Monday, 28 November 2011

Where Have I, You, Been?

It seems so long ago that I was out walking through the Spring leaves and writing about the beauty of that, but now it's six months later and the leaves are blowing on the ground and the light disappears by five o'clock - plunging the world into an eerie, grey, winter landscape.

So, where have I been? Why has the blog been so quiet? Well, as some people might have guessed: Plunged into a world of greyness, a world of illness, debilitating sickness. Returned to a world of hospital stays and visits, seeing and meeting people at their best and worst, spending every day dreaming of the outside world, of my old life, of the life that I used to have before it became taken over by one word.

There were times, as I clutched the walls, spasming, unable to walk, unable to lead a normal life, that I began to question the future, whether I really wanted any part of it, if this is what the future held. But I would get to go home for a week, before having to return to the kind nurses, who would stroke my head as I vomited once more. Angels one and all. The demon inside me fighting to take over, take control, take away me. Naomi ever beside me, so strong, so brave, even in the dark hours, that still linger.

In hindsight would I have had endured the radiotherapy to my head, that made me so sick, that made me want to die? That seemed to take me to another level of sickness? Would I have endured the trip to Plymouth for neuro-surgery, that left me feeling like an extra from Hans Christian Anderson - two horns being all that's left of my struggle to stay well, to stay alive, to stay in the world. Of my time on a ward where people hit themselves to take away the pain, both mental and physical, a world where rationality had gone. Well, that's the dilemma of illness - of the fight every day, every moment - to keep on, keepin' on. When the soul feels empty, sometimes it's easier to give up, to stop fighting. But I just can't do it, the fight goes on, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute.

But let me not take pity on myself, wallow in the grief of a life no longer my own, for I know that I am lucky to be here, to be able to kick the dog (if only proverbially), annoy Naomi and walk amongst the beauty of the world. Okay, getting up the stairs is a struggle, so my dream of climbing Mont Blanc has gone out the window, but when every day is a challenge that maybe is enough in itself.

Naomi and Purdey take a break
Back in July we went to the Lakes for a week, which was a disaster - my illness preventing me from living the life that I wanted to, the start of a process still continuing. We did manage two days out on the fells, back amongst those beautiful hills, that keep me sane when all around me is falling to pieces...So here are a few pictures of a happier time, but one that's hopefully slowly returning, even though it maybe in a way different to how I'd imagined things.

Wasdale's Middle Fell, looking to the Scafells.

My favourite view, as it was the nation's.

You can't keep a good dog down, or out of the water.

So, the start of my blogging again, I'm sorry that it's not been an easy read. But it's not been an easy six months, as it's not easy living with cancer, that is the reality. Let me start to write again, to try to regain a voice. Please carry on reading and let me know what you think.


  1. Thankyou for sharing this Jonathan. It really is good to hear your voice. It helps us come a little closer to understanding how this journey is for you. I know we can't possibly know what it's like, but thanks for opening a window for us.
    The pictures are beautiful! Sending love and wishes for more beautiful days for you to be able to walk in the countryside xxx
    Els xxx

  2. You voice becomes more clear, more compelling, more honest with every post. The beauty of your spirit shines through. Your courage inspires me. May you receive blessings today and every day even though they may not look like the blessings of the past. Keep sharing your true, clear voice. You inspire me.
    Much love,

  3. Your honesty brings tears to my eyes as I read this. Stay as strong as you can and keep fighting. My thoughts are with you now and always. Leah x

  4. I'm SO proud of you darling and am so pleased to see you sharing your journey again. Keep going. You inspire me. Love you SO much xxxxx

  5. Hi Jonathan - just wanted to write and say that I'm thinking of you and Naomi so much, and it was so moving (there must be a better word) to read your blog and know just how hard it has been for you and is still. I think you are so brave, and it is difficult to put into words now what to say. Sending my love, although we've only met once I think,
    Helen (Naomi's cousin)

  6. Jonathan you are VERY courageous and your blog moved me very much. I pray for you every Sunday at Mass so you are in my thoughts and prayers always.
    Purdey looks like a gorgeous Dog and Naomi looks like star. Much love to you both xxxxx

  7. So good to see you writing your blog again... Your pictures are wonderful. You and Naomi are amazing and inspirational people and you should be very proud. Thank you for your honesty. Niall and I continue to send you light and love and hope to see you soon. xxxxx

  8. Hi Jonny Piper, just looking at a photo of you in the minibus with the Confederates SC on the way to some club do in Oxford. You doing a fine impression of Rick Astley and me with a huge quiff, theres also Julian Marks, Shaun French, Trish, Julia Chenery. Aaahh the good ole days. Twas a fine time. keep battling the demon!
    Best wishes, Steph

  9. Please keep blogging it is just so inspiring. You make me stop and think.


  10. Hey Jonathan - Ditto the above. A very moving blog. Naomi and yourself sound amazing people. Keep fighting this. BIG hug - Jo

    p.s. My Mum plays tennis with your mother....great tennis I'm assured!

  11. Thank you for all your kind comments and for taking the time to read my rants and raves, it is SO appreciated. x

  12. Hi jonathon, from little snippets of hearing how you've been doing all this time I've been blown away to learn of your spirit and determination. We bogles are always wondering about how you're doing and thinking of u both. Hoping for more days that are most definitely good days. With love Caroline xxxxxxx

  13. Thanks Caroline, great to hear from you and hope to see you all soon. x