Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The Joy of Life

We had a much loved, and now much missed, temporary house guest recently. Answering to the name of Meg, she liked to go walking whatever the weather, especially when the leaves were blowing. Most of the time Meg displayed human qualities, and indeed thinks that she is – but once a rubber pig or chicken was introduced she became a wild thing, as much a wild thing a Springer Spaniel can be. For those that have never had one, Springers embody a lust for life that maybe we should take note of…

Meg loves rubber chickens and pigs. And Naomi's hand.

I know that walking helps the pain in my hips and back, a result of the cancer’s spread to my bones; It doesn’t care where it goes, just as long as it can get somewhere, anywhere. Radiotherapy at different times has helped me regain back mobility – there have been moments when I couldn’t even get out of the car, wincing in pain; A far cry from the man that would walk happily in the Lakes for ten to twelve miles a day.

I can walk now, which is a blessing, a fact that I thank God and my doctor for. But there are days where I’m just happy to sit on the couch, feeling lethargic, devoid of energy. All symptoms that cancer sufferers are so familiar with, and I count myself lucky that the side effects of Tarceva are ‘relatively’ slight.

But Meg indicated that sitting on the couch just isn’t allowed, that whatever the weather we must get out to enjoy the world, to take part whilst we still can. That even if the weather is cloudy and grey, like my spirit sometimes, that to see the world for all its beauty is to understand that life must be lived. So as we kicked leaves and walked amongst the swaying, dancing trees, looking down on the valleys of Dorset stretching to the sea I felt happiness in my heart. From the hill-tops to the sea, in the clouds, in the sun, we walked – Meg and I.

Meg, contented after a hard day chasing leaves

 She has now gone home to her owner and I’ve gone back to being inside too much, but I try to remember the joy we both felt from the world out there. For to be in it is to experience the reason we’re here: Not things, objects, or possessions – for the beauty of life, however it may reach out and touch our hearts, is to be rich indeed.


  1. Beautiful and so true - our dog is now very old and we miss the seven mile walks that got us all outside each day. But he still wants to walk to end the of the road and back and even that little jaunt puts energy into his step and mine - even at 10 degrees F! Love and hugs.

  2. Very touching to read John. A springer came past our place last week and it made me think of you. Wonder whether that chicken on Dartmoor is still quite so cocky? Love to you both from us down under. Rachel Scoggx

  3. Hello Jonathan, I fear we may be treading the same path in some ways. I was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year and my consultant is considering Tarceva when I see him after my January scan. I've subscribed to your blog. If you'd like to stay in touch my website is at and my blog and My best wishes to you... Steve