On April 02, 2015, I was diagnosed with a 6.4 cm tumour on my right kidney. Having enjoyed pretty much perfect health until I turned 62 in late 2014, I haven’t paid as much attention to conditions like cancer as I perhaps should have done, even though I’ve lost my mother and a couple of good friends to it along the way. Before my diagnosis, I’m not sure I’d even heard of kidney cancer, although lung, liver, bone and breast were all familiar. However, it turns out that 9-10,000 people are diagnosed with it every year.
I’ve decided to write a blog to help me come to terms with this very unexpected and unwelcome development in my life. Having published a memoir last year, I thought it would be interesting to try a somewhat different modality of ‘life-writing’ (here’s hoping it doesn’t turn into the opposite of that – ‘thanatography’!) I suspect I’m going to have a lot of time on my hands over the next few weeks or even months and doing a blog will give me a focus and distraction, besides allowing my to carry on in what I hope will be an unpressurised way with one of my great pleasures / addictions – writing.
Aside from the obvious reference to my condition in the title of my blog, being ‘of the right kidney’ is an old English saying which means having (or acquiring?) the ‘right’ sort of nature or temperament to cope with whatever life throws up. Historically, it was often used in the context of the battle-field, where steadiness under fire was an obvious asset, so it seems particularly appropriate for my own (no doubt far less dramatic) battle ahead. I hope this blog will help me identify and draw on the qualities needed to see off my insidious inner enemy. And I hope it may be of interest and perhaps comfort to other sufferers and their families / carers, as well as my own friends and loved ones.
If this is to be a worthwhile project, I’m going to have to be frank about my feelings and emotions, which will no doubt swing wildly as the blog develops. I’m also not going to make any effort to disguise my opinions – or prejudices, as some will no doubt see them. This is a personal bit of writing, not some sort of supposedly objective social or medical history. You’ve been warned! You’ll also find occasional footnotes (which have turned into end-notes at the end of each blog because of the way WordPress formats them). Academic habits die hard, I’m afraid, and I don’t want it be thought that my occasional rants (where there’s passion, there’s life!) don’t have any cause or justification, still less that they express any displaced bitterness about my condition (which, thankfully, I’m yet to feel).
If you just want to read the latest blog, click on ‘blogs’ on the top left-hand menu of the web-site. Earlier blogs are archived by date on the lower left-hand menu.
I’d love to have feed-back – even if it’s critical!