Before the recent improvement of my daily condition and I stopped needing regular blood transfusions, I frequently became short of oxygen and my energy levels were often too low to move around freely without a shortage of breath. It took a couple of pints of blood to put a bounce back in my stride. I became so good at reading my body signs at the time that I knew to the day and hour when a blood transfusion became essential to my continued survival.
Having a terminal illness necessitates one learning more and more about one's own body in order to affect proper monitoring and thereby receive the help one needs as soon as one needs it. My overall improvement in well-being over the past seven months has basically involved establishing through trial and error, a number of life routines that work for me.
An old spinster friend and mother substitute of mine was a lovely lady called, Henrietta (affectionately known by her friends as Etta). Etta lived until she was 94 years of age, and during her last ten years, I became the son she always wanted but never had. She kept herself in robust health until the last six months of her life. When I once asked her what she put her longevity down to, she indicated three things. First was her belief in God, the second was the fact that she'd never married and hadn't to 'do' for a husband, and the third was establishing a regular routine of eating, sleeping and exercise.
Incidentally, I find the 'marriage thing' interesting, especially as recent surveys have shown that married men live longer than single men, but that married women die sooner than spinsters. It looks like Etta was on to something when she made that life choice to remain single, following the death of her soldier sweetheart during the 'Second World War'.
I can also endorse Etta's belief regarding the importance of dietary, sleeping and exercise routines in one's life. In fact, were I not in the process of dying, I'd be tempted to make a health and fitness video, going by the significant progress I have made over the past six months.
I have found that establishing an overall lifestyle and group of routines that I religiously follow has been a tremendous source of help to my physical wellbeing. As significantly, my return to always having a new novel to write on the go is also of importance in maintaining my mental health, and I won't deny that being more spiritually connected with my God has been the most comforting of reassurances for me during troubled times.
Some of the most difficult routines I have had to put into practice have been establishing the places, nature of activities and types of people to avoid, in order to maintain my present quality of life. It is ironic that the type of human I most love being with (children), has become the most dangerous type of human species I can now associate with, having no immune system with which to fight off their bugs, colds and other illnesses that is normal for children to get so that they can build up their own immune system. While all this observance can seem a pain in the arse, to keep the show on the road makes it all essential and worthwhile.
Indeed, when I think back since I discovered I had a fatal illness, I have learned so much about the functioning of my own body that I would feel comfortable in taking a medical/biological examination today and passing it with flying colours. I know that I would have no trouble at all in passing a first-class honours degree in 'Me'.
I have had medical problems and constant body pain since the age of twelve and my involvement in a road accident, when a large lorry ran over me and wrapped my body around its main axle, almost killing me in the process and leaving me unable to walk for three years. I needed over fifty operations on my legs during the immediate years after and have been troubled with arthritic pain all my life.
From the many problems I have seen over the decades, I can readily understand how anyone afflicted by any physical, psychological or mental ailment can benefit from the assistance, companionship and help of another. Indeed, I have seen such help in action all my working life as a probation officer, relaxation trainer and stress management counsellor. I know that such relationships can help a person find themselves, but no outsider can truly know you inside out like only yourself can!
I know that we are all different in the ways we react and respond to problem situations, but a part of me will always find it strange to fully understand why any person needs to go for help to another 'in order to learn more about themselves'?
At the end of the day, I do believe that nobody can ever truly know us as well as we know ourselves. True, we may often try to deny and deceive others and ourselves as to the truth of who we are or why we think and do this. But deep down, none can deceive oneself about the 'me' who we have each lived with all of our lives, and therefore have known longest and best.
I am my own muse, I am the subject I know best, the fountain and source of my experiences and the poet of my own vision. I have seen the sea when it is wild and stormy; I have watched it quiet and serene, even when it is moody and unpredictable. In all my moods, I see myself for what I am and have become. In all moods, I find myself and know that I am me." William Forde: January 9th, 2018.