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Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Hans Rey and Steve Peat

Do you experience times when you feel fully alive?

I did this week – in my kitchen of all places!

I was cooking a meal to take to my family. I switched on my cd player. As the first note of the first track filled the room I felt a surge of joy and energy flood through me – a feeling that says ‘it’s great to be alive’.

My memory shot back to when I was about 9 years old. My brothers and sisters and I used to play with another family two doors up the hill from us. We had freedom to run between each other’s gardens for hours on end playing all sorts of crazy games. I remember the smell of the roses, the vegetable patch, picking and eating the fruit, the sound of the ships going up river.

Specifically, the memory was of running home at dusk – later than we were usually allowed to stay out. I remember the low light, the laughter, the cool summer air on my face –  strength and energy. I felt connected to my brothers and sisters, connected to my friends, connected to the present and energised for the future.

In my kitchen the thoughts and feelings were just the same; the joy of connecting and engaging with those who matter to me.

What tipped the balance making this a ‘great to be alive’  moment, was the music. The cd I played is labelled ‘Music of Heaven’. With the first note the God of Creation joined me in the room – I was connected with and energised for eternity.

I heard someone on the radio say ‘Music is better than medicine‘. In many cases that is absolutely true.

The picture of cycling on the edge caught my attention. If you think what they are doing is scary have a look at the short video of their Ireland Pub Trip which includes how the picture was taken.

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GOOD NEWS – my blood test was above borderline and I had my chemo.  The first dose of round two – a different and stronger drug this time.

Last night I was exhausted. This treatment schedule is like a prolonged game of snakes and ladders. The joy of reaching some sense of normality is soon dampened by the prospect of another snake-slide to side effects and infection risk.

Today was stressful and tearful for me again. I had read all about this new drug, or so I thought.  I came resigned to cope with the side effects and prepared with ice packs to protect my finger and toe nails from damage – vanity first.  What I had not spotted was the small risk of an immediate anaphylactic reaction to this new drug. And of course when it was spelled out to me I knew exactly what it meant.  I recognised the cautious looks from the staff as they ran the first lot of treatment in slowly.  Their questions about how I was feeling came often and were purposeful – I knew why. My husband knew what was going on and lifted my hand and kissed it. We were both journeying into the unknown again. Tears welled up.

I closed my eyes and prayed the Jesus Prayer, matching my breathing to the rhythm of the words.  I knew I was going to be fine.

And so with my head encased in a cold cap, my fingers and toes under ice packs, I wrapped myself in my blue mohair blanket, a gift from my mother many years ago, and snuggled up to pass the next 2 hours. And I was fine – able to move between my own world of prayer and the lives of those around me.

The chemo suite is a very busy place. The patients are going through an extremely traumatic experience, all putting on a brave face and thankful for the camaraderie and shared ‘normality’.  I am amazed at the courage they demonstrate. As my friend in the next couch gathered her bag to leave she reached out to me to grasp my hand. Her touch spoke love and comfort. She understood. Tears welled again.

And the staff, working under constant pressure, manage to tread that fine line between business and humanity.

We came home at 3.00 pm, tired and relieved and very aware of the love and prayers surrounding us.

And the painted nails – apparently there is some evidence that painting your nails prevents them from becoming damaged by the drug. I had noticed women with stunning dark red nails and thought it incongruous.

I have not yet found the evidence – but maybe even I can paint my nails bright red!

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