Latest posts by Martin Moodie (see all)
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Don’t let us get sick
Don’t let us get old
Don’t let us get stupid, all right?
Just make us be brave
And make us play nice
And let us be together tonight
– Don’t Let us Get Sick, Warren Zevon
I return to my old friend Zevon for inspiration as the moment comes to take some time out from The Moodie Report.
Tomorrow morning I will enter the Royal Marsden Hospital in London for the gastrectomy operation that has been on the cards since I was first diagnosed with stomach cancer in June.
During the long intervening months, I have discovered something wonderful through the reaction to this Blog. On the one hand I have been overwhelmed by the sheer human kindness I have encountered, manifested in scores of e-mails and phone calls designed to provide support and lend reassurance.
On the other, it’s nice to know that my sentiments have helped others, as I am assured by many people that they have. My inbox has been packed to bursting with original writing full of richness and emotion, deeply moving anecdotes and numerous contributions of poems and literary excerpts.
Tonight it’s time to take stock, to be thankful for the richness of my life and the love and friendship I have been blessed with. It’s also time to put the trepidation aside and just relax a little. My beloved Sauvignon Blanc may be off-limits for a while from tomorrow so I’m partaking while I can of an excellent Pouilly Fume and just a dash of Marlborough Pinot Noir to top it off – what the heck, I reckon I can sleep off the hangover during the next couple of days.
My stomach is full of butterflies. After tomorrow I will have neither (a bit drastic as a remedy for nerves but there you go…). But equally, neither will I have cancer inside me. I am one of the lucky ones for whom this beast of a disease is operable and potentially curable. If you are blessed with such a lucky break you owe it to yourself, to fellow sufferers and in fact to everyone to make the most of it.
In hospital, all going well, I hope to return to this Blog via my cool new iPad, the kindest of gifts from Ed and Debbie Brennan, two of the most wonderful people it has been my privilege to know.
Last week I interviewed Ed for a special book we are producing on behalf of DFS in this its 50th anniversary year. Ed will not mind me sharing what he says is one of the key factors in shaping the values that have driven him during his tenure at DFS – namely his own succesful battle with cancer a decade ago.
“I went through surgery and through treatment and was proud to join the cancer survival club,” he recalls. “As difficult as that was to go through, it absolutely helped me reframe my priorities, and to better balance my life as regards to work, family, supporting others and really focusing on the charitable endeavours that I am able to do today.”
What fine words from a fine man. A captain of industry who I saw just a few months ago helping to unload relief supplies from the back of a truck in Cité Soleil, the poorest and most dangerous place in Haiti. A man, therefore, who knows what matters in life.
I hope that my own battle with this wretched illness will also reshape me for the better. Certainly it has given me much cause for reflection on the human condition and, perversely therefore, much joy.
I’ll close by returning to the lyrics of Warren Zevon, words that I have quoted before in this Blog:
The moon has a face
And it smiles on the lake
And causes the ripples in time
I’m lucky to be here
With someone I like
Who maketh my spirit to shine.
There are many someones out there who maketh my spirit to shine.
Enough philosophising. It’s time to focus on more pressing matters. And time, to misuse industry parlance, to be free of duty for a while.