Monthly Archives: January 2012

Hamlet, Androids, Dreams and My Cancer

Yesterday I came across the blog oldermanyoungerman which touched me enormously, so much in fact that my wife asked why I was sniffing so much. Naturally, as a bluff, hale, no-nonsense Yorkshireman, I couldn’t admit to the tears which were about to gently roll down my cheeks, but the words which I’ve quoted below really got me thinking:

“Tomorrow I will lie on a table that will convey me, like an auto body part on a conveyor-belt in a factory, into a tube where I will be photographed and analysed. Not “I” but the body that I am, because the imaging will not record my terrifying thought that the cancer may still be there, nor will it pick up the sinking feeling of someday having to leave behind the man I love, nor the prayers I send up to St. Anthony and St. Michael–though I never pray that way on a normal day.

The pictures, when they are sent to the oncologist, will not show my dreams for the future, my plans for spending my days, for sitting in the sun reading, for playing with the dogs, for holding Mike tight to this too fragile heart.”

I found the images created by the blog to be as powerful as the images which may, by now, have been created by the PET scan. I’ve lain on the PET scan table where I felt more like a piece of luggage going through security at the airport and wondered, just as I’ve done at security, “Will they see something I’m unaware of? Something which appears to be a threat that I don’t know about?” Stupid thoughts at the airport where I’ve knowingly complied with all the restrictions but not on the PET scan table. Unlike the author of oldermanyoungerman I didn’t distinguish the “I” from “the body that I am”. I should have done that: I really should have done that. I accept the teachings of the Buddha and try to live according to the Dharma. In many ways, such as in this instance, I fail to achieve what I would like to achieve but there’s a teaching in there too, I think. Anyway, the reason I should have distinguished my “I” from “the body that I am” is because in Buddhism there is a meditation, which I’ve done many, many time, based on trying to find the “I”. I’ve tried to find something on-line which would explain it clearly but have been unable to do so, so, here goes. In essence the meditation involves considering your body as your I and asking yourself the question “If I lose a finger am I still my body, is my body still me and what is the missing finger? If I lose a second finger am I still my body?” and so on until the body has been thoroughly explored without at any time discovering just which part of your body contains your “I”, thus leading to the conclusion that “I” and “my body” are not the same thing at all. I’ve explained this extremely badly and can only apologise to Steve, and to Gandon “but my mum still calls me Malcolm”, for not being better able to express their valuable teachings, for which I was, and continue to be, very appreciative.

The part of oldermanyoungerman’s blog which perhaps got me thinking most was “The pictures, when they are sent to the oncologist, will not show my dreams for the future, my plans for spending my days, for sitting in the sun reading, for playing with the dogs, for holding Mike tight to this too fragile heart.” This, naturally, got me thinking of my own dreams. Of the future with my wife for which we’ve both waited for seven years while I tried to support my mum as her dementia worsened. (I think I actually heard my wife threaten to kill me before the cancer could if I was going to die and leave her behind after all this time spent waiting, but perhaps I misheard). Of my dreams of spending time with my daughters who have both given me so much support and so much to be proud of down the years and sharing, vicariously, in their future achievements. Of spending time with my grandchildren and delighting in their activities and their achievements. Of seeing my step-children go on to achieve success in their lives. Of discovering more of America – I’d love to do the Dave Gorman unchained trip across the USA – this really is possibly the funniest thing I have ever read (reading it on a trans-atlantic crossing my seat-buddy just had to know what the book was that was literally causing me to laugh out loud). Of walking once more on those fabulous Pennine Hills which have surrounded me for pretty much all my life and in which I’ve spent a fair bit of time walking, mountain biking and kayaking – if that makes me sound like Action Man you should immediately lose the image! I dreamed of sharing these pleasures with my grandkids and watching them take-off on their own. Those are my dreams! I was tempted for a moment to write “those were my dreams”, but I think I was correct the first time: they still are my dreams, however, oldermanyoungerman got me thinking how sad it must be for people who, for whatever reason, do not have dreams. Perhaps they have no dreams because they are so isolated, and this cancer thing can be very isolating even in the middle of a loving and supporting family! Perhaps they have no dreams because they know their life won’t extend that far. It was this last thought which really made me sad, and thoughtful, as I began to wonder what I would feel about losing my dreams if I were to be told, “Sorry, but you only have x months left to live”. That ‘x’ might, or might not, be enough time to go on a world tour and fit in everything I’ve ever wanted to do, but if you aren’t going to be able to remember the dream is it worth living it? In the strange and seemingly random manner in which my mind often seems to work (if work is indeed the correct verb!) my thoughts then jumped to Hamlet with his famous “to be or not to be” soliloquy which includes the words “For in that sleep of death what dreams may come“, and this made me wonder just what dreams we might take with us into, and perhaps even through, death? It also made me think of a book I’ve recently re-read by Philip K Dick, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

I can no more answer Philip K Dick’s question than I can Hamlet asking what dreams may come in death, but I do know that my dreams are important to me, and I know that having them will help me to come through this with the help of the medical profession and my loved ones (though not necessarily in that order) and that I will go on to dream more dreams and live them too.

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Filed under Buddhism, Cancer, Death, Dreams, Meditation

Definitely Classic Hodkgin’s Lymphoma – or is it?

Well, we now have a definite diagnosis of Lymphocitic Classic Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, or at least we probably do as my oncologist has asked for the biopsy to be sent to Washington for confirmation as it seems that, if I do have this, then it is a “rare sub-type” and clearly we want to get the medication correct.

The medication scares me more than a little. If I’ve correctly understood what the oncologist has told me and what I have read, then I can expect the medicine to damage my heart and to have a lasting effect on my lungs. At the time the doctor was telling me this my thoughts were pretty much along the lines of “well, at least I will be alive!”, but now, almost a week later some of the reality of the changes are beginning to make me think a little. I will have to try to keep out of strong sunlight (easy-peasy in Florida!) so long sleeves, long trousers and a broad brimmed hat are a relatively easy compromise to make I guess though I have enjoyed just bumming around in t-shirt, shorts and sandals. Wearing sun screen I can accommodate to fairly easily as well I think though I still associate its feel and smell with family holidays on Yorkshire’s East Coast with the wind blowing the sand enough to stick to my skin in an unpleasant way and my feeling all sticky from the cream as well – yuk!! When the doctor explained that there could/will be damage to my heart from the chemotherapy I never thought to ask what the consequences of that might be; well you don’t do you, you’re just glad to be told that you are going to live! Does that damage mean that my heart isn’t going to be able to keep me going for a walk in the Pennines when I get back to Yorkshire or even worse, will the damage be such that I won’t even be able to go for a walk around here where it’s more or less as flat as a pancake? Does the damage mean that my heart will wear out before it would have done otherwise? Will I be able to exercise at a gym as normal (well as normal as normal was when I used to go regularly) or does it mean that I will have to exercise at a lower intensity or not at all? To what extent will the damage to my lungs impact on that? It seems that one of the drugs I will be given wil have a permanent impact on my lungs, such that, if anyone wants me to have oxygen I will need to tell them about the drug. I never thought to ask what would happen if I didn’t. Since then other thoughts occur. It’s all very well having a tag attached to me which says that I’ve had the drug provided I’m in a situation where either I can point it out or the someone will discover it for themselves, but, what, for instance, might happen if I was on an aeroplane and passed out so that cabin crew wanted to give me oxygen? Should I tell them of my problem before we take off?

A friend of mine who has recovered from cancer suggests I take up a new hobby during the period I will be receiving chemotherapy, but I’m not sure what that might be. I enjoy reading but I already do that. I enjoy working on the computer but I already do that. I enjoy walking around the local conservation lake but won’t be able to do that so what will I do to replace it I wonder? I’ve always been reasonably active, playing football, mountain biking, squash, badminton, table-tennis, kayaking, swimming and so on, so, even though the frequency and intensity of these activities has reduced as I’ve aged, I won’t be able to do any of them for, at least, a while and possibly not at all depending upon the answers to the questions I’ve raised above. I loved playing board games when I was younger but we have a pair of cats who really don’t understand that some surfaces just shouldn’t be used for jumping on to so I doubt that board games can really come back into my life in any sort of way at the present. If anyone does read this blog and does have (sensible) suggestions then I’d love to hear them.

Other than that life moves on in its own sweet way. Once again this week we have huge stress from an outside source which, because of my own self-imposed rules, I can’t write about, but we are all doing what we can to mitigate the impact and working towards addressing the cause.

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Filed under Cancer, chemotherapy, Hodgkins Lymphoma, sun screen

NHS Part 3

A friend of mine in the UK sent me this link to an article in The Guardian “NHS plans for credit rating agencies to vet hospitals” – it’s an interesting article and well worth reading.

So, what’s it all about? Perhaps it is my own personal view of politicians being unwilling to accept responsibility but, it seems to me, that this is another one of those “we’re only responsible for the funding and not the quality of the delivery” moves. My guess is that we’ll see hospitals declared to be a financial risk by organisations which Joe Farrington Douglas (an Associate Fellow of The Institute for Public Policy Research) termed “key enablers of the financial meltdown” and then what? Surely the options after such a declaration are few and far between.
(1) The Government could simply say “So what? It is doing an excellent clinical job and we will fund it regardless of the financial risk as assessed by these bodies!” Yes, you can just see that happening can’t you?
(2) The hospital is closed, staff loose their jobs and patients have to travel to a hospital in another town or city. It has to be said this sort of thing has happened before and politicians have ridden out the storm, but then it’s generally just been a department that has closed, such as the stroke unit at Darlington. The headline in The Northern Echo is “Darlington hospital stroke unit closure ignites fresh row“, or residents of Rochdale being told not to go their own hospital in an emergency but to one in Bury, Oldham or Manchester.
(3) The private sector might just be invited to step in and take over the facility along the lines of “failing schools”. This extract from a NASUWT publication is, perhaps, an indication of the way things might also progress in the NHS
“Currently, in the state education service, the private sector is involved in:
• sponsorship of and direct investment in schools and their activities;
• the provision and management of local authority services;
• the provision of services for schools;
• Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and Public Private Partnerships (PPP);
• the management of state-funded schools – Academies”

So, which of these are possible in terms of NHS hospitals? Clearly sponsorship is a possibility. With that sponsorship could well come a specialty within the hospital, such as, cancer, or diabetes or pretty much anything else. Would that be good or bad? As with most things, it may depend, and we should perhaps not make a decision too early. It would, surely, be “a good thing” if there was increasing expertise within a hospital, but if that expertise came at the expense of a reduction in the width of other provision, say the Accident and Emergency facility, would that still be a good thing? Presumably it wouldn’t be a good thing if, like the citizens of Rochdale you have to take your injured child several miles further than you otherwise would, particularly if, as is often the case, time is of the essence in effecting a treatment. Paramedics are very well trained and do an excellent job but they simply don’t have the resources of a hospital available to them as they make the 5 miles journey along the B6222 on a wet February night. Maybe it would be the provision and management of the hospital services themselves, but, isn;t this already something that can happen? The provision of services for the hospital might well an alternative along the lines of “We no longer provide x-ray scans here madam, please take your child to the XYA clinic five miles away”. It sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Maybe but that’s effectively what my wife’s health insurance policy provides for us. We can use an in-hospital facility but if we do then we are charged significantly more than our co-pay in an in-policy but not hospital facility down the road.

My guess, and that’s all it can be as I am certainly not aware of ongoing government thoughts on this, is that there will be two main possibilities, the first being that the hospital is simply taken over by another provider which charges the NHS for the services it renders, or that expensive services are contracted out and the hospital/NHS is charged accordingly. Is there anything really wrong in this? In one sense, no, there’s nothing wrong with it as might well enable a higher standard of care than the NHS is funded to provide at the present time, but in another sense, yes, there is something very wrong with it, and, until you’ve experienced the wrongness of being told you have a potentially life threatening problem and you should go home, consult your insurance company, the internet and then make an appointment to see a doctor, you probably won’t think of it, but believe me, that scenario is about as wrong as it gets. I couldn’t have done it – well I suppose I could but as a total novice in this system I freely acknowledge that I was out of my depth.

Something of a follow-up

This report by the BBC caught my eye yesterday. It seems to be clearly stating that the NHS got a bad report because only a limited data-set was examined! No-one seems to have been willing to stand up and criticise the original report. I wonder why?

Something more of a follow-up

Here’s a petition you might like to check out http://www.38degrees.org.uk/NHS-petition

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NHS v Privatisation Part 2

A while I go I wrote about the controversy of privatising the NHS and I made reference to the financial implications of insurance which expects the insured to make, in American parlance, a “co-pay”. So, I went for a biopsy which naturally involved the surgeon, anesthetist, nursing staff and the use of the hospital facilities, so, naturally, you’d expect to make a co-pay wouldn’t you? The question is, how many co-pays would you expect to make for one operation? To my, naive mind (I’d never call it an innocent mind!) I’d have expected to make just the one co-pay of $40 but it seems it isn’t going to work out that way and the bills will be individual to make it easier for us to make the several co-pays.

Don’t let them dismantle the NHS and replace it with American style health insurance. The increased choice and competition you get seems to me to be more apparent than real, the problem is that those pushing the changes would most probably subscribe to the phrase “Perception is more important than reality” – now doesn’t that just sound like a typical government approach?

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Friday the 13th Part 2

For many years I’ve not liked Friday the 13th, that was always the day on which things went wrong. Not disastrously wrong in a life changing sort of way but wrong nevertheless. Just to be clear things also went wrong on the other 364 days not just when Friday fell on the 13th. Just to be clear about something else, this piece includes the “Part 2” simply because I already wrote one piece entitled Friday the 13th but then trashed it in a moment of frustration.

So why is it that on what is now Sunday the 15th I’m writing about what happened on the 13th? The simple answer is that I just didn’t get around to doing it earlier so now is as good a time as any other, and as I can’t sleep despite the hour it’s possibly a better time than any other right now.

This Friday 13th was the first day I’ve been out of the house to do anything other than see medical people since I had the biopsy. Prior to that I’d been going into the school at which my wife works to work with some of the kids on a 1:1 basis and to join others in PBS activities but hadn’t gone in since the biopsy as I had the large dressing on my neck. One of the students approached me and asked why I hadn’t been in to school recently and I explained it was because I’d had a problem with my neck and needed surgery. His reaction stunned me. He asked if I’d been shot! I think that, for me, more than anything else I’ve seen or heard in the eight or so years I’ve been going into that school, showed me the kind of lifestyle these young people have to live within. It made me question once again whether a society in which some people are hugely rewarded and seem to abuse the privilege by avoiding taxes is one of which we can be proud when there are so many social issues to be addressed which are not simply because there isn’t enough cash in the treasury’s coffers, although strangely there always seems to be enough to buy more guns, bullets, bombs etc to fight a foreign war.

Anyway, my lab test results had still not come through so I phoned the doctor’s office to ask about them and they hadn’t had them either. Jamie promised to chase them up and did so and phoned me back. The news was that the second opinion had been received but it differed from the first so the sample has gone off for a third opinion. It seems that both pathologists agree that it is Hodgkins Lymphoma but not which type. Now, this was news to me. I didn’t know there were different types of Hodgkins but there are – four of them and details can, of course, be found in Wikipedia. Wikipedia does a better job of explaining Hodgkins than I could possibly do so I’m not going to repeat things here. Despite being a month into this, tonight, or rather, this morning, is the first time I’ve really looked at the symptoms and it’s surprising how few of them I have. Wikipedia gives the following list of symptoms (I’ve edited them for brevity so please follow the link for full details):
“Lymph nodes: The nodes may also feel rubbery and swollen when examined. The nodes of the neck and shoulders (cervical and supraclavicular) are most frequently involved (80–90% of the time, on average). The lymph nodes of the chest are often affected, and these may be noticed on a chest radiograph.” Well, yes, lymph nodes in my neck are swollen.
“Itchy Skin” No, I’ve not had this, though, naturally enough, I need to scratch my left leg at this precise moment!
“Night sweats” There were a couple of nights maybe six or seven weeks ago now when I woke up sweating in the night but then this is Florida.
Unexplained weight loss” When I first came to Florida almost nine months ago now I began to lose weight but it was at a steady rate of a pound or so each week for a couple of months, but then it stopped and, if anything I’ve probably put on a pound or two lately.
“Splenomegaly: enlargement of the spleen occurs in about 30% of people with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The enlargement, however, is seldom massive and the size of the spleen may fluctuate during the course of treatment.” Now, this would explain why doctors have been prodding, poking and squeezing me, but so far as I know I don’t have an enlarged spleen.
“Hepatomegaly: enlargement of the liver, due to liver involvement, is present in about 5% of cases.” Likewise with the liver, so far as I know it is just fine and dandy.
“Hepatosplenomegaly: the enlargement of both the liver and spleen caused by the same disease.”If I don’t have either then, clearly, I can’t have both.
“Pain following alcohol consumption: classically, involved nodes are painful after alcohol consumption, though this phenomenon is very uncommon, occurring in only two to three percent of people with Hodgkin’s lymphoma… The pain typically has an onset within minutes after ingesting alcohol, and is usually felt as coming from the vicinity where there is an involved lymph node. The pain has been described as either sharp and stabbing or dull and aching.” I’m not a big drinker, nor am I a frequent drinker but over Christmas I had a couple of beers and a couple of glasses of wine without feeling any discomfort at all – not even the next morning!
“Back pain: nonspecific back pain … has been reported in some cases of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The lower back is most often affected.”
“Red-coloured patches on the skin, easy bleeding and petechiae due to low platelet count…”None of these at all.
Given all of this I’m beginning to wonder whether the provisional diagnosis was in fact correct: my oncologist actually commented to the effect that he’d thought it would be identified as non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. One of the surgeons was explaining to me the difficulty of making a pathology decision as to type because of the difficulty of discovering the cancer cells which are wrapped in others and which ca be easily overlooked. So, perhaps it is as well to have a third opinion before we start treatment.

What else was there for Friday the 13th? Our attorney’s office called to say that they had received a letter from the Immigration Service to the effect that my appointment has had to be cancelled due to, and I can’t actually remember which of these it is, either “unforeseen circumstances” or “circumstances beyond our control”. As the interview with the immigration service was to be in the morning of the day on which I might begin chemotherapy I was hoping to deal with it and have it out of the way before the side-effects of chemo make what should be a straightforward interview a tiring and perhaps even daunting challenge to be overcome only with significant physical and mental effort, not to mention the doctor’s warning that I will need to stay away from people who are ill and where better than to encounter strange germs than in a government office dealing with immigrants?

Then it was off for my PFT, a test of the ability of my lungs to breath efficiently. Al, who did the test, was a great guy and asked if I would object to a student being present during the tests in order that the student could see how it was done in practice rather than just reading about it in a book. Naturally I had no problems with that, people have to learn and there’s rarely a better way of learning how to do something than actually doing it but, if you can’t actually do it yourself, seeing someone else do it is a reasonable second place. So, where was the student? Good question. He was late. He’d used the same satnav/gps we had used and it had taken him to the wrong place too. Not far away but pointing in the wrong direction to see the hospital. Anyway Al and I had made a start when the student arrived and things were good from there on and seem to confirm my theory that, apart from this blasted lump on my neck I’m pretty healthy for someone of my age.

The emotional strain of supporting each other is beginning to take its toll though. Despite the cancer having brought my wife and I even closer together the strain of trying to be cheerful and supportive of each other is making us both edgy as it drains our resources. On top of that there are some differences of opinion. My wife thinks we should find support groups, either on line or real ones in order that we may gain insight and information. On the other hand I really, really don’t want to do that and I’m not totally sure why not. I think there are a couple of reasons at least. The first is that if I want specific information on a treatment I can go tot he web and look it up on a reputable site and know that it is probably up to date so what need of a support group there? The second is, I think much more nebulous. I don’t really feel the need to reach out to anyone other than family right now. I know I am supported and surrounded by love from family and friends and that prayers are being said by friends of differing denominations and creeds to seemingly different gods so I really don’t see what I would gain from being involved with strangers at this point. The third one comes down, I suppose, to thinking I know what is coming for me up ahead and either not wanting to know or believing that I already know. I have friends who have survived cancer, and I’ve had friends and family who haven’t so I think I am at least sufficiently informed at the moment, and as the oncologist said “That’s a conversation for the future.” Maybe that’s why I don’t want to join a support group, they are about the present and I want to look to my future. That sounds very judgemental of me particularly as I haven’t been on any such sites to find out for myself, and that’s my failure not theirs. I suppose what it comes down to is that I have faith in my medical advisers and I’m certain of the love and support of friends and I don’t see what more I could really ask for. Having said that, then it seems pertinent to ask why I’m writing this blog, and I have to admit I don’t have an answer for that!

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Einstein, cancer and me.

All the advice on writing blogs is to give them a snappy, interesting title. This one isn’t but it suits my mood tonight.

From what I understand of Einstein’s theory relating to time and light, the faster a body moves then the slower the world/universe is seen to move around them. I think the usual model given here is that of a train where the passengers perceive actions outside the train as being slower, and those outside the train see things on the train as happening more speedily – science fiction films often use some kind of strobe effect to show this. Well, life with an unconfirmed diagnosis of cancer is a bit like that, it feels as though my wife and I are experiencing time at a different speed to the rest of the world whenever my cancer is an issue – which it is most of the time. Let me give you an example. I went to the surgeon’s office last Thursday, some six days after the biopsy sample had been taken, and the doctor we saw had his staff chasing up the lab to try and get the results of the biopsy faxed over from the lab – he was moving at the same speed as my wife and I, the lab wasn’t, to them, it seems as though time was moving at a normal rate and we had been accelerated, to us it was the other way around. I’m due to visit the surgeon again tomorrow, Tuesday, for more post-op checks and when we’d last seen him he was hopeful that the lab would have sent over the results but when I phoned today the results had yet to arrive and his office staff were still chasing the lab to try to get them, so once again a difference in the way we experience the speed at which time passes.

Why is time passing more quickly for us? I guess it is because we are measuring the passing days against a potentially accelerated death with each day being a larger and larger proportion of that unknown time, whereas the lab is simply saying “This test takes x days and when it’s done it’s done, sorry”.

The good news tonight is that when my wife removed the pad from my dressing there had been no more bleeding. The bad news is that the lump seems harder than it did the last time we could feel it and, according to my wife, it also seems more pronounced. I agree it feels a little harder, though after not touching it for over a week it is difficult to be sure, and as to it having grown, I really couldn’t say as, having had some of it cut away it is a different shape. This visual and tactile inspection of the lump has lead to a further increase in speed of the passage of time for my wife who is now desperate to get the lab results so that, if treatment is necessary, it can start at once as she believes this thing is growing and possibly spreading.

Maybe we’ll find out tomorrow.

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Stress and Cancer

Everything I’ve read about cancer and its treatment states that peace and calm are healing qualities, but how do you go about getting them?

Last night I flared up over something and nothing in the supermarket, and that was after a good day in which the doctor had said I was healing well following which we’d called for English style fish and chips in the Kings Head Pub on North University Drive (which really does have a good feel to it), so I was feeling good and positive and then BAM!!!, from out of nowhere. From out my own inner tension is probably a much better and more honest answer. How does one come down from such a situation? Well, a good starting point is an apology which I duly made, but, effective though that might be, it does nothing to quell the chemicals coursing around my body or the electrical surges around my brain or the winds which really do toss my mind at such times. My answer was meditation, it’s something I’ve been doing now for a good many years, and, when I get it right, I feel some sort of tickle inside my skull, it’s a very pleasant calming sensation and one which I never really understood, however, yesterday I read this article from the BBC which really made me wonder whether what I’ve been feeling are these changing electrical patterns. Anyone out there with the ability to test me for free please let me know!
So, to get back on point, I did a long and, I think, very beneficial meditation upon the breath which left me calm enough to enjoy a long night’s sleep, around 9 hours I think which is very rare for me.

Today the question of how you go about getting peace and calm raised itself once again, not from me, or from my wife, but from an external source and I find myself wondering, how does one insulate oneself from the chaos which can be introduced by a third party, a third party with emotional needs which can be both overwhelming and all-consuming? The easy answer of course is just to cut off and say “No involvement” but, short of going and becoming a hermit – something which I fear I am constitutionally unsuited to doing as I am most definitely a “people-person” – that won’t work, and it seems to me that if Buddhism has anything inherently valuable it is in enabling one to live in and interact positively with the world – to interbe as Tich Nhat Han says, and believe me I do want to interbe with the world. I am of the world, in the world, and have no wish to leave it any sooner than needs be. So, withdrawing from the world is not for me and I suppose the answer therefore lies in developing my own mind in such a way that when next this whirlpool of emotional destruction hurtles upon me my mind will be strong enough and relaxed enough to remain calm and to be calm for those around me.

This is the first time I’ve written something in the blog which I didn’t really find satisfactory, but then perhaps that’s a consequence of the turmoil I feel at the moment, so, off to meditation I guess.

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