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  • Glasgow's (13.1) Miles Better

    (Or 26.2 for the really keen)

    The route for the SHINE walk is now available and it looks good.

    The half marathon (which is roughly the same as the first half of the whole one) starts at the SECC and heads for Bellahouston Park, then it moves on to Glasgow Green before turning back towards the University of Glasgow where the routes divide.  Those of us doing the half, will follow the Kelvin Way back to the SECC whilst the full marathon lot head for the Botanics, Park Circus, Glasgow School of Art back to Bellahouston and finally back the SECC.  It sounds a lovely walk and being in the north of brtian, should be light, or at least not totally dark, for much of the half marathon.

    Target time of 4-5 hours means keeping up a good pace throughout but we won't rush!

    So for all those who want to cheer us on, this is nearly five months' warning to bag your space!

  • Half Way

    Today would be the halfway mark of my nuking if not for the fact that the nuking chamber is closed today.  According to one of the radiographers this is a coincidence, as it is due for routine maintenance, and she will be in work anyway.  One of the folk in my exercise class is being herceptin-ed today so clearly the chemo suites are open.  Apparently all the doctors get the Bank holiday so there are no clinics, admissions or nuke planning sessions.

    However, for my metaphor of crossing the river on stepping stones it is near enough half way to justify a pause to admire the view!  When I cross real rivers, by bridge, by stepping stones or, very occasionally, by wading (I've never swum across one) I usually stop in the middle to look up and down stream.  So today I am treating as that pause (albeit one step early!).

    So far the nuking effects have not been too bad.  Inevitable erythema, mild nausea that passes in a couple of hours and, until yesterday, no sign of fatigue or tiredness.  I was warned it could take a couple of weeks to begin and it has done.  Nothing major, as yet, just a sense that by tea time I'd done quite enough for one day.  Time will tell if it gets worse or if it is just evening weariness.

    And I can also look forward - only 13 more zaps to the other side, just three weeks to the end of active treatment, only twenty days to relative freedom.

    And today I am also half way to my £500 target for the SHINE Glasgow half marathon thanks to Ayrshire A&D.  I have three Gatherers set to walk with me, two women to raise money for breast cancer research and one man to raise money for research into childhood cancers.  Should you wish to sponsor me just click the big blue button at the top right of my blog and it will take you to my fundraising page.  You can donate anonymously or pseudonymously so it's ideal for anyone who prefers not to be public about this.

    And today as someone who is merely ambivalent about events in London, and who isn't able to get to Blackpool for an equal sized gathering, I will be out for the day with a couple of friends enjoying the fine weather and celebrating life.  Undoubtedly I'll catch the edited highlights (of both events) at some point but am happy to be doing what I'm doing, pausing before the final 'push' across the River of Radiation.

  • On Not Heading for Blackpool

    This week most of my Baptist blogger friends, being mostly in BUGB churches, are getting ready to head to Blackpool for the annual jamboree that is Baptist Assembly (in England).  This year I can't be there as I have to be here, partly in order to be nuked and partly because even if the nuking had been over with it would have been too much, too soon.  I will miss Assembly, being one of those odd people who loves it, but it is right to be here instead, and not just for personal, medical reasons.

    One of my best loved Gatherers, who happens to be one of my predecessors, is very ill in hospital, and I want to be close enough to visit him and to spend time with his family who are also part of our church.  It is a privilege to be allowed into anyone's life when they are so vulnerable; it is a special privilege when that person is a loved and respected former minister.

    This Sunday we have an infant blessing for a child who is almost three, a little older than the average.  A celebration that has been postponed more than once due to adverse circumstances.  This Sunday it will finally go ahead, even though not everyone the parents would love to share the event can make it.   It will be our second infant blessing since my diagnosis last August, and pretty neatly helps to 'book end' the treatment.  It has a feel of something 'right' about it at a personal and community level as well as being a delight to share with the family.  And no, before you ask, I won't be mentioning the 'book end' effect in the service; it's not about me.

    So, whilst I'd love to be heading to Blackpool to be inspired and infuriated, to meet up with other bloggers and old friends, I know beyond any doubt that I am in the right place being here in Glasgow.  I may get around to making a bingo card for those heading to the sea-side (I keep wanting to say south then realise it's north for most of them!) with BUGB cliches to check off, but if not I'm sure they can make their own.

    Oh, and if they sing that song think of me and smile!

    Next year I'll be back...

  • Old Soul

    I was chatting briefly to one of the radiotherapists this morning after being nuked - you have as long as it takes you to dress yourself in the nuking chamber whilst they clean down the 'couch' for the next patient (no gowns as they'd constitute low level radioactive waste even if they have no impact on the nuking itself).

    She was asking me what I was doing the rest of the day - home, change, work - and what that involved (they all know I'm a minister).

    It happens that this one is Asian (I'd guess first generation given her accent) and in her own words 'not religious'.  She asked me what I thought about Eastern views on 'life after life' commenting that she felt she had an 'old soul' and had several lives still ahead of her.  Whilst I cannot share her views on reincarnation (and said so) there was a common ground in believing that this life is not all there is. 

    When I was studying theology, and we learned about world faiths, the emphasis was heavily on dialogue - meeting points, learning with and from one another without denying or watering down differences.

    I am fascinated by this woman's sense that she has an 'old soul', which is probably as strong for her as my sense that 'we pass this way but once'.  Yet for each of us, with very different worldviews, was the sense that we make the most of the now with a hope (theological meaning) for the not yet.  Amazing what you can discuss in two minutes!

  • Normal Service?

    I'm not absolutely sure what 'normal' is meant to look like - there was the 'old normal' which was, as one might term it B.C. (before cancer), and the 'new normal' which has been the case these past few months, with daily posts on anything or nothing to demonstrate that I am still OK, D.T. (during treatment), perhaps?!  So now, as I move on to a 'new, new normal' in what I hope becomes perpeutual N.E.D. (no evidence of disease, official designation) it feels like it is time this blog began to move along too.

    For the time being at least, it will continue to carry its links to cancer websites - I cannot turn back time and not be a '1 in 3' or a '1 in 8' (or a '1 in 5' of a '1 in 5' of a '1 in 8' or whatever it actually works out as), so normal has to include some ongoing recognition of that.  There will also continue to be some posts relating directly to the zapping (No 10 of 25 this morning) and ongoing treatement/followup.  But inevitably, and rightly, the emphasis will shift.

    Over the last few weeks I have often found myself thinking 'well, what on earth can I write about today' as life has been very quiet, and the routine walk to the nuking chamber doesn't make very entertaining reading.  Just by way of mild amusement, this morning the muzak was 'I Want to Break Free' followed by 'Life is a Roller Coaster.'  Being fixed to a device that wouldn't look out of place in a medieval torture chamber, the former had a nice irony; the latter is a reflection of reality and, spookily, a reference I was contemplating using in this Sunday's sermon.

    So, what will 'normal service' look like?  Possibly less posts - that is, there may be days when I don't post as I have nothing to say, and there may be periods of blog-silence other than for holidays.  A lot more about church life, more bits of half-baked theology or things that amuse me.  And, in time, some more overtly reflective stuff about this whole long distance walk up a mountainn, through a forest, across a river, and how it has impacted my thinking, being, faithing (if there is such a word) and so on.

    It's great to be back at work - trying to be good and take things slowly - and normal service is being resumed, as much as possible.