Yesterday I lay under the machine and counted the buzzes for last time. I took off my baggy hospital shorts , put them in the laundry bin and didn't choose a new pair from the pile. Then I drove home and sat in the drivers seat of the car for a long time, not quite sure if I had the energy to walk from the garage into the house. Then inside, sleep for a while and go gently into that good day.
Because I had been remarkably OK for the past few weeks, it was a bit surprising to be so tired yesterday. I guess that when the whole process was finished by mind was able to let go of the effort required to maintain equilibrium and gave my body permission to zonk out. I keep forgetting how body and mind and spirit are an integrated whole, and are not three separate things sitting inside each other like Russian dolls. I am a trinity, not a tiumvirate.
Now it's wait and see. On March 25 I'll see the oncologist and he'll examine the entrails - my entrails - and tell me whether all the xrays have actually done anything useful. It's going to be a fairly clear cut divergence of roads in a yellow wood on March 25. Either I still have cancer or I don't. Either I walk out of his office as a comparatively well man or as a cancer patient waiting for the inevitable, albeit very slow, falling of Damocles' sword. Either way though, life is not the same from this point on. My body has told me that changes must be made in the way I exist within it. And because I am a trinity, changes to my body must imply changes to my mind and spirit.
Something else happened yesterday. Our Eurail passes arrived, complete with a book of instructions and a dinky wee map. In two months we're going to travel the length of Italy staying in monsatic guesthouses. We'll be tourists, sure, but night times will be regulated by the sounds and rhythms of monastic life and day times by the clacking of iron wheels on rails. Then we'll be with strong conservatively Christian friends in Switzerland before spending a week at Taize. Then we'll walk the Camino in Northern Spain. Then we go to London where I hope to spend some time with Laurence Freeman.It'll be a retreat. A moving retreat, I hope in more ways than one. It will be a retreat which seems to be providentially timed no matter what Mr North tells me on March 25.