|Comedy evening at Naked Dragon, Chertsey.|
I had another VEGA test on my immune system in September and it was still doing incredibly well. Cathy, the tester, said, 'all the anger has gone from your eyes,' which was another lovely sign.
So I was happy. I thoroughly enjoyed doing an hour's comedy for Naked Dragon in Chertsey and did a pretty stonkingly-good talk at the Meta-Health conference in Birmingham about the dis-ease and what I'd learnt from it. And driving up to Brum from Devon, I asked God to tell me just how well I was … and a car pulled out in front of me with the registration number MW 999 WEL.
Being so confident and all that, I took it to mean 99.9% well, given that there was a stud in the right place. But it was obviously one of God's little jokes (for which He/She/It will receive a right slapping when I do get up there) as only eight weeks later, Lion was calling 999 because I could barely breathe.
I was doing a Soul Wisdom workshop when it started: I woke up with a pain in my right ribs, thought I'd pulled a muscle and got on with it. But within three days it was obvious that I had shingles — and very bad shingles at that.
I was basically paralysed by the pain for eight weeks during which I couldn't exercise or do very much else than lie in bed (If I laid on the shingles side it hurt much less) or shuffle miserably around the house. Loads of painkillers prescribed by the doctor: none worked. My body, for some strange reason, has always refused to believe in painkillers. Sigh. Sleep at night was very difficult indeed which really, really didn't help. I don't think Lion and I slept together one night during that time because I was lying awake in the spare room, listening to inspirational talks or videos because I couldn't sleep.
So there I was, trying to work out what that was all about and how I'd attracted such pain after such a happy summer and becoming horribly aware that my immune system was going down further everyday and that I was getting depressed and upset no matter how hard I tried…
And then, as it began to recede, I found I was getting breathless when I walked which I knew must be the lymphoma but before I could get that investigated I woke up in the night barely able to breathe at all. So, hospital it was, by ambulance which was really quite exciting in a not-nice kind of way (I'd never spent even one night in hospital before in my life).
Suffice it to say, that after all the shenanigans required and a little miracle story that I'll tell you later, I knew that I'd been presented with the thing I said I would never do; of which I was most terrified … the very thing that had killed my first husband. Yep, my old adversary, chemotherapy. Right now, that was the only thing that was going to save my life.
And yet, when it came to it, it was okay. Yes, I was still terrified but I'd realised not only that I was learning very important stuff about suffering — because I'd always been so healthy, I'd had no idea at all what other people had to go through — and that that this was all about walking up to the greatest terror and healing it. Chemo-phobia had lurked in my psyche for 25 years, conveniently hidden as a 'virtuous holistic belief.' I believed that I'd never need it because I'd Do All The Right Things and could heal myself.
Well, Maggy, you couldn't. Nothing you did, worked. Nothing. Not one of the holistic practices; not even the diet. Louise Hay did it; Wayne Dyer did it; Brandon Bays did it. You didn't so let's get through the shame of that and come out the other side. Your so-very-holistic view was strongly tinged with arrogance. Here is your next lesson: humility.
And I was so lucky; you see non-Hodgkins lymphoma is one of very few cancers where chemo is actually very effective indeed. Eighty-five per cent effective. No, it doesn't 'cure' but it will take what is there in the body away. The rest is up to you.
The doctor from the haematology department who talked with me as I lay in the hospital bed having literally litres of fluid drained from one pleural cavity was lovely. He had clear dark eyes and he said, simply, 'it's okay, you're going to be fine.'
And I believed him.