This was the route of our Boxing Day walk, when Steve had been aware of tingling and numbness in his fingers and toes, but it had not become the problem it was to develop into later, in January and February. As well as doing our bit for Comic Relief, today's trip was a test to see whether he could manage walking further than into town and back, in readiness to undertake an 8 mile walk in the Peak District next weekend to celebrate friend Andy's 60th birthday. We think the answer is yes, provided we can plan in an escape route for emergencies somewhere along the line! However, it will be a bit of a challenge for the knees as much as the feet and toes. The body has seized up a bit after spending so much time sitting around in hospital having, and recovering from, chemotherapy. You'll have to watch this space to see if Steve makes it!
However, whilst remaining positive, we cannot overlook the fact that at some point in the future, life will get tougher. That was brought home to me when I read an article in the Guardian on Saturday by Lionel Shriver, the novelist who won the 2005 Orange Prize for Fiction. Her latest novel, So Much For That released on 2 March, Steve's birthday, was inspired by her friend Terri, who died of mesothelioma. The article is about her relationship with Terri and how it changed after she was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Please read it, if you can spare a few moments, but take a deep breath first: