Instead of answering dozens of personal inquiries daily about my current situation, I provide this general update instead.
My facial/neck/throat cancer advances rapidly and brings with it constant pain; the like of which I have not had to cope with before. I am managing the high pain levels as much as I can with the aid of pain killers, cannabis resin oil, doses of morphine as required, relaxation and breathing techniques, and mentally distractive methods. My facial features get more disfigured daily as my ear, neck, throat, and cheek swell, and I have to learn new ways how to communicate without being able to talk properly or hear the words of another through my cancerous ear. It is as though neither my ear nor my mouth wants to either speak or listen, my solid food does not want to be chewed and the remaining teeth in my mouth get more sensitive to what is changing around them.
As my pain level increase, I naturally find it more difficult to concentrate, and what used to take me a few hours to deal with on my computer in the morning and be finished by noon now takes double the time and is not completed before 3:00 pm or 4:00 pm most days. Also, as some of you will no doubt notice, I will make silly mistakes in my grammatical writing and composition from time to time, as I find it increasingly harder to concentrate as I work through the pain level.
I get my second session of the trial drug at St James' Hospital, Leeds on Monday 19th April. The Cancer Oncologist says that it often takes up to five sessions of the drug being received (15 weeks from the start of the drug trial) before it can be assessed if any benefits are being accrued as opposed to any potential harm it may be causing other body organs.
On the more positive side, I can certainly recommend sticking to one's daily routine as much as possible as a viable means of countering and coping with added stress and increased/constant high pain levels in one's body. I can also recommend listening to music, comedy, and keeping as mentally occupied as much as possible. I may find it a bit of a pain taking twice as long daily to compose and write what would normally have taken me half the time (and with half the mistakes) one month ago, but believe me, when I say that the best of all ways of coping with pain is paradoxically to distract the mind from focusing on the pain. The best way of distracting the mind from pain is by engaging it in a pleasurable activity.
I would also like to say that one's pain is increased by stubbornly trying to ignore it and deny its presence. Pain can be eased by letting it out as often and as safely as possible (like a pressure valve on a boiler). We do this, not by having a stiff upper lip and hiding one's pain from others around us, but by letting one's tear ducts cry, by being prepared to moan, yell or swear in Irish whenever the bursts of pain get too much to stay quiet about. All of this is far from pleasant for our carers, families, and loving partners nearby, but better that they know what is happening in the reality of your world than to remain more fearful in the ignorance of theirs.
Lastly but by no means least, while all this is going on, we should never lose sight of the fact, so, is life! Think of all those newly-born infants across the world today and the happiness that first sight of them brings to their mother's faces. Rejoice in being able to meet up with family and friends more freely as the vaccination programme across the country continues to be successfully rolled out. If you get the opportunity sometime today, go for a walk and take in the freshness of the air you breathe and observe the new life springing up all around in the form of new leaf and plant life. Walk this wonderful world of ours whenever you can, and cooperate with its nature, and your nurture shall benefit in consequence. The more you learn to love your world, the more rewarding your life will be and the longer you shall be able to enjoy it as being an intricate part of the earth upon which you stand.
Have a nice day everyone and if you want to please my mind today, do not feel sorry for me but instead, feel happy for yourself, your families, your friends, your neighbours, and all the lovely people who populate this land of ours that holds out so much promise for the future. Think not what you can do for me, for you have already done it in abundance through the love you have expressed toward me over the past decade. In short, your love puts me on top of the world, looking down on creation. It is a beautiful vision. Thank you.
Love and peace. Bill xxx