The cancer Diaries – 2,4,16

Well, it had to be April Fools day that I’d be told some potentially devastating news. After my visit to St Jocks today I found out that I’d need more chemo therapy – this chemo therapy will be the gateway to the stem cell treatment, which, they hope, will finally cure the cancer. The only problem is if, like the last bout, I don’t respond in a positive manner, I won’t be able to have the stem cell treatment and that means Goodnight Vienna. It could be Six months,a Year, Five Years – who knows. It’s like, I’ve got a boat and I’ve got a paddle but it’s a case of are they strong enough to withstand the White water rapids that are staring me in the face. Or, I could say that it’s like Scotland being 3-2 up in the World Cup Final with Five minutes to go and they’ve used their Three subs and they’ve had their best Two players sent off and the team they’re playing are like Brazil from 1970, plus Maradonna, Zidane, George Best and Johan Cruyff – and they’ve just been awarded a free kick in a great position. You could argue, quite rightly, that Scotland would never be in the World Cup Final, let alone be 3-2 up against that team, but a Fitba’ lover would see the predicament I’m in. My heart is the problem – if it holds up to the chemo I’ll be able to get the ‘Boys from Brazil’ stem cell stuff. It’s all very touch and go and in the hands of the fates. Just my luck that I’ll be hairless for France – the holiday will be in the middle of my chemo but it won’t be affected by it. Being over Two Stones heavier than I was when I started the last bout of treatment can only be a good thing and I shouldn’t look as emaciated this time. It’s a very sobering thing, to be told if plan B doesn’t work, there’s no plan C. I thought today about how a week tomorrow could be my last Birthday, then I thought about before Davy and I popped up, Linda and Chris had lost Two wee brothers in a week – Bunty had a stillborn and less than a week later Andrew was killed while playing down at the Bing not long, I think, before his Eighth birthday – Linda and Chris would know for sure. It’s funny, but, I was a walk with Davy and Maisie and Molly the Dugs a couple of weeks ago down near the bit where Andrew was killed [ I played and ran about on the same part of the siding as the accident] and they’d literally opened the new road Five minutes before. It turns off to the left just before what used to be the Level Crossing – where the wee pug Train Engine used to cross over from the Pumphy works to the wee siding which ran part of the way alongside the sadly long gone ‘Hairy Tip’. The road builders who were there adding the last wee touches told us that they had come across huge Railway sleepers and bits of Railway while they were making that part of the road. I remember walking down that same way with Allan[ who used to be my uncle Allan until he said one day about Ten years ago ‘Colin, son, caw me Allan’ – and I did. From that day on whenever I mentioned ‘Allan’ people would say ‘Allan’ who ? – the same people, who for the previous Forty years knew who I was talking about when I said ‘Uncle Allan’ or ‘ma Uncle Allan’. Anyway, Allan [ma Uncle Allan] and I used to go an occasional walk down that way and anytime we approached what was the old Level crossing, he would point over to the side of what was left of the Bing and say ‘that’s where yer brother was killed’ and for the next few steps, until we passed the point, he would say nothing, then after a few seconds he would snap out of his wee state of mind and show me a Bees nest or where he saw a Fox last week. He always looked out for Skylarks – they were numerous in Pumphy at one time but he hadn’t seen any for years ‘it’s that bloody New Toons fawt’ he would say. Then , I thought, Andrew only had Seven Birthdays – I’ve had Fifty Two – I’ve been lucky in that respect. So, it’s chemo Three times a week, every Three weeks for a couple of Months at least and hoping for the best.

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