction is messing around with the normal smooth flowing of the organs down in the area of the prostates like the kidneys, bladder, and bowels. I am quite tired as my sleep is affected. It looks likely that I will have to take Hormones to reduce the size of the prostate cancer and I have found that Barts can do an operation to put a metal stent into my Urethra to open things up again. I can see a way forward but some  treatments that I didn’t want to do I may have to in order to make some progress.

Well, without wishing to sound like some sort of Pollyanna, there are surely worse things happening to people in the world than the problems I have and of course I must remember that the road is never smooth and straight. It seems to be a fact of living, like some novel or film script, the hero never gets the desired outcome without encountering several setbacks and disappointments. There are always hurdles to jump or pull yourself over, compromises to make and more than a few minefields to negotiate. Oh and we haven’t had the car chase yet.

I draw a lot of strength from my Grandfather. I always thought that my Grandfather must have been a really brave man. He fought in the early part of the Second World War in the 51st Highland Division. My Grandfather was my hero

The soldiers of the 51st were ordered to hold the retreat at Dunkirk to allow all the other soldiers to escape on the little boats. They had to fight back the Germans while the evacuation was completed. When all the little boats had left Dunkirk the Highlanders and others were left behind. Their forces decimated, run out of food and ammunition and cornered by Rommel’s Tanks the soldiers surrendered. It was then that their ordeal really began. They were marched without food and with extreme brutal treatment from the Germans, through France, Belgium and Germany to terrible POW camps and forced labour. Somehow my Grandfather made it through all that and survived the war. I have often wondered what kind of man I would have been under those circumstances; would I have fought to survive or given up and died?

Now my situations is not the same, far from it, but I have called on my Grandfather’s courage and his ability to keep going, to never give up, because whatever is going on now in ones life, we never know when success is just around the corner.

It’s been nice talking to you all and Rebekah will be back on the next blog to keep you up to speed on our adventures.
May the force be with you.
Love and light
Alistair

reb&al

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