"Over the past twenty-eight years, I have spent the greater part of my leisure time writing books for publication, and whilst I will never hang up my pen permanently, I have, during the past two years radically altered my daily habits. I have had sixty-seven of my books published since I first started writing in 1990 and they have raised over two hundred thousand pounds for charitable causes through the profits of their sales. They have also brought me much pleasure and satisfaction in their writing.
Over the past few years, however, my priorities have significantly changed; no doubt helped in large measure by having to cope with the management of a terminal blood cancer and its physical effects. Added to this physical burden has been a worsening of my lung capacity from two successive heart attacks many years ago. The failure to have a stent inserted left me operating my breathing output on three working heart chambers. Also, my immobility has worsened significantly as my legs no longer seem able to straighten and bend sufficiently; thereby making any distance of walking harder to negotiate and more painful in the process. I have even had to climb over that psychological mountain of affording myself a wheelchair when I need to travel a good distance without the car in town.
Over the past five years, my current daily output has significantly altered from writing and having published three books annually to one book a year presently. I have reassessed my priorities to both self and others in determining how I now spend my hours of the day throughout the year. My three prime activities today to help self and others are writing, gardening and singing.
I decided last year to write one book each winter for publication when the weather does not allow me and Sheila to garden in our allotment. Being in our allotment and the fresh air is extremely good for me as it strengthens my lungs, exercises my limbs, soothes my mind and provides my weakening muscles with necessary exercise. Having no effective immune system with which to fend off bugs and colds, the allotment also enables me to lose myself in the companionship of birds, flowers, plants and vegetables and not face crowds of infectious humans. Even doing small energetic things in the allotment has done me the power of good health-wise, and this past year has been the best year I've had since I developed a blood cancer six years ago; especially as the average lifespan for my type of cancer is three years and six months according to the statistics one of my cancer consultants showed me after I'd directly asked him five years ago while having my first six-month course of chemotherapy.
Since I developed blood cancer, my daily posts have become more important to me as a way of helping others come to terms with death, dying or living with pain. My expertise in other areas concerning stress, poor sleeping, emotional disturbance and anger management etc. have undoubtedly been able to help many hundreds either die better or live more positively and purposefully. Indeed, between one and two hours daily is spent providing advice to numerous contacts seeking it. Consequently, this writing has become more meaningful to myself and others than publishing another novel.
Thirdly, since I read that singing practice can significantly improve one's lung capacity around the beginning of May 2018, with the exception of one month's holiday in Europe, I have practised singing daily, which I have put up on my Facebook page. Let me say that my lung capacity has greatly improved. My daily SATS (which I record four times daily to measure the amount of oxygen in my blood) has moved from a rating of 83 to 99. Please note that between 88-92, signifies the presence of OCPD or emphysema in the body and 99 is the highest possible score anyone's lungs can possibly have. So, I would advise anyone with breathing difficulties and oxygen deficiency in their lungs to take up singing practice daily. It matters not how well or badly you think you sing, believe me, not only will your oxygen blood levels greatly improve, but so will your singing. I have always been my own biggest critic, yet I have to acknowledge my progress from croaker to crooner the more I practise. My breathing is more efficiently employed when I sing now, and the range of songs I can tackle today of both slow and fast beat and all manner of styles becomes more effortless daily.
Every now and then when I go through my drawers, at the back of one I will often find some scribbled notes about some story theme I might write at a future date. Recently I came across these few introductory paragraphs for one such story yet unwritten, and which I include below.
'Goodbye, my love. I will not do a thing to shame our young family in your absence. You are my one true love, the one that I adore. They could never be another like you; never could there be another who touched me, kissed me, moved me as you did during our brief years together. When our daughter grows into a woman, I hope that there will be no more wars in foreign lands to deprive her of loved ones.
I'll tell her of your bravery, of how you gave up your life in Afghanistan so that life there could be better for its peoples; a people who never wanted us there in the first place. I'll tell her of your many worthy traits, but most of all I'll tell her about that side of you that even your own brothers and sisters never discovered while you lived; those most private of things that only a wife and lover could ever know. I'll tell her how we used to laugh and cuddle in bed on a night when other bedmates were probably preoccupied with other physically important yet lesser things. I'll tell of how you used to let me win occasionally at the games we played whenever you noticed that look of steely determination on my face. I'll tell her how big a hole that your absence has made in my life, but I'll also tell her that I wouldn't have had a life half as good with any other man. And I'll tell her that brave though you undoubtedly were, you were never foolish enough to believe that men don't cry when they are emotionally hurt.
It only seems like yesterday when you last came home on two week's leave, although it was five months ago. I'll never forget that last afternoon we spent at the zoo with our little Annabelle or those precious nights and time we had to reacquaint ourselves with the magic of each other's smell and touch. Neither shall I ever forget that visit from the army officer only two weeks after you returned to duties that you would never be taking home leave again, and that you and three other soldiers in the platoon had been killed by the enemy while on a routine patrol.
I find it hard thinking of a future without you. The army officer who informed me of your death four months ago also returned the last letter I sent to you a few days before you were tragically killed, along with other personal belongings. The last letter I sent you my love, was unopened. It is a letter that you sadly never got to read, I will read it to you tonight after I have put little Annabelle to bed, and tell you of our marvellous news.
I am over the moon with the result of the pregnancy test I have now taken twice. We are to have another child, sweetheart. I have to keep this letter short as little Annabelle is crying upstairs. Something has frightened her or she has probably had a nasty dream, but I will write more fully tomorrow. Good night, darling. I can't wait to see you back home again where you belong. Me and little Annabelle miss you terribly. Lots of love.
Mary and Annabelle...and this other little one growing inside me xxxxxxx'"
Love and peace Bill xxx