Today has been a day full of hope and flatulence. It has been one of those days in which all the converging streams of influence on ones life come together in a turbulent flurry of information and activity to mix together before flowing out and onwards towards the end of the day as a slow and tranquil river taking with it, as it flows gently downstream towards new life, the little fragile bubbles of hopes and dreams shaped by the turbulence that formed the river. However, lurking unseen in the dark depths of the river, hunting out the fragile bubbles of hopes and dreams is the dark monster of hopelessness driven forward by the dark forces of negativity and despair. Yet surging forward with great big solid sideways sweeping movements of it’s long, thick and powerful tale is the far bigger and hungrier force of determination and desire being ridden hard, guided and energised by the positive energy of faith, family and friends. With such support and direction determination and desire gobbles up hopelessness and, on as large a bow wave as determination and desire can generate is driven the growing bubbles of hopes and dreams towards a future of inspiration for a new life. 

Through this short image I seek to paint the picture of what the journey for me over the last 2 years has felt like while showing that with the unstinting support offered by my faith, family and friends we have gobbled up that lurking hopelessness and generated instead positive hopes for a future. Not just for me but for the many who suffer similar or far worse journeys. 

Today – the results of the MRI scan were as good as we could have hoped for at this stage in the treatment in that the tumour has not grown, not even by a teeny weeny bit. Not one jot. Clearly this is fantastic news not just for me but, remembering that I am on this European Trial, if we can maintain such positive results and keep the beast asleep, or even better shrink it or kill it, that through all the detailed monitoring, testing and reporting that the hospital does we can provide evidence for improved outcomes in such a course of treatment but most importantly provide growing hope to pull others through to more positive outcomes assisted by determination and desire guided and energised by the positive support of faith, family and friends towards a more positive future. I talked earlier about the turbulence of influences and information coming together to eventually create a river on which the day flows and quite remarkably that image was reinforced by a phonecall from the challenge bank manager Phil just before I went in to the hospital for my clinic. He had, some time ago, written a poem all about hope and thought, as I went in for my results, that I might like to read it. Wow – how right he was. What a great poem and again Phil I find myself thanking you for reminding me just how important hope is. I include the link to the poem here for those who might like to read it also.


Hope is a cloud, the size of a man’s hand,
Hope is a burial plot in a distant promised land,
Hope is a dream while you languish in a jail,
Hope is a song that lifts spirits when you fail

Hope is a royal seal set upon a King’s decree,
Hope is a baby saved to set his people free,
Hope is a shepherd boy who defies a giant’s yell,
Hope is a prostitute who hides spies inside a well.

Hope brings comfort, hope is kind, Hope turns water into wine.

Hope defies all reason,
Hope ignores the facts,
Hope is a coin in a fish’s mouth When it’s time to pay your tax!

Hope doesn’t know when it’s beaten,
Hope doesn’t give up the fight, Hope gives you strength when you’re weakest,
Hope turns your darkness to light

Hope can walk on water,
Hope makes you jump out the boat, Hope opens eyes of the blind man, Hope makes an axe-head to float!
Hope will stand beside you
When you’re thrown into the flame, Hope can sleep through thunderstorms
And command the wind and rain

Hope lowers a paralysed man Through a hole in someone’s roof, Hope discards all circumstance
And believes upon the Truth!

Hope is a hug, hope is a word, Hope is a smile, hope is absurd!

Hope always perseveres
But never counts the cost,
Hope leaves behind the ninety-nine To find the one that’s lost,

Hope is a loving Father
Waiting for his long lost son, Hope is the weakling in the tribe Crying out, “the battle’s won!”

Hope is a wounded Saviour
Hanging on a cruel tree,
Hope cries “Father, forgive them! They’re so blind, they cannot see!”

Hope breathes life into coldest tomb,
Hope breathes life into barren womb

Hope is resurrection,
The Way, the Truth, the Life,
Hope accepts you completely
When you’re suffering with strife

Hope, His name is Jesus,
Hope, this is my song,
For He lifts my head and wipes my tear,
And rectifies each wrong,

Hope is my Redeemer,
Hope, my coming King,
Hope, my raison d’être,
Hope, my everything!

P J Deakin 2014 ©

On the way back to the station after the clinic, as I reflected on the good news received today, and how the river was flowing I realised that it truly was a beautiful day and should I have been in any doubt about the strengthening effect of positive energy and friendly faces something told me to get off the bus and walk. The sun was out and there was a real energy in the bustle of so many happy people on Princess Street as they chatted excitedly, in their own tongues, about the many glorious sites such a beautiful city as Edinburgh reveals at every turn. As I became lost in the mass of people I was suddenly accosted by the larger than life Sophie Peil who positively glowed with the love of life as she gave a most excellent pitch for the great charity ‘Plan’. I listened, captivated, sipping my celebration mocha as the city passed me by and then placed her onto my bow wave with a flyer and the securing of a promise to look me up. It was my last flyer but a flyer well spent I guarantee it. Welcome on to the journey Sophie!! Then as I moved towards Waverley Station the Irish love of life beamed from the all encompassing Caoimhe (pronounced quaver) as she stepped on to my platform. I hadn’t arrived at Waverley but Caoimhe was caught right up in my bow wave and after giving her a hastily written scrap of paper Caoimhe was officially on the journey with us. Welcome Caoimhe!! I caught the train, all was quiet, I arrived at Dunblane without incident and then Caroline Barrowman, next to whom I had been sat scribbling this post the whole way from Edinburgh, looked up at me as I put on my jacket, and smiled. I couldn’t ignore such a warm and welcoming face. I had run out of flyers so out came the notebook and another scribbled note was handed over. I very much hope you join me on this journey Caroline.

Another picture from Day 36 of the Beat the Beast Challenge, over looking Loch Ness Another picture from Day 36 of the Beat the Beast Challenge, over looking Loch Ness

And so onwards flow my hopes and dreams driven by the bow wave of the unstoppable force of determination and desire guided and energised by faith, family and friends. I very much pray that those who choose to bathe in the tranquil river get swept up on the bow wave with my hopes and dreams and are carried far down stream towards a happier and healthier future.

Well that is my attempt at deep thought with meaning painted by a simile over. I think I write better when all I have to do is tell the story. After all the truth on this journey so far has been far stranger than any fiction I could have dreamed up!! But today has been a wonderful day of good news and delightful people met. I talked yesterday about the delights of the NHS through the Forth Valley Royal Hospital and how lucky we are to have the NHS. I would like to reiterate that point through the Western General Hospital. I have been looked after so beautifully by Dr Erridge, Kirsty, Penny, Gill and the wider team. Never rushed despite the heavy workload they carry I have never felt lacking in support and have in fact had the immediate support of a first rate team available at the touch of a button. In fact I believe that I was accepted on this trial by the tenacity of Dr Erridge arguing my case for acceptance with the European Cancer Centre. Thank you all for your professionalism, care and attention in my continuing treatment. 

Finally in the introduction to his post I mentioned flatulence. I have found that eating copious quantities of vegetables comes with it a certain gaseous consequence. Today I discovered the sheer joy of relief available when walking along the pavement next to the bus lane in order to mask the unmistakable tell tale signs of noise and smell on discharge. I leave you with that delightful image!!

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. Have a lovely evening.

Yours aye