On The Plus Side

“Oh, feel our bodies grow
And our souls they play, yeah
Yeah love I hope you know
How much my heart depends, yeah”

  • Tom Odell

Woke at 3.00am yesterday , had a marvellous dream. My Soulmate and I had infiltrated an evil scientific project that was brainwashing people into buying Bitcoin and NFTs. The scientists are all wearing Perspex cone collars, like you’d put on a dog or cat to stop it biting itself…or that you’d see on a Prada catwalk. We get discovered as we keep laughing at everyone taking cryptos seriously.

We escape in an electric Mini, My Soulmate , jumps out to open the gate, I drive through and we’re immediately pursued by a gang of six people all hanging out of three motorbikes. She shouts ‘Go ! Go!Go!’ at me and I speed off. It takes me a few seconds to realise that she’s not in the car. I’m soon surrounded by the motorbikes. I brake and speed up to get away, but my heart’s not in it as she’s not there. I stop and get out and am immediately surrounded.

Then she appears from the boot of the Mini and Krav Magas her way through all of the gang. I’m standing , open mouthed, in awe. “You’ll catch flies standing like that” she says, hopping in to the drivers seat……

We get up at 6.00am and head to Dublin for my results. This is not a dream.

Throughout my appointments, tests, exams and operations so far, there has been a reluctance for anyone, myself particularly, to mention ‘cancer’. My doctor referred me to my consultant saying that there was a ‘shadow’ in the kidney/bladder area. A couple of scans and a cystoscopy later and the ‘growth’ was identified and told that it had to come out.

It was only when I was being wheeled down for my surgery and handed over to the operating theatre staff that one nurse enquired what I was down for and the other nurse looked at my chart and said ‘Oh, bladder tumour’. That’s the first time anyone had said the word ‘tumour’ out loud. Or at least it’s the first time it had sunk in with me.

After the operation my consultant said the tumour had been sent for testing. Again it seemed to be silently implied that it was being tested for cancer, without anyone saying that out loud.

I got my results yesterday. My consultant clearly and calmly, aided with very Leaving Cert Honours Biology level  doodles, identified where my tumour had been, how unfriendly the little bastard was, and why I’d need more surgery, referral on to another specialist and , most likely, some pre-op chemotherapy.

It was this point that I asked “I’m sorry , this may sound like a really stupid question, but we are talking about cancer, aren’t we ?”

“Yes.” He answered.

I nodded, and we carried on. Is it just me or are we reluctant to say that word out loud.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a clever enough chap, and am truly , truly fortunate to have a wonderful local GP who has been patient, tolerant, observant, and assuring for the twenty odd years that I’ve been fortunate to know him. I also was even more fortunate to be referred to my consultant , whom every nurse I’ve met has talked of in glowing terms, and who, if asked, I would also refer to in glowing terms. And yet ‘cancer’ was only mentioned once. Yesterday. And again , this had been silently implied all along, and even I, wildly and implausibly optimistic as ever, knew it, but didn’t verbalise it.

But it’s out there now.

I’m not afraid of it.

I don’t welcome it, obviously, but it is what it is, and one of the things that my consultant said yesterday that I am seriously considering having as a tattoo , is “Everything’s fixable.”

What was the other thing ?

Oh , he also said that I wasn’t overweight. That, I’m also considering getting as a tattoo. An actual medical doctor, gave the scientific opinion that I’m not overweight. I may have mentioned this once , or several times already to my Soul Mate.

After getting over the shock I realised how fortunate I am.

I’m married to my Soul Mate.

My kids are AMAZING !

My parents are pretty cool, the kettle is always boiling and there is always Battenberg in the press.

I work with my brothers and friends , so time to myself is never an issue.

I live in the True Centre Of The Universe.

I have the best neighbours.

I live in a wonderful community where you never have to ask for anything twice.

It is only 90 minutes from the True Centre Of The Universe, Monaghan, to Dublin.

I am surrounded by the best friends anyone could ever wish for…and Ray.

Of anytime in the whole history of puny hoomans there has never been a more opportune time to have cancer. I am being treated with Star Trek technology.

I am incredibly lucky.

Oddly my biggest disappointment this week was missing Tom Odell playing in the Olympia in Dublin. I’ve now missed him playing here four times. Twice I’ve had tickets for Robyn and I and then discovered that the venues had either an over 16s, or over 18s door policy so we couldn’t go, and I gave away the tickets. This time the concert sold out in a day and we missed it . AND this time he was supported by Rachel Mae Hannon ! From Monaghan !!!

On Wednesday I left work and call to Mum and Dad on the way home. We have a cup of tea, I play them a couple of songs by Rachel Mae Hannon on YouTube on their Smart TV, and tell them that she’s from Monaghan. They’re impressed. I tell Dad that he worked with  her Aunties and Uncles in Mullan Mill and Dad squints for a closer look before shouting “She’s a Deery !” then explains to Mum that she must be a grand niece of Mick A Ballagh. Which she indeed is.

“Do you know her ?” Mum asks.

I know her sister Laura better. Laura is a great artist and has done drawings for the book that Ryan and I never finished , Meeting Ulysses & Ezekiel. Ezekiel is a large talking wombat who wears a stripey Jo Whiley jumper, and Laura captured him perfectly. And her Mum Margaret, a stalwart volunteer at  the Monaghan ParkRun , regularly keeps me out of trouble.

For the moment I have stories about new Drumlin Giants to write, ParkRuns to volunteer at, the Big Moon Records vinyl fair to attend, finish reading ‘Dictionary Of The Khazars’ by Milorad Pavic, add a few more songs to the SuperJetRobotDinosaurs playlist, cook dinner for my SoulMate, Elliott, Robyn and her friend, hang up some more pictures and photographs, and change a few outside light bulbs. And that’s Saturday.



Author: paul

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *