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Today has seen very little walking and only a very short swim, but loads and loads of work done on top of a most wonderful realisation.

The Gale force winds today kept most activity firmly locked inside so morning prayer was done in my bedroom on the keyboard. I was playing great and praying great until I read Psalm 30, at which time a lump became well and truly stuck in my throat.

A song of praise celebrating the Lord’s deliverance from the threat of death brought on by illness and written by King David, King of Judah. The parallels are what struck me dumb:

“I will exalt you, Lord,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
2 Lord my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.
3 You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
you spared me from going down to the pit.
4 Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name.
5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favour lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
6 When I felt secure, I said,
‘I shall never be shaken.’
7 Lord, when you favoured me,
you made my royal mountain[c] stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.
8 To you, Lord, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:
9 ‘What is gained if I am silenced,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
10 Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
Lord, be my help.’
11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you for ever.”

It will be some time, quite some time before this enormous canvas bag can be removed from my neck but, like David’s sackcloth, it will be removed.

I continued with some admin and then went for a swim. I had been nervous of swimming since suffering seizures triggered by the very smell of chlorine during treatment. I was getting better but since the seizures in October on return from South Africa I have been nervous again and avoided the pool. I have been saved from the pit so I shouldn’t be feared of the water. Instead I should do what I had been previously doing, confronting my fears and defeating them and all that manifested them. So I went to the pool. I spoke to the lifeguard and explained my epilepsy. I reassured her that it was under control now but I had been sensitive to chlorine so I was just going to start very slowly. 2 lengths (50metres) breaststroke and out to see what happens. She thanked me for letting her know then promised to keep a close eye on me. I jumped in and swam. My muscle memory for swimming had gone, but I can get that back and, most importantly, I swam the 50 metres with deep dives at each turn with no problems!

Back at Allie’s flat I prepared some tenderstem broccoli, carrots, grapes and exploding cherry tomatoes for lunch, while Allie cut up the leftover most excellent frittata made with egg, sweet potatoes, spinach, garlic, onion, and turmeric from the night before and sat it on a bed of rocket, spinach and watercress salad. The wind was gusting to extremes and fetching the most wonderful waves which were crashing onto the breakwater below us. We took our plates and sat at the French windows watching this angry sea, while the gulls glided so gracefully above, riding the winds with such expert precision. Then we saw two tugs battling with a bright green container ship in these high winds to keep it on a straight course, in the restricted waters of the Firth of Forth and lead it in to safe water. Again the parallels were stark, and as we sat there eating our frittata and vegetables enjoying this wonderful view as the sea spray from each wave smashing into the tugs threatened to engulf them, yet still they kept their ropes attached and at no time threatened to abandon this ship to its fate on the rocks. I was reminded of the importance of team work: how I would never have made it this far without help and support, how I wouldn’t be sitting here today without the incredible team of the NHS Western General Hospital Oncology team, who, when coupled with my faith brought me up from the realm of the dead, while the support of my wonderful family and friends and Allie, coupled with the focus of the challenge, kept my head above water and the strength to keep swimming. We are quite a team, all of us.

A winning team, and I was especially enjoying lunch and life today.

Yours aye

Archie

Deo Juvante
BtB!