Friday, 18 January 2008


Andrew - Self portrait

18 January is the anniversary of Andrew's birth. He would have been 36 today.

You may wonder why this posting is appearing on this particular Blog. The answer is that it relates to the reason why I am here and why I am alive and thus able to be here.

In early 2006 (Andy died on 4 June 2006) some of Andy's Blog postings were very harrowing. It has taken me a long time to pluck up the emotional courage to re-read them.

I am very conscious of the fact that I have no real idea what it is like to have cancer. Although I knew that I had cancer I suffered absolutely no symptoms nor ill health. For me from diagnosis to operation to a reasonable recovery took a matter of a few months. The great majority of people have to wait that long just to get an MRI scan. I had no time for worry, contemplation or any other emotion. Mind you if I hadn't had Dr Lawson as my doctor I wouldn't be alive (amazing that after that he came to live and practise in New Zealand a matter of 20 kilometres from where I now stay, before he returned to Lewis ). The Consultant told me that if I hadn't had the operation when I did then my life would probably have ended rather unpleasantly within a few months. Scary really. Every day I wake up I am grateful.

Andy wasn't so lucky. He'd known that he had cancer for many years and by the time of his death he had suffered more than most of us can even start to imagine - and I certainly include myself in that category. He suffered a lot more than many cancer sufferers. But Andy had tremendous hope and courage. On 2 January 2006 his thoughts on the year just past were:

so stitch that ya bas

2005. "Been a shitty year, but the show must go on" - kyle said it better than i ever could. at the start of the year, i had it all to look forward to. i'd worked my arse off for three years to get to where i was in march, with a masters degree, java certification, a new (dream) job, and an offer in on a new flat in leafy isleworth. what could possibly go wrong? well, we all know the answer to that. i'm not one to wallow in self-pity, i may indulge in it now and again but though it's fun for a while it doesn't really get you anywhere. having said that, it's frustrating to look at where i was a mere 9 months ago, and the shit i've had to go through since then. but i don't feel sorry for myself, i really don't. i've been very fortunate in my life, i've never wanted for anything, i've never gone hungry or cold, i've got lots of real friends and my own flat, a fantastic job in an understanding company, and i've been blessed with a great musical taste and fashion sense (oh yes i have). so what's to complain about? no matter what happens in this next year, whether they can operate or not, whether i have to give up work or not, and whether, ultimately, i get better or not, i don't feel sorry for myself. i've had a great life so far, and nothing can change that.

The postings for the next few weeks catalogued his illness. After a week of daily visits to clinics and some very upsetting postings came:

ka-boom? yes, rico. ka-boom. so i've been putting my great christmas present (the splendid champion juicer) to good use. every day i grind up a shitload of fruit and veg and chug the lot. well, after a while you get bored of the same old same old, so when i was in the supermarket i went to the juices section for some inspiration. and there it was - a bottle marked 'apple and ginger'. ooh - très exotic, n'est pas? so i grab a handful of ginger and a bag full of apples and home i go. i've never juiced ginger before. i cut up a piece, a big cube about an inch long, and chuck it through the juicer. juicer growls, and spits out a tiny wee bit of juice. hmm, that's not a lot, best chuck some more in. so in goes another big lump. still not getting much juice but i've used it all up now. oh well, never mind. in go the apples and i've got a pint of apple juice with a wee bit of ginger in it. cheers, i says to myself, and takes a hearty swig. five minutes later, i wake up on the kitchen floor. what's happened? someone's set fire to my head. is that blood? oh god, my mouth, i can't feel my mouth! my tongue has dissolved! help! snot is dribbling all over my face, tears stream from my eyes. i'd call an ambulance but without a tongue how can i tell them where i live? so anyway, the moral of this story is simple. never get ideas above your station, or your head explodes. seriously.

I miss him so much.

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