Shadow boxing…

So, today, all last-minute test results being well, I start a combined chemotherapy and immunotherapy regime. I cannot say that it is something I am looking forward to starting exactly, but as the alternative is to sit here and wither quietly away… quite literally… let’s just bring it on.

Shadow boxing | Pink panther cartoon, Pink panter, Pink ...

For the next three days they will pump in poisons designed to attack the cancer and drugs designed to convince my own immune system to do something about the cancer cells filling my lungs. I rather like that idea… and I hope my immune system does too.

Meanwhile, my handbag probably needs a police escort as it is full of the controlled drugs I now have to carry. My shoulders ache from the oxygen tanks I also have to carry. And, every so often, my heart aches for all the things still undone and unsaid… but that is not somewhere you dare go when you need to function…

I will, I am told, be ill and worse before I am better. If it works. I will lose weight and yet I must eat… a dieter’s heaven! Except that everything already tastes very wrong and will, apparently, also get worse. In fact, I am being told a lot of things… many of them contradictory… and the truth is that I will know nothing at all until I am on the other side of whatever comes.

Except that I probably will lose the hair… everyone seems to agree on that.

And it is all very strange. Because you cannot pretend that none of this is happening. It affects absolutely every corner of your life. Yet you are not the disease that has you in its grip either. You are still you, functioning, living and breathing… mostly… and yet wearing this invisible aura that seems to touch all those you love until you can see the hurt in their eyes.

The hardest part seems, at this stage, to remember whose life this is and why you might want to prolong it, given everything you are about to ask your ailing body to go through. And then two little girls come around to stalk the unicorns that live in your back garden, but whose horns and magical wings can only be seen by moon and starlight…

And you worry, about how you are going to cope, about being a burden on those who love you enough to be there for whatever comes, knowing they are ready to pick up the pieces when you break and hug them back together again.

Then you read the emails and messages that have come in… beautiful, simple expressions of love and friendship. Messages full of determination from the healers who hold you in their hearts. The messages of the small doings of every day that remind you that it is the little things that make life so worth living… (especially when they cut a first tooth).

And sometimes, you see the pride in your sons’ eyes when they read that in the eyes of others, maybe you made a difference… and that makes all the difference to them. You see their backs straighten and their eyes smile.

Then they can say that maybe it isn’t so bad, this knowing, because it makes sure we have time to say the things that need to be said… and to share what should be shared.

And that when it comes down to it, no matter how it is expressed… from friendship and caring, from hunting backyard unicorns to choosing to walk into the maw of hell, the only thing that really matters is love.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
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144 Responses to Shadow boxing…

  1. Thinking of you, Sue! Hugs!

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  2. Ritu says:

    Wishing you little side effects and lots of respite, Sue. You are never far from my thoughts πŸ₯°πŸ₯°πŸ₯° and always in my prayers πŸ™πŸ½πŸ™πŸ½πŸ™πŸ½

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  3. I’m rooting for you, Sue!

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  4. Jen Goldie says:

    πŸ’•πŸ¦‹β€xo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You are doing a wonderful job of coping, Sue. Of course, you will have ups and downs but if you stay positive on the balance, it will all be easier to cope with. Life is full of unexpected surprises, often not nice ones, which is why I believe in making the most of the people you love now in the moment. Hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Widdershins says:

    Eleventy squillion loves coming your way. : D … seeing as how your hair’s bound and determined to fall out, why not beat it to the punch and have a shearing party. That way the hair goes on your terms. (and maybe can be made into a wig, if so desired?)

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  7. willowdot21 says:

    You can do this Sue, we will all be with you. You have helped us all along the way now it’s our turn to help you. πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ

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  8. Every word you say, Sue is le mot juste. You are going to have a crappy time, that’s obvious, but you are so much, and you know so much, communicate and pass on so much, I’m afraid you’re just going to have to soldier on πŸ™‚
    How many of us live to a great age having done bugger all, contributed bugger all and taken everything that wasn’t fastened to the floor? Far too many. You might feel like a steaming pile of shit, but you are a beacon of all that’s good. Keep up the sterling work, you don’t need a reason.

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  9. s.s. says:

    Bless you for being such a beautiful person. Bless you for your beautiful writing. My (and all of our) thoughts are with you. Take care

    Liked by 1 person

  10. TanGental says:

    How clearly you articulate those dilemmas, that the severe sufferer goes through. When my father had a cancer on the lung diagnosed (one of several sorts it must be said) he remained largely inarticulate about his perspective on his progress until the treatment had worked at which point his take had echoes of what you said. How useful to have had your words to prompt him out of his confusion. I truly hope your treatment leads from hell to a renewal of heavy breathing. At least it feels like you’ll follow the clichΓ©d advice that when going through hell keep going.

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  11. Sadje says:

    Sending you lots of love Sue. Hugs, best wishes and prayers.

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  12. Sisyphus47 says:

    ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Fingers and toes crossed 🀞🀞🀞🀞 for you, Sue
    Hugs & Love sent πŸ€—β€οΈβ€οΈπŸ€—

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  14. SC Skillman says:

    Praying that your treatment will be successful, Sue. Your writing is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

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  15. Beautifully written. It brought tears to my eyes and goosebumps. Sending you warm and healing hugs xx

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  16. ❀️ (this isn’t just an emoji, it’s all the words and thoughts I can’t figure out how to put into words).

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  17. Helen Jones says:

    Sending so much love to you today, Sue – I hope it goes as well as possible, and that you get to keep hunting unicorns for a while yet xx

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  18. Sue, with a tear in my eye I read such beautifully written words. I send you a very large virtual hug and well… Go beat the demons! Hope you feel a whole heap better soon, Sue xxx

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  19. gdutta17 says:

    Sincerely praying and wishing for your recovery.

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  20. V.M.Sang says:

    Thinking of you and hoping all goes well. This was such a lovely post, in spite of all you are going through. You have great strength to carry on posting. You are right. We should all remember to tell people we love what we feel before it’s too late.

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  21. memadtwo says:

    This is a hard road Sue, full of ups and downs, but your spirit shines strongly. Keeping you in my thoughts and meditations. (K)

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  22. And you have an abundance of love surrounding you ❀ Those two little girls are so very sweet. What a beautiful card from Hollie. Much love to all of you ❀

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  23. noelleg44 says:

    “Yet you are not the disease that holds you in its grip” – wise words were never spoken You are still you, just fighting something with no soul. This is something I told my first year medical students every year – since they would fall into the trap of looking at their patients as their diagnoses.
    Put on the boxing gloves, dear friend.

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  24. Sounds like you have a wonderful family to support you! And you’re right, the blessing in disguise is enough time to acknowledge that love and say all the things many people never get around to saying.

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  25. Goff James says:

    Hi, Sue. Wonderful to read your post. The skilled story teller and wordsmith hasn’t lost her magic touch in telling things how they are; imbued with positivity, wisdom, humour and love. These four gifts will hopefully ease your passage through the dark days ahead and keep you focussed on the light at the end of the tunnel. In my thoughts and prayers. Sock it to them Sue!

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  26. No one who loves you would see you as a burden. Please don’t feel that way. I’m very glad you’re getting treatment, and you’re in my and my friend’s thoughts and prayers each day. Thank you for the update, and we’re all cheering you on over here!

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  27. Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    Sue’s progress.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Sending lots of love xx

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  29. trentpmcd says:

    You have a tough path to tread ahead, but you need to keep helping on those unicorn hunts… You are in my thoughts.

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  30. Dorothy Dellow says:

    Sue, I’ve just caught up with what is happening to you. It’s so long since we spoke, I don’t even know if you remember me. It’s been a strange few years for me since my husband passed, which is probably why we fell out of contact. However, I do want to say how sorry I am you’re having to face such heavy hurdles on the path back to health. Please know I will hold you in my thoughts and with all my heart wish you well. Step forward with hope on this part of your journey Sue and keep your eyes firmly fixed on the prize on the horizon.
    With much affection
    Dorothy X

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    • Sue Vincent says:

      I’m never likely to forget you, Dorothy! For so many reasons… not least a brace of curd tarts.
      I was so sorry to hear of your husband’s passing.. I seem to have been somewhat out of touch for a while since FB started playing up.
      It is lovely to hear from you… thank you. xx

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  31. While your body battles, there’s nothing at all wrong with your heart and soul, Sue. A beautiful post. Sending you love and strength. ❀

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  32. balroop2013 says:

    Sending you healing vibes and hugs Sue. Your words convey the spirit of facing this monster. Yes! that’s the way.

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  33. Love is what it’s all about, Sue. ❀ Hugs & prayers… πŸ™

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  34. Love is indeed what carries us. You are surrounded by it Sue, and you give so much to everyone else, there is no way you are, or will ever be, a burden.
    Thoughts and energy to face what lies ahead being sent your way every day my friend.

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  35. Darlene says:

    We are with you all the way. Sending much love. xo

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  36. You are not cancer and there will be times when that is very hard to remember. I couldn’t eat much, but Garry — who can’t cook at all — is the master of the mixed drink, even without alcohol. He made me a lot of Virgin Marys which were just spicy enough to cut through the horrible taste in my mouth. You can put sticks of celery in there, raw carrots … something crunchy.

    I lived on these for a few weeks. They were easy to get down as long as they were cold and I kept each one to about a cup, sometimes a little more.

    For me, at least, the hot sauce helped. It was the only thing I could taste that almost tasted good. Almost. Regular food was either completely tasteless or tasted like whatever drugs were curdling in my stomach. You have to find something you can get down and liquid is easier. I don’t know what they sell there, but we used either V-8 (all veggies in a relatively thick tomato base) with a shot of lemon or lime, sometimes some beef or chicken broth (hidden by the V-8 and Worcestershire sauce) and as much hot sauce as I could tolerate. I didn’t drink huge amounts at a time, but every hour or hour and a half, I had another one. Garry played around with the flavors and contents to keep me fed. He started to “blenderize” everything then mix it with V-8 or some other tomato based concoction. It had to be really COLD.

    Hang on in there. This is the worst part. If your immune system cooperates, it will get better.
    Do NOT worry about your weight. It does not matter at ALL. Your goal is health and survival. Don’t worry about your hair, your weight, or anything but getting through this. It’s a dark tunnel, but there is an exit.

    Love and hugs from me, Garry, and of course, El Duque.

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  37. gmvasey says:

    You have a gift, Sue, of being able to deal with the most emotional and unwanted conversations or narratives in a way that shines with love and light. You can see the positives where others would see none and you can feel the wisdom emanate from your words. We are all with you in our ways and sending you love, light and healing….

    xxxooo

    and big manhugs for Stu too….

    Like

  38. Intentergy says:

    Sue, sending love and prayers for healing your way. Thank you for sharing this beautiful and powerful love letter.
    – Melanie

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  39. TamrahJo says:

    On the spiritual side, all thoughts sent your way to protect what needs protecting while giving leeway to the treatments to wipe out what needs be gone — on the ‘practical/boots on the ground’ side of things, I can only offer the one thing I did for those in my family I cared for during treatments over the years that brought some respite and rest to a body miserable from the battle it was waging with introduced troops (chemo) – foot rubs and ear rubs – a gentle massage of either, at soft touch that was tolerable for the patient, aided in giving comfort/a nap to sink into when the misery of the side symptoms of chemo made itself known – I have done as much for myself when very ill and little inclination to want to spend the energy to ‘do for myself’ – not as well, and not as long or relaxing as having another do it and not a cure all pancea – just another ‘tool in the box’ to whether the storm raging and given loving hands something to do when their entire being wishes they could take your burdens upon themselves – so just a ”share’ of my own experience on both receiving and giving ends, though at this point, my receiving was not for the after-affects of chemo – but it was the one thing allowed to me often, in care of others, that medical providers okayed – when any herbal teas, herbal rubs or salves and various foods for immune system were on the list of ‘NOs!” by those who wield the chemo sword – for fear of interactions – :). ❀ ❀ sent your way.

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    • Sue Vincent says:

      Foot rubs are always welcome and relaxing… I’ve given many myself…Touch is so important a part of healing. xx

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      • TamrahJo says:

        Yes – – I remember, long ago, when I worked for an acupuncturist, the day she asked me to put the ‘needles’ into her during our lunch break – I’m a big fan of “Do No Harm” and it took her a lot of persuading that I wouldn’t damage, hurt or injure her if I ‘didn’t get it right, first attempt” – In my mind, all I could remember is the untold 1000s of hours she had spent during her education on proper needle insertion, tweaking, etc., and knew durn well I had not a clue – – but, finally, after she demonstrated once more the ‘how to’ etc., and all, I simply took a deep breath, gave a prayer to the Universe that my aim and ‘thumping’ to insert were true, and would do no harm – She later told me that the ‘exchange of energy’ was important – when I asked her question ‘to learn more’ – I’ll never forget that day, because she said she got what she needed, was able to continue through the day and I didn’t hurt her – but always, I’ve found myself, the simple act of someone else being willing, through love of you, to sit up all night, or massage or prepare soup/tea, etc., that willingness no matter how inept, is still a pancea to the will and the soul – – Thus, when asked, and assured, I rather go in where I fear to tread in ignorance – there is a love & trust I guess, overall, in that – πŸ™‚

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  40. TamrahJo says:

    P.S. – I believe in my heart, that any who see unicorns, no matter how small their fingers and hands, bring special, strong, yet gentle magic to our ears – :). thus, a magical rub of the ear from one until their hands/fingers tire might just do the trick for what is needed!! πŸ˜€

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  41. I’m glad you’ve chosen to share your experience with us. It must help to get your thoughts, fears, and triumphs out there – words have power! I can’t imagine going through what you are facing. I think I would simply fall apart. Still praying for you and yours (including Ani). Love and hugs Sue.

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  42. Jim Borden says:

    beautiful thoughts once again, Sue. I wish you the best with the treatment. You certainly seem to have the right attitude about all of this!

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  43. dgkaye says:

    Your words are beautifully piercing Sue. You’re a champ, and with so many good wishes and prayers from your circles (including me) YOU CAN DO THIS and come out victorious!!!!!!! Now go forth and heal! ❀ xoxo

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  44. CarolCooks2 says:

    With handbag and unicorns at the ready and my flip flops ( i )no longer have boots…Go lady and beat this demon..a rocky road ahead and then a smooth path…All trodden with the love and healing powers I have felt that so strongly reading these comments…I need a tissue …Much love and healing Buddha magic coming your way xx

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  45. Eliza Waters says:

    Sounds like you are in good hands, Sue. Esp. with those darling unicorn hunters! ❀
    It may be a tough road ahead, but taken one day (or minute) at a time, leaning on those who would walk over hot coals for you, may you reach the end of this hellish tunnel to emerge into the light once again. We're all rooting for you. xo

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  46. Joining with others — holding you in my thoughts, Sue. πŸ’•πŸ¦‹

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  47. The only thing you have is love – so true. And if the love of all your family, friends and followers is combined, it will see you through and be the crutches you need to keep going and win. Love has that power!

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  48. Sending hugs from me, and waggy-tailed kisses from the dogs – especially Lilie. I hope that thought offers some comfort, even if it does little to nothing beyond that.

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  49. Everything, except we’re sending you hugs and our love, has been said above, Sue.

    Take care.
    Lots of love.
    xx

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  50. Wow – look at all those comments! What I say is going to be super lame in comparison, haha.

    Last night I was visiting my mom and, like a normal American, saw some prescription drug ads on the TV while we watched Jeopardy. It was for lung cancer immunotherapy, and I thought of you and hoped your drugs work well! I know, it sounds lame, though.

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  51. Jennie says:

    Yes, love is all that matters. That card from Hollie is absolutely precious! Knowing how much you are loved, from all over the world can be a great tonic for healing. Sending you even more love!!!

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  52. Deborah Jay says:

    My thoughts are very much with you Sue, and I do hope we may yet meet up here in the beautiful Highlands in the future.
    A good friend of mine has just recovered from her second bout of lymphoma, and beyond all the awful reality of aggressive chemotherapy, she had an absolute ball choosing a variety of wigs in different colours and styles – a chance to try something new ❀

    Like

  53. I wish you all the best, and hope your battle gets better from here.

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