"Six weeks ago I attended the Yorkshire Clinic for three facial biopsies to determine if I had skin cancer and if I did, to find out if it is it treatable? Seemingly, the terminal blood condition I have makes me ten times more likely to get skin cancer and if I do, less than 80 percent of skin cancers are treatable. I was told to return on December 23rd for my results. With my condition being more complicated than the average biopsy, more tests than usual would need to be carried out, and the usual three-week wait for my results turned into six weeks.
Indeed, since I contracted cancer of the blood almost four years ago, much of my time spent inside the house has been spent waiting to get rid of one chest infection before another arrived, and when I went outside the house, it was mostly spent waiting in hospital wards and doctors surgeries for blood transfusions, hormone injections and numerous other biopsies, cat scans, x-rays and cancer tests.
As I set off to the clinic this afternoon with Sheila, I wonder how much time in one's life is lost by 'waiting'. I have always believed that people who wait for ages for the storm to appear rarely catch the sunshine.
When we are young children wanting to be adults, we anxiously stand upon the stage behind the curtain, waiting for it to be raised and for the play to begin. During our middle years, when we are often at our best, all we want is for the play to go on and the adulation of others never to cease. Then, when we get too old to play the part of Hamlet and Polonius is the only suitable role left for us, we want the play to never end and the final curtain not to come down.
I remember as a growing child eagerly waiting to grow up and become a long distance lorry driver.The attraction of this job at the time was that I knew long distance lorry drivers only drove for half of their daily shift and spent the other half making roadside cafe stops hourly to devour big bacon butties! (now you know why all long distance lorry drivers are never thin). Then, after I experienced my first kiss from a girlfriend at the age of nine, I couldn't wait to grow up and get married and have children of my own. Although I waited until I was 26 years old before I married, even though I told myself that I was ready for settling down then, with hindsight, it might have been a wiser choice had I been prepared to wait a bit longer for the next bus to come along, so that we could at least have travelled in the same direction.
A lifetime of waiting continued as I watched my children and my ambitions in my professional life grow. I couldn't wait to see my children pass their significant landmarks; starting school, being in their first school concert, running in the school sports day race, leaving school and starting university, then, getting married and having a family. As I grew older, I even started to look forward to the day when I'd have the mortgage paid off and be able to enjoy a comfortable pension and a relaxing retirement.
Unfortunately, as I spent most of my lifetime waiting for this or that to happen, life just carried on and did not wait for me. By the time I had caught up with life again and had taken stock, I found myself in my 70s with a terminal illness. Since that time, three years ago, I have finally stopped waiting. Once I stopped waiting for this or that, the strangest thing happened. Stopping waiting has made me a much happier person than I've ever been, especially since I married Sheila. I find myself a more accepting person who has been happy to take each day as a bonus whenever it has arrived, along with whatever it has brought. I only wish that I'd been blessed with such insight all those years ago.
Often, being prepared to live a good life implies being prepared to wait. The greatest oak in the forest would never have reached as far into the sky as it does without having once been a nut who was prepared to stand its ground and allow things around it to naturally happen. The best things are always worth waiting for!" William Forde: December 23rd, 2016.