I’m a positive realist

  And sometimes a grumpy, difficult and demanding so and so, an irrational, self-centered knowitall however having got my worst attributes out of the way let’s look at my best one!


This in itself is a true blessing and in part I put my longetivity down to it. It means that I can honestly contemplate my future, my own demise without being thrown into a downward spiral. I don’t expect, wait or look for miracles, I count living up to now as nothing short of a miracle. Miracles is where Never Never Land is to be found, or The Land of Make Believe. For me reality has always been enough and I count my continued good health in part on my ability to focus on and indeed count the positives of my own situation:

  • To make plans for the future although I may not be able to stick to them
  • To accept invitations with the proviso that I may have to cancel
  • To be amazed and thankful for my good health
  • To count the things I can do rather than those which I can’t
  • To try to be content with simple things, the most important is a peaceful and loving family (I hear sniggering and a lot of ‘Yeah right!’ In the background)
  • To have fun
  • To swim as often as possible
  • To eat and drink whatever I want, when I want
  • Not to define myself as a cancer patient

I do try to do all of the above but like everybody I can be a miserable bitch but only of course with my nearest and dearest! Sometimes it’s hard to wake up everyday feeling the joys of spring but isn’t that also true for most of us? And shouldn’t we always count what we have rather than what we lack? These go for most of us and are rather trite truisms. However I think where I differ from some of the people I’ve met on the same path as me is that I can look Cancer in the eye and really face and accept what I see there. I think this is a huge psychological support not only for me but also for my family and friends. I never envy people their better health, I never wish I lived a different life, I never want to be in anyone else’s shoes. I like my own very much!

Three years ago I couldn’t sit down, literally, I could barely stand up without support so we found a way of opening up the back of the car and I was transported here and there horizontally. Sometimes it’s magic to see the world from a different perspective.

When I had a hip replacement five years ago and couldn’t walk unaided I used my zimmer frame to get in and out of the sea. Being realistic and accepting does not mean giving up! Far from it, perhaps it means that you are able to deal with and adapt to your new reality more easily and instead of focusing on what you have lost, what you can’t do, instead focus on what you have and what you can do.

During my last course of radiotherapy one of the technicians asked me whether I had sought permission to go swimming. I was absolutely astounded that anyone should think that at this moment in my life I should seek permission to do something which I love so much.I’ve swum in the sea from my first chemo on, I’ve been in the sun during radiotherapy, I’ve ignored advice about eating meat, dairy, soya, drinking alcohol and many many other things …

The bald snorkeler

If I had not done all of the things I’ve been told not to do then where would the fun in living be and why would I want to continue doing it. While life is this good I fully intend to continue to disobey and enjoy every minute for a little longer.

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    1. What wonderful words – honest and true. Reminds me of The Bright Field by R S Thomas … who could also be a bit grumpy!

  1. Loving the bullet points and your positive attitude. Great medicine for all of us, plus swimming, of course. “I never envy anyone else’s health or situation.” What a wonderful attitude – thank you so much, so helpful. Xxxxx

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