|"Is that all you got, George ... is that all you got?"|
Ali taunts Foreman, 'rumble in the jungle' 1974
After each round I get a short time to rest in my corner and regain my strength. I replace lost fluids and nutrients. I nod sweatily at the instructions of coach Mo, and get re-motivated by the cheers of my fans. And I get patched up by my wonderful medics. Razor-slitting a boxer's purple puffed eye fixes one problem but creates another - making him vulnerable to a match-finishing cut. Chemo patch-ups have serious side-effects too.
|Some days I'm up ...|
In some rounds I've been too weak to raise my gloves to defend myself. I've been battered senseless, and my legs have buckled. I've hit the canvas, gum shield out, blinking slowly, honestly hoping that someone would throw in the towel. I've daydreamed about giving up, and just biding my time with a cold beer and mountain views until the grim reaper arrives. A natural fade-out has often seemed a nobler alternative to this relentless pharmaceutical pummelling. If I'm resilient and having such thoughts, my heart goes out to patients who are less fortunate.
|... and some days I'm really down|
Sometimes the treatment between rounds is harder - especially on the mind - than the actual chemotherapy. Last night I had a splitting headache, an agonising right ear drum, pain down the right side of my neck and across my swollen shoulder, and a worrying shortness of breath. Dr Wong's on a well-earned holiday, so I met her stand-in Dr Hsieh. He suspected thrombosis in a vein near my catheter.
|Ghandi: "the man with 4 aces doesn't ask for|
another hand" ... my hand was so bad, I wanted
to throw it down and head off to the bar.
My O Level in Biology led me to predict imminent brain damage and/or a heart attack. I went quiet and Moniek shed a few tears. The doctor assured us it's treatable and not life-threatening. I was given a clot-dissolving injection, and prescribed 2 additional jabs per day for the next 6 weeks. Oh joy.
Don't despair. My gumshield is back in, water has been poured on my bald head, and I'm determined to go the distance whatever it takes. The Magill shuffle is a little slower than the Ali shuffle, but at least I'm mobile. The plan is to treat the clot again tomorrow, and go ahead with Round 14 (B-chemo) on Thursday. Let's hope there are no more nasty surprises before then.
We're long overdue for a great song. Here's a classic about not giving up (from an equally bald guy): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjepiv9vqKc ... the lyrics are just below the video.