Thursday, July 15, 2010


I saw my oncologist today and he is suggesting I start on zoledronic acid to help prevent bone density loss and  metastasis. Every time he suggests I start a new treatment, I feel a bit of panic. Aren't we done? Aren't I better? Everyone keeps congratulating me on beating this. Haven't I?

I'm going to be on holiday for a couple of weeks so probably won't be posting much for a while. So when I was thinking about what I could post in the interim, I thought I might provide the inspiration for the naming of my blog. I considered something funny (there are some great cancer blogs with very funny names) but it didn't feel right (and I really value humour!). Instead I kept coming back to Gibran's poem on death. It resonated with me when I reread it after my diagnosis. I literally felt my heart opening up and much of my anxiety melting away. When I am weepy, or running the risk of feeling sorry for myself, I remember the words and feel the ground beneath my feet again.

Hope you are having a wonderful summer, full of sticky popsicle hands, stones for skipping, marshmallow roasts and bubbles. All my best.
Then Almitra spoke, saying, "We would ask now of Death."
And he said:
You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

Khalil Gibran, On Death, from The Prophet

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