I also wish a happy birthday to Maria Sheedy who lives in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Enjoy your special day, Maria x
'My song today is ‘My Way’. This song was popularised in 1969 by Frank Sinatra. The song is set to the music of the French song ‘Comme d’habitude’ which was composed and written by French songwriters Claude Francois and Jacques Revaux. It was performed in 1967 by Claude Francois. Its English lyrics were written by Paul Anka and are unrelated to the original French song. The song was Sinatra's signature tune and his version of ‘My Way’ spent 75 weeks in the UK Top 40; a record which still stands.
I have done many things in my life, some noble, some suspect, and some wrong! What I can say without a shred of doubt, however, is that I have always been my own man and I have essentially always done my own thing. Some of the things I have done, I have done deliberately, and some things have been done unknowingly or involuntarily. Overall, today’s song resonates with whatever is ‘the real me’. When the end of my life comes around (which I do not plan to be this year), I will be able to say, “I did it my way”.
I go into 'Leeds General Hospital' today to have my seventh operation in the past two years. I am having an aggressive skin cancer removed from my facial cheekbones. This very same cancer has moved to three different places over the past two years; down one side of my skull from my forehead to my neck and throat area, and has now reappeared on my facial cheek. It is perniciously aggressive and is a type of skin cancer that will kill me if not removed, but is also a type that the cancer consultant surgeon informs me is prone to keep returning to a new body area. It looks like it might be one of those companions who is always going to shadow me through my remaining life, so I better make friends with it, and may even consider giving it a name?
One thing that will shadow me after the operation today is the scar across my cheekbone. The area designated for cancer removal is not large enough to give me the distinctive facial features of a ‘bad man’ who people fear messing with but is sufficient to spoil my good looks farther.
After forty sessions of radiotherapy during the past year and a half, the facial hair down one half of my face will never grow again. My full beard, which I have worn at varying lengths ever since my 21st year of life (57 years ago in two weeks’ time) has gone forever. Had I lived in Victorian times, I could have fitted in as a freak circus attraction called ‘the man with half a beard’.
My last cancer operation was a mammoth one; a neck dissection to remove aggressive cancer from my forehead, around my right ear, all the way down my neck, and across to my Adam’s Apple in the centre of my throat. All the cancer was hopefully removed from this channel, along with all my saliva glands down one side of my face and the soft tissue. It essentially involved a cosmetic facelift, which left me feeling like someone had walloped me across one side of my head with the full force of a cricket bat. As the extensive wound healed, the skin at the operated side of my skull tightened considerably, and seven months later, the sensation on my facial RHS acts as a permanent reminder that I had my throat cut for my own good.
Prior to my neck dissection, my full beard nicely concealed my double chin from the eyes of the nation, which had comfortably hung about for the best part of the past twenty years. My last operation, however, left me with no beard covering, and believe me when I tell you that ‘half of a double chin’ is twice as bad to look at in the morning mirror as a full double chin is! I am currently hoping that I have sufficient stubble on my chin to grow a decent goatee beard to act as a cover, as that will be far less expensive than considering acquiring cosmetic surgery via private means to remove half a double chin!
Oh, and I forgot to mention that the Cancer Consultant Surgeon who will perform today's operation will also remove a little cancer scab which has been lodged on the rim of my left ear for the past year. I have no doubt that this little scab-infested cancer would take up residency in my left ear lobe if not removed today before it has the opportunity to establish squatter's rights! While it is hardly noticeable to the observer, it is like having an irritable fly in one’s ear that creates a constant itch and urge to scratch. Have a nice day, everyone because today is going to be a good day.
Millie and Maria, forgive me for taking part of the spotlight off you two this morning, as today is your day. Today is the celebration of your birth and marks one more landmark of your journey through life. You are 14 years old today, Millie, and very soon you will be entering young womanhood. This is a lovely time in your life to look forward to. It is a time when boys will start looking more attractive than ' snips and snails and puppy dog's tails', while you still remain like 'sugar and spice and all things nice'. You will know that you are gradually growing from a girl into a young woman the day you stop wearing Bobby socks and start wearing nylons. On that day you become old enough to give your heart away.
As for Maria, well she has been a woman for a while now, and I am sure she will remember her days of wearing Bobby socks also, and the girlish fun she had of jumping in puddles for the sheer fun of it!
I do hope that you both enjoy your special day and do not eat too much cake.
Love and peace Bill xxx