Thursday, 24 May 2012

Sibylla would have been proud; at least I hope she would. I was trying my damnedest to pull off a half decent "Sun salutation" in the middle of Regents Park whilst being filmed by a Macmillan film crew. Having only ever done yoga in the privacy of my own lounge, I find it a relaxing introduction to the day but I'm sure my technique and posture is far from that achieved by a true yoga junky typically to be found, at least in most clichés,  balancing on one leg, the other behind their head in perfect pose on a tranquil beach; the sea lapping gently against the distant shore.

It has been sometime since I posted anything on this blog although it still seems to still get regular traffic. For the benefit of those whom I don’t keep in touch with regularly or those that have found this site in the hunt for information on HCL having just been diagnosed then, by way of an update, I can happily state that two years on from treatment I am still in remission.

Although this is, what I term ‘ the scary year’ – that being the one where most HCL survivors seem to relapse or get diagnosed with a secondary cancer – I sometimes find almost a whole day can pass with me not having thought about it. Slowly, slowly, the whole thing ebbs away into the background and ceases to become the most central thing on one’s mind.

There are two key reasons for this: One is having “A Small”. By far one of the most distracting things anyone can introduce into their life is a child. In my case a Daughter but I’m assuming that Son’s also work. As a distraction from cancer and its related fallout these are ideal to have around but being complex to create, and expensive to maintain, they are not for everyone.

The second reason for my almost constant optimism, and one that is far more accessible to anyone who has gone through chemotherapy, is exercise. Regular exercise. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Nothing has helped my life after chemotherapy with regard to wellbeing and especially mood more than exercise.

Since my treatment finished I’ve been in regular contact with a number of cancer related charities, mainly Macmillan. I’ve reviewed books that might be used by others going through similar situations. I’ve read a few leaflets and documents as they go through the publishing process to offer thoughts on how useful they might be or how, as far as I’m concerned, they might be improved. I’m one of many, many people who do this and if you are interested it is worth signing up as a Macmillan Voice to help out where you can.

As part of this contact with Macmillan I, along with two others, were interviewed for a video on physical activity and how it had helped them in their recovery from cancer treatment. This video was filmed some time ago as part of a much wider campaign on staying active that, for all the effort that went into it, sadly got lost in the press under the sheer weight of the news covering riots that  struck a number of towns and cities across the UK last summer.

Some of that campaign appears to be being re-launched and along with it a cut of the video I was interviewed for. Macmillan’s YouTube channel is well worth checking out and if you’re just trying to come to terms with a diagnosis then their website and leaflets contain some excellent information. Even if they are not always very good at advertising the fact.

One of the people I don’t keep up with regularly is Sibylla and I hope she is one of the handful of people who still pop by and check this out. If only to see me trying to do her proud by pulling some nifty yoga moves in Regents Park as part of this video. Years after being introduced to it at her fantastic retreat in Plymouth I still do it, although not as regularly as I’d like. I came upon yoga long before I was diagnosed and yet it was the one activity I felt I could still do even on my weakest days.   


  1. Looking very fit! You put me to shame, Richard. I need to make time in my life again for some exercise: I know those endorphins really do work.
    Keep on chasing The Small, and The Scary Year will hopefully pass without any problems.
    I like The Mummers shirt, by the way.

  2. Hi,

    I have a quick question about your blog, would you mind emailing me when you get a chance?