It feels like every time I make progress with my health a new illness suddenly pops up, like a game of Whack-A-Mole on a grand scale. Just as I got back to the gym after several months of illness, I woke up with vertigo and as with every new symptom recently my mind rushed to the possibility of cancer. I have been told my blood tests show I have cancer, but that they haven’t found its location, so that is now my mind’s diagnosis for every new symptom that arises until proved otherwise. This, in turn, leads to more feelings of disappointment and the tendency to want to quit than I would otherwise have.
The message I seem to be getting from Big Sue recently emphasises the need to continue in the face of obstacles, even when I can’t see the way ahead. The night of my birthday, Nick and I watched the film ‘Churchill’ at home. Churchill’s ability to lead and force through tough choices in the face of opposition set him apart as quite an extraordinary leader. Flawed, insensitive, giving the appearance of someone scatty, though this was more likely to be that he didn’t give attention to things that did not interest him, he seemed an unlikely choice for the person to lead a nation in an hour of crisis. I’m sure there must be many who hated him for the deaths of those he chose to sacrifice to save hundreds of thousands of others, but I had a deep respect for the man after watching the film. A quote impacted me so much that I had to pause the movie to take a photo of it:
Success is not final; failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts – Winston Churchill
After addressing the initial fear and panic on waking and finding ways to cope with my new kaleidoscope existence, with it’s practicalities of how to get to the loo without falling over or vomiting on the way, I contemplated my new state of being and wondered again whether it was really worth the effort of trying to stay alive. I felt Big Sue whispering in my heart ‘success is not final; failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts’ and argued back ‘I’m just not sure I can be arsed anymore’, and ‘if this is permanent, I want out – I’m done!’. My blood pressure was sky high, so I decided to fast to bring it down quickly, fasting for nearly four days in all. That helped a lot over the next few days, with a niggling pain I had in my wrists from inflammation, bringing my blood pressure back to normal and helping me come to a place of peace again. I meditated a lot too – it’s not like I could do much else at that point – other than listen to podcasts and audiobooks. The next day I listened to a Jocko Willink podcast where he read from a book called ‘The Soldier’s Journey.’ It couldn’t have come at a better time for me. It was about one man’s perseverance through incredible struggles as a Japanese prisoner of war. I resolved to get up and fight and not quit after hearing this moving account.