The End of the Beginning

I’ve finished my first cycle of treatment, and today I’m starting on the second, so I thought I’d try to write something before the fog descends again!

Image result for round

The first cycle proved quite a challenge in terms of side effects. There were a number of nasty, personal things – which you don’t want too much detail on! – but the most persistent problem for me was a sense of being spaced out. For a lot of it, it meant I couldn’t read, struggled to look at the computer, didn’t feel safe driving, and I couldn’t keep any sense of focus or concentration.

Image result for lack of concentration

Having had a few days free of medication, I’m not looking forward to that returning, never mind the other nasties!

One of the bonuses has been seeing the wonderful displays of autumnal colour on the way to Gloucester for my injections. There’s been a lot of sunshine, so the golds, reds, yellows have been striking. I try to comfort myself with a seasonal analogy for what I’m going through. The leaves on the trees are having their final burst of glory Image result for autumnal colourbefore they shrivel and die, ready to burst forth again in the spring. My treatment is helping cancer cells to die, so that healthy ones can regenerate – and perhaps by next spring, I might be – if not bursting forth – at least feeling better.

To celebrate that thought, I’m going to include one of my favourite autumn poems. I’ve probably shared it before, and it’s a bit late for it, but it’s the poem I always think when I think of autumn, so here goes:

Song at the Beginning of Autumn

Now watch this autumn that arrives
In smells. All looks like Summer still;
Colours are quite unchanged, the air
On green and white serenely thrives.
Heavy the trees with growth and full
The fields. Flowers flourish everywhere.

Proust who collected time within
A child's cake would understand
The ambiguity of this - 
Summer still raging while a thin
Column of smoke stirs from the land
Proving that Autumn gropes for us.

But every season is a kind
Of rich nostalgia. We give names - 
Autumn and Summer, Winter, Spring - 
As though to unfasten from the mind
Our moods and give them outward forms.
We want the certain, solid thing.

But I am carried back against
My will into a childhood where
Autumn is bonfires, marbles, smoke;
I lean against my window fenced
From evocations in the air
When I said Autumn, Autumn broke.

Elizabeth Jennings

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  1. Stephanie Hojin says:

    I was so sorry to read your news today. I remember your enjoyable talk at Broadway Library.

    I wish you a quick recovery.

    Stéphanie Hojin

  2. Rebecca Gethin says:

    I have been thinking about you so glad to get an update. Sorry it is such an ordeal… big hug for you… xxxxx

  3. Henry Hyde says:

    Lindsay, very sorry to hear of your ordeal, but grateful that you have taken the time to share your thoughts with us and introduce me to that beautiful poem.

    For me, Autumn in my youth meant conkers. My morning walk to Westcliff High School was along two roads – Prittlewell Chase and Kenilworth Gardens – lined down the central reservation with old horse chestnut trees. Eschewing the paths on either side, I happily shuffled through the deepening piles of golden and tawny leaves in the morning, stooping to retrieve those wonderful, spiky parcels with their mahogany treasures within.

    Get well.

  4. Sue Ablett says:

    Glad to hear how you’re doing Lindsay though sorry it’s so tough. Autumn colours have been unbelievable this year. Almost made me want to write a poem! Take care. Sue

  5. Mary Howell says:

    What a lovely poem , Lindsay. Sorry to read of your appointments and need for treatment. Big hugs, or abrazos fuertes, as they have it in Spain. Un beso,

  6. Lindsay says:

    Thank you for your kind comment, Stephanie. I remember you from the Broadway library talk. I wrote about my myeloma diagnosis back in September, I think it was.

  7. Lindsay says:

    Thanks, Rebecca. It is an ordeal, but I hope I’ll get through it.

  8. Lindsay says:

    Thank you, Henry. I appreciate your comment. I love the conker memory as well.

  9. Lindsay says:

    We’ll get you writing yet, Sue!

  10. Lindsay says:

    Lovely to hear from you, Mary, especially as I’ve been feeling very guilty about you. As you can see, the year hasn’t panned ou as I planned, and I haven’t managed to read your draft. IT’s probably been published by now!!

  11. Mary Howell says:

    Not a bit of it, and not published but several redrafts. Life hey!

  12. Polly says:

    Lovely poem – horrid to see you’ve been feeling ‘spaced out’, disorientation is the weirdest thing – wishing you well really soon xx

  13. Jeff Phelps says:

    Hi Lindsay. So sorry to hear you’re not well. All love and good wishes to you in your treatment. Looking forward to lots of new spring-like writing from you soon. Get well. xx

  14. Patricia Clark says:

    Dear Lindsay it’s been such a long time since we spoke and now I hear that you are going through a tough time. I’m very sorry to hear this but I know that you are a strong willed woman and that you will put the ‘myeloma’ firmly in it’s place!
    Please keep us all updated with your progress.
    My love as always.

  15. Maggie Doyle says:

    I didn’t see your post in September and so sorry to read about your illness. You are a strong lady and I know you will take this all in your stride, although they are nasty footsteps which you have to tread. Positive vibes, cyber hugs and lots of love xx

  16. Lindsay says:

    Thanks, Polly. Your support really helps.

  17. Lindsay says:

    Thanks, Jeff. Lovely to hear from you, and thanks for the good wishes.

  18. Lindsay says:

    Lovely to hear from you, Tricia. Thanks for your good wishes.

  19. Lindsay says:

    Thanks for the supportive words, Maggie. I’m trying to be strong, but some days it’s not so easy. The vibes, hugs and love help.

  20. Maureen Halll says:

    Glad to hear that the treatment is now under way, but sorry to hear about the horrible side effects. Hang on in there and look forward to feeling well again in the Spring.

  21. Lindsay says:

    Thanks, Mo. Yes, hoping things might be better by the spring.

  22. Maggie Doyle says:

    Hi Lindsay, often think about you and say a little prayer. Unfortunately, you are one of a few as 2016 seems to have been such an unkind year for so many. However, dear Facebook cheered me up by throwing up the memory of a December Parole Parlate we did when I tried to sing a Christmas carol with you. Do you remember? The audience seemed to like it anyway 🙂 Hope you are feeling a little better and have positive things around Christmas to look forward to. Sending you smiles and giggles, Maggie xx

  23. Lindsay says:

    Thanks, Maggie. I do remember singing a ‘carol’ with you. It was fun, and fun is something that’s been in short supply recently, but I’m hoping for its return in 2017!

  24. Maggie Doyle says:

    Hi Lindsay, how time has flown and though you are often in my thoughts you won’t know that unless I write and say that I’m thinking of you. I hope life is brighter for you now and that you are getting better and stronger with each passing day. Maybe the appearance of sunshine, the lightening of the days and the warmth of the sun will all have additional healing qualities – I do hope so. If you feel like it, you can always drop me a few lines and let me know how you are getting on. Love and healing thoughts, Maggie xx

  25. Maggie Doyle says:

    Hi Lindsay, just saw your name pop up on a comment I put on FB today and was so pleased. I’m not in the LitFest circle anymore so don’t get to hear any news. I do hope that things have gone well for you and that you are now enjoying life once again. My very best wishes, Maggie xx

  26. Maggie Doyle says:

    Maggie Doyle says:
    12th February 2019 at 9:54 pm
    Hi Lindsay, just saw your name pop up on a comment I put on FB today and was so pleased. I’m not in the LitFest circle anymore so don’t get to hear any news. I do hope that things have gone well for you and that you are now enjoying life once again. My very best wishes, Maggie xx

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