Where There’s Hope…

I’ve been in hibernation. I was battle weary after the long illness last summer and the medication which was prescribed to dampen down the neuropathic pain in my head, had the side-effect of dampening me down as well. For the past month, I’ve been sleeping like a baby at night and feeling drowsy by day. The good news is that the severe headaches have now gone and I’m beginning to feel energised again. There’s life in this old dog yet!


I’d like to thank those blogging friends who continued to send words of encouragement even after I’d disappeared off the radar. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt out of all of this, it’s never to give up hope.

The enforced rest has enabled me to rediscover the joy of reading books. Thanks to Lily’s recent review, I’m busily re-reading an exceptional book written by Lia Mills, an award winning novelist. Lia was diagnosed with advanced cancer of the mouth in 2006. She had to undergo radical surgery and aggressive radiotherapy in order to survive.Β Her book ‘in your face‘ is an account of that experience.

Lia talks about hope in a way that really resonates with me. She says “Hope is something you can’t always feel but I think you can lead yourself towards it even when you don’t feel it, by taking everything as it comes, minute by minute, and by appreciating small changes as they happen”.

While undergoing treatment in hospital last summer, my condition suddenly took an unexpected turn for the worse. The flurry of activity around my bed and the look of concern on the medics’ faces, was enough to confirm my worst fears. The infection was winning the battle and I sensed that my life was in real danger. Despair began to set in. The hospital chaplain happened to visit when I was at my lowest ebb and the poor guy got the full brunt of my despair. The infection was visibly worsening around my eyes so he went off in search of a fan to see if it would help to ease the discomfort. That fan was to become my beacon of hope throughout the difficult night that followed. It really was a breath of fresh air and bit by bit, I came to realise that I had the strength to survive. Hope had been restored.

Where there’s hope, there’s life. Check this out!

I highly recommend Lia’s book to anyone who wants to understand illness and recovery, fear and hope and love.

in your face’ is published by Penguin, Ireland (€19.99).

15 Responses to Where There’s Hope…

  1. Baino says:

    OH Steph, I feel for you I really do it must be more than wearing to keep recovering, going down hill again. I hope you’re feelling a lot better. I think that guy is an Aussie, definitely got an Aussie accent and he is quite remarkable.

  2. achelois says:

    I was so pleased to see your post in my reader. I had wondered how you were doing & am pleased to hear of restorative sleep returning. Take care.

  3. Lily says:

    Like Achelois, I was delighted to see your post in my RSS. Remarkable video, glad you included it. Just thinking about ir, you and Lia have a lot in common in your approach to illness. My next thought – book from Steph?

  4. Annb says:

    What a lovely surprise to see your very moving post. Thank you so much for sharing that with us, it has really stuck a chord with me. Your grace under fire gives a whole new dimension to the meaning of hope.

  5. Grannymar says:

    Great to have you back posting again Steph! Let sleep work its magic, it is a great healer.

  6. Steph says:

    Baino – I’m feeling a lot better, thanks. I’ve learnt to live for ‘today’ cos I never know what tomorrow will bring. I never worry about tomorrow either ‘cos it might stop me enjoying today πŸ˜€

    Nick is inspirational. Makes you realise how much we take for granted.

    achelois – Thanks! It’s very nice to know that I was missed. I’m gradually getting back into the swing of things and hope to expand my horizons soon.

    Lily – Thank you for that lovely compliment.

    Over the years, many doctors have hinted at the idea of me writing a book about my medical journey. I’d love to have the skills required to pull it all together so that it reads as a story. I’ve taken the easier option and put my story out in blog form. Writing this blog has been hugely cathartic and has the added bonus of feedback.

    I shall keep your suggestion in mind though πŸ’‘

    Ann – It was a pleasure to write about this particular experience as I’ve not actually shared it with ANYONE until now. Like many other hospital experiences, it simply got swallowed up in the struggle to get well. That night was one of the very few times in my life when I’ve actually felt despair. That chaplain and I, have got to know and respect one another from our many chats together in hospital so I was very lucky he showed up that night. He might not agree πŸ˜‰ We had a good laugh about it afterwards when I told him that his fan (not his prayers) was my life saver!

    Grannymar – Thanks! It felt good to put a post out again. It took me long enough to get it together but I got there in the end. As Nick says in the video, it’s not about how many times you fail, it’s about how you finish! I really like that concept.

    You’ve not done so bad yourself, Missus. I tip my hat to you!

  7. Nancy says:

    Hello Steph,

    What a wonderful surprise it was to visit your site and find you HOME….A new post!

    I loved the video of that young man and his courageous struggle against terrific odds. The students that he speaks to surely must come away with a new sense of purpose.

    You show us that same strength,Steph, in the way you always seem to find something that makes you happy (The Fan) in the darkest moments of your life.

    You are an inspiration,Duck……..

  8. Steph says:

    Nancy – Now look what you’ve done! 😳 I’m all embarrassed πŸ˜‰

    Nobody ever said I was an inspiration before, more like a liability πŸ˜†

    PS If you push the right buttons, you’ll always find me at home! πŸ˜€

  9. JBBC says:

    Lovely to see you back online again Steph – you’ve been missed πŸ™‚

  10. Steph says:

    JBBC – Thanks! πŸ˜€ It’s lovely to be back in circulation as I missed all of you guys too!

  11. Bendy Girl says:

    I’m so glad to hear things are finally improving for you Steph! Not sure why I’ve only just seen this post, but my google reader seems to be playing up 😦

    Hope it’s all onwards & upwards now m’dear, lots of love BG Xx

  12. Steph says:

    Bendy – Thanks for your well-wishes.

    Would you believe, I don’t use a feed reader despite pressure from others to do so? I prefer to have an element of surprise when I visit a blog. My favourite blogs are all bookmarked leaving me to choose which ones to visit according to my mood. I think I derive more pleasure that way than if I was visiting simply because my feed reader had alerted me to a new post.

    I know, I’m crazy! πŸ™„

  13. Geri Atric says:

    It’s so good to see you back in circulation Steph! This post really touched me deeply – you have been through so much…
    But happily, you have come through it all and here’s hoping you continue to go from strength to strength, enjoying life to the full, for MANY more years to come!
    Hugs xx

  14. Steph says:

    Geri – Hiya and thanks! I think I have been through rather a lot…

    In the last five years alone, I’ve endured 12 hospital stays (of which 2 were prolonged), had 5 major operations under general anaesthetic (also 2 minor surgeries under GA), 1 operation under spinal anaesthetic plus 3 day case procedures under sedation.

    I think I deserve a break now, don’t you? πŸ˜€

  15. […] of the Species I recently wrote about a crisis point when I came close to losing hope of winning the battle against a serious infection. I’d been re-admitted to hospital having […]

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