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Where Were You When?
Life is full of those ‘where were you when’ moments. Small passages of time that freeze in our memories bringing extreme joy, sadness, fear, terror, or loathing.
30th May 1979 is one that often pops up for me. Olympia Stadium, Munich. A warm, balmy evening. Just on the stroke of half time, John Robertson saunters down the wing with the ball, turning two Swedish defenders inside and out. Reaching the edge of the box, he momentarily looks up before delivering a perfect cross, met with equal perfection by Trevor Francis, who, with a salmon-esque leap, sends the ball crashing into the top of the goal.
What a moment of extreme euphoria for an eleven-year-old Forest-mad football fan. My local team, who less than two years earlier were plying their trade in the lower echelons of the English football league, were now Champions of Europe.
Fast forward to another significant date. 24th March 2016. I’m sitting with my wife in a doctors’ room, looking up at the white NHS clock hanging high on the wall. Time check: 3pm.
The consultant leans across the desk, making direct eye contact so I can be in no doubt as to his seriousness. ‘I’m sorry to tell you Mr Davies, but our tests at this time seem to indicate you have leukaemia, we think specifically acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.’
Looking back on the moment recently, I realised that this doctors’ room discussion, still so clear in my mind, happened four years ago. I have now been in the cancer process for over four years. How fast the time has gone.
And now, I have a new moment in time. A memory of opening the letter from the health authorities on 21st March 2020. It informed me I was a ‘high risk’ individual to the vagaries of Covid-19. I was expected to remain at home for at least the next twelve weeks.
Coping with Covid-19
Many people seem to be having a really hard time getting to grips with how to work through these months. The internet is buzzing with nothing but Coronavirus news.
As a person who has spent many weeks in isolation during treatment, another three months doing it all over again doesn’t faze me in the least. Do many fellow patients feel the same?
My strategy to deal with isolation and struggles is always the same… exercise. It is just a matter of adapting how I train. This change will define my time at home.
As a keen cyclist, the main change has been to hook my bike up to a turbo trainer so I can still ride from the comfort of my garden. I have a set of free weights which I’ve dusted down and got back into regular use – twice daily. Morning and evening this plan gives me a focus and some goals to aim at and to achieve.
The secret in my view of working through any period of isolation is most definitely to keep busy. I’ve started to work on clearing and finally sorting out the garden, which we’re so lucky to have.
When this period in all of our lives is over and we have consigned it to history we will recall these days from time to time. As a collective, it will become yet another, ‘Where were you when?’ moment.
March 2016 Diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
February 2018 Relapse
July 2018 Remission following CAR T-Cell trial
July 2020 Two years in remission target
The journey continues...
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