Sunday, 8 April 2012

Life's lottery

I grew up in Hammersmith, west London, within walking distance of the River Thames, so perhaps it's not surprising that the Oxford-Cambridge University Boat Race has been one of those special annual events we like to keep up with, even more so since living in Oxford.  

Who could have guessed at the start of yesterday's race that half way through, with the crews almost neck and neck, some idiot would swim out to the middle of the river and narrowly miss being decapitated by the Oxford rowers, blissfully unaware of what was going on out of sight, behind their field of view. Shortly after the race re-started, who could have anticipated the clash of oars causing one of the Oxford crew to loose a blade, effectively leaving them a man short. 

Oxford could have stopped rowing there and then, so that the record books would show "Race not finished".  However, they battled on bravely to the end the race, crossing the finish line in second place, tired and exhausted causing one member of the crew - Alexander Woods - to collapse and be taken to hospital where he's now recovering, thank goodness

As I watched the drama unfold, it struck me again (as it does from time to time) that life's a lottery.  There you are, working hard to achieve whatever it is you've set your heart on and suddenly, out of the blue, mesothelioma rears its ugly head like the man in the river, stopping you in your tracks and turning life upside down while you wait to be told by others what's going to happen next. 

The side effects of chemotherapy leave you debilitated, a bit like Oxford loosing an oar. However, you struggle on to try to finish the treatment, knowing that the chances of beating the disease or a cure being found in time to help you are one in a million, just as Oxford rowed on to the bitter end - with one blade short. Who knows?  Cambridge might have hit a bit of debris and sunk before crossing the finish line....unlikely, but not impossible.  So you keep on rowing, just in case. Just like the meso warriors keep on fighting in the hope that a cure will be found one day.  Hang on in there until it is, you wonderful brave people.  

Sometimes life's lottery works in your favour - witness what has happened to some of the British cyclists in Australia today; a door opened up in the pack and Chris Hoy was through it in a flash to win a gold medal; Victoria Pendleton took gold after her opponent in the final was disqualified for going over the red line.  Expect the unexpected and never give up hope.  One day, the gold medal might be hanging round your neck, just like a cure may be found for the incurable.

Enough of the sporting life and gambling for now!

I'm hoping that the cough that has been bothering Steve for the last few days is nothing more than an infection which will clear up soon.  After all, we have people to see and places to go - actually quite soon now!  

Enjoy the rest of the Easter break wherever you are, and whatever you are doing.


  1. Each day something new and exciting can be discovered, UK could win 5 golds at the olympics, Steve and the rest of us could find that drug that makes our illness chronic instead of fatal. We have to have dreams otherwise what is life?
    Happy Easter
    Jan x