Sunday 17 April 2022

Still Here!

I am going through quite a journey. 

There are not many absolute certainties in life, though one of them is that life will one day end. It hits hard when one learns that the end is suddenly going to be rather sooner that one might have expected.

Since my last post here, around two weeks ago, I have undergone numerous tests and procedures, and I am roughly half way through a course of intensive radiotherapy.  The aim of the therapy is to shrink the tumour that is blocking my throat. Progress is slow, and I am still unable to swallow. I am receiving nutrition, fluids and most mediation via pumps through a tube directly into my stomach. None of this is pleasant, so I will dwell on it no further.

The hospital I am in is Raigmore, Inverness. It was largely built about 50 years ago, and with some 450 beds, the hospital is the largest in the Highlands. In spite of media stories about the dire state of the NHS, I can only say that the quality of care that I am receiving is of the highest standard. I have my own private room, with my own loo, shower and lights. There is even a nice view to distant forests and mountains out of the window. I certainly feel confident that if anything is going to give me a longer go at this life, then the staff and facilities at this hospital are going to do it with me.

It is something of an understatement to say that my presence here is a life changing experience. In such a short space of time, my world has been turned inside out and upside down, and I have to come to terms with nothing ever being the same again. My cancer is incurable. My eventual demise is inevitable, but what is happening now is hopefully buying me some extra weeks, maybe months. Plans that Sue and I were forming to slow-down the cottage bookings and eventually close down our holiday business, have been brought forward. Sadly for many of our visitors, we have had to cancel bookings, though hopefully most will be able to rebook elsewhere fairly readily.

I understand that in my absence from Roskhill, the Potting Shed greenhouse is now complete. I look forward to seeing that as soon as I can! While I am here, my wonderful wife, Sue, and Cupar of course, are staying at our little Strathpeffer cottage, which is just 20 miles from here - what a good thing we bought that when we did! Sue is being magnificently supported by her sister, Helen, who has selflessly put her life on hold and has pledged to stay in Scotland with Sue 'as long as she is needed' - which is a further reassurance for me.

So, for today, and every day henceforth, my number 1 aim will be to remain determined and positive for the future. I will report back again as and when there is something to report!

Tuesday 5 April 2022

Thank you!

 It is so lovely to receive your kind and generous comments following on from my last post. They are all so unexpected and very much appreciated.

Monday 4 April 2022


Reflecting on things now, it is apparent that I have enjoyed a charmed life when it comes to being ill. Growing up in the 1950s, I succumbed to most of the then normal childhood diseases like measles and whooping cough - little heard of today. 

But in adult hood, other than a scattering of the colds that teachers are especially prone to catching, serious illness has almost never come my way.

Things have begun to fall apart rather badly now though.

I am slowly typing this post on my unfamiliar mobile phone while sitting in a hospital ward  awaiting the start of radiotherapy to attempt to slow the spread of an incurable and aggressive cancer in my throat.

I had always imagined that I would outlive my lovely Dad, who made it to 82. It seems l am going to miss that target by quite a margin with my life expectancy measured in months rather than years. 

It's a very scary time. I'll be having some chats with Sue. I will attempt to post updates as we plan our new way forward.