Walking through Cancer Valley: INTRO

This is the text of a video on my YouTube channel entitled ‘Walking through Cancer Valley: INTRO‘.

“Hello. This is an introduction to a set of five short videos with the title Walking through Cancer Valley.

The back story starts last summer when I had a blood test which showed that I was very anaemic. This was followed by hospital tests which revealed that I had bowel cancer. On 22nd September, exactly six months ago on the day on which I am making this recording, I had surgery for the removal of my large intestine and the formation of an ileostomy. Eight weeks later, I commenced what was intended to be a three-month course of chemotherapy. However, one of the side-effects made me very ill and I was in hospital over both Christmas and New Year. We decided not to continue with the chemotherapy because anyway it was intended to reduce the already low probability of the cancer returning. Since then I’ve been making steady progress back to health.

Back in November before the side-effect of chemo made me ill, I posted a blog entitled “My Cancer Diagnosis and What I’m Learning”. This listed five things I was learning from the experience of the diagnosis, the resultant surgery and the five videos that follow enlarge upon those lessons and broaden the focus of some of them.

The first is entitled “Backs to the Future” and it deals with the impact of the unexpected developments of the diagnosis, the surgery and the more recent hospitalisation.

The second video video is about relationships, about relationships being what living is all about. The title is “All Real Living is Meeting” (a quotation from the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber).

Having been a hospital inpatient for a total of eighteen days in this past six months and having also been there for countless out-patient appointments, I’ve had a lot of contact with nurses and other hospital staff. The third video is entitled “Nurses and other Wonderful Human Beings”.

The fourth video has the title “The Shalom-ful Gift”. The Hebrew word ‘shalom’ is usually translated as ‘peace’. And it is one of my favourite words and indeed it’s a subject that I’ve written and spoken about a lot in recent years. But the experience of these last few months has made me think more about shalom and, in particular, has helped me to see it as a gift from without rather than as an accomplishment from within.

The fifth and final video is about our relationship with the physical creation, the wonderful world of which we are part. Through these recent months, I’ve had cause to become more aware of my physical body, of what it was, what it is and what it will be. The title of the video is “Creation Sings and Creation Groans … and My New Body”.

As I said at the beginning, the title that I’ve given to the whole set is “Walking through Cancer Valley”. Walking has become a very important part of my life since the operation. When I came home from hospital, I was unable to walk more than a few steps unaided. And I’ve been gradually increasing the distance walked each day and it has been a joy on many of these days to walk and talk with one or other family member.

Those are literal walks but the word ‘walk’ is also often used metaphorically as, for example, in the Bible or in the anthem of Liverpool Football Club (“You’ll never walk alone”). I hope you will walk with me through these video reflections and that, as you do, you will find that we are both walking with Someone else, Someone who I believe can make all the difference to a walk through Cancer Valley. Thank you.”