Tag Archives: brain tumour; survival; psyhcological reflections; cancer; meaning


There may different reasons why a blogger may be neglecting his patch in blogger-world. It could be due to changes in his or life, such as improved health, a career move or another family member arriving. It may due to unfortunate events, such as poor health, strain from being a caregiver or increased commuting time. In my case, it has been due to working hard again. Actually, I want to label it. I have been blessed with the ability to work in my profession following the visit from a brain tumour, a craniotomy (to remove it) and a couple of seizures.

I am well aware that some of my fellow travellers, survivors and fighters followed a similar path of recovery, but some have not been so fortunate while others are slowly finding their feet in the lives they embraced before. I may be incorrect in my recall of Freud stating that the two meaning activities in life are sex (i.e. meaningful relationships) and work. In part I agree as I have seen the consequences of the lack of these and how it can add to experiences of anxiety and depression. However I prefer the idea from the old Jewish wisdom writers (from the book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People” by Harold S. Kushner) that a meaningful life involves, “To live, to love, to learn and to leave a legacy“.  But meaningful living does not only mean saying yes to what is good and beautiful. It also requires the ability to say “no”.

What I found beneficial is to have structure in utilising the gift of saying “No” to myself or “No thank you” to others. For me Lent provides such a structure, given that it is time dedicated (amongst other things) on sacrifice. It is not only within the Christian tradition that the concept of fasting and sacrifice is embedded. Within Muslim (Ramadan), Jewish (e.g. Yom Kippur), Buddhist and Hindu (e.g. Shivaratri) faith traditions times are allocated to focus on abstinence and celebration. These are often based upon remembrance of historical events or in preparation for festivals or significant events within the religious tradition.

Red Red WineSo my commitment for Lent 2015 involved giving up alcohol and sugar. 40 days without while I live among the beautiful vines and wineries of the Western Cape in South African and I savours the flavours, tastes and quality of a good Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. So to pass on the enjoyment of these felt quite daunting. However alcohol was the easy part.  But I realised how deceptively sugar creeps into our relationship with food. Even though I run often, eat healthy, don’t drink soda drinks and in general have a limited sweet tooth (a black Americano, no sugar kind of guy), I caught myself a few times popping something sweet into my mouth. Realisation 1: Abstinence requires focus.

Realisation 2: Sacrifice comes with benefits.  This not includes losing weight and saving a bit of money. On a deeper level it provided an understanding of what I am capable to  do and that the ability to say no does not have catastrophic consequences. It taught me the worth of keeping the balance between yes and no, between please and no thank you. Sacrifice does not only exclude foreign substances, but it challenges our internal dialogues about wants and needs.


Filed under My Brain Tumour and I, This thing called life

The Quiet

It has been very quiet around here. I apologise for that. It reminds me of Bjork:

It’s oh so quiet;

it’s oh so still.

You’re all alone and peaceful until ….”.

Luckily it is not followed by the loud “zing boom” associated with bad news. Nope none of that dark skies and gloomy headlines and deadlines. No tumour or brain cancer update or that being the underlying reason for the “stilte” (stillness). All is well in the house of orange.

It has just been incredible busy. And I am thankful for that. The ability to work hard, moving house earlier this year, getting hands dirty with loads of DIY and seeing the vineyards being harvested around us are all reasons to celebrate life. On the downside, time for writing (apart from work related stuff) and running has been preciously limited. I need to get back to those.

I am aware that I can also grumble at times about work. Or being tired due to work. But it is a privilege to be able to work, to provide a service to people I meet and to love what I do. Can it get any better than that? There will always be some budget shortfalls, last minute emergencies and at times long hours. But in a country where there are so many who do not have work or where illness have robbed some desperate longing to work from that opportunity, I can only embrace an attitude of gratitude. To be able to enjoy and love what I do, calls for festivities!

I am well. Even when I am off-line and off the grid. Even when I drop in for a quick read of other’s blogs, I do not forget the others I’ve met in blog-land who has battled with brain tumours or life’s other curveballs. Thanks for anyone who gave me a thought since I last put my thoughts in words.

“the sky caves in
the devil cuts loose
you blow blow blow blow blow your fuse
when you’ve fallen in love

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Filed under My Brain Tumour and I, This thing called life