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Mapping and Metaphors

When I do real life long distance footpaths, I buy OS maps, I buy the route map and I buy one or more guides.  This means I know how far apart the landmarks are, what I'm likely to encounter on the way and roughly how long each section might take.  My journey is uniquely mine, but it is well charted territory.  The metaphor doesn't work so neatly for life in general, or what I'm 'walking' in particular.  There is an itinerary and there are landmarks but no one can say with any precision how far apart they are or when I will reach them.  So the reality is that I develop my own map and, whilst some general features will be there for others to find, a guidebook based on my 'journey' is of no use to anyone but me.

It seems that the chemotherapy path *might* be a zig-zag hill climb, presumably getting steeper as it goes along, and with those horrid steep turns that only zig-zag paths can have.  The first dose left me lethargic for about five days after which I felt fine, not 100% maybe 98% and more aware of tiring, and with a couple of weeks of steady travel before the next bend.  I am taking life easy, but enjoying doing many of things I usually do.

Somewhere between the first and second bends is a stile, but no one can say quite where it lies.  Indeed for some people it lies after the second bend.  But I won't be some people.  No one can describe the stile either, for some it is tall and sudden, for others it is preceded by a marshy mire, and I'm not yet clear which it is, only that I am at it.  The stile of hair loss.

Today it begins and I have no way of knowing if it will be slow or fast, patchy or even, only that it will continue until it is complete.  Kind of weird knowing and not knowing.  I'm glad I put in place the necessary practical preparations even if I'm not so sure how to feel.

It's a bit like so much else in life that we know is on our own horizon - it is inevitable and we do what we can to prepare ourselves but no one has been here before, no one has mapped the territory and no one has a guidebook.  Ultimately we are all pioneers of a sort.


  • can't think of anything comforting, witty or meaningful to say to you - so I'll say something to God instead!

  • me too!
    With Love

  • Tennyson's phrase always helps me imagine what I do when I pray for you, and others:

    For so the whole round earth is every way
    Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.

    Grace and strength to you Catriona.

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