The World Stood Still

Back from wine gathering in Italy and France, I spent last Thursday on the glorious coast of North Cornwall. At this point I remember that I had intended to do a regular “Coast” spot in the blog and as yet have not delivered that promise, sorry about that. The weather has been a bit mixed since the heat of Italy, but Thursday was glorious.DSCF4078
Shortly after I got home the phone rang, it was my old friend G. We go back quite a few years to when we were both running railways, we also share the common interests of motorcycles, shooting and Welsh rugby. G’s sing-song Swansea accent always gives me a lift as it usually means we are about to get up to some new adventure! For the first five minutes of our conversation it was typical G, asking how I was, what I’d been up to easing into retirement, how were the bikes and of course enquiring after Mrs Dookes. Then, almost as an aside, he slipped into the conversation four words.

“I’ve got cancer mate.”

The world stood still.

I could almost hear my own blood hissing around my head as I took in what he had said and then all I could say was “Where?”

Dumb, stupid and clumsy, that’s me in certain situations.

“Every f****ng where, it’s a form of leukaemia.”

G went on to tell me about his diagnosis and the tests he had recently been through, including an excruciating bone marrow sample taken from his hip bone under local anaesthetic. He had been informed that his condition was quite rare and the type was viewed as highly aggressive. His treatment starts next Tuesday with a blood transfusion and then he is straight into chemotherapy.

Outlook? Well, I don’t really know. G is always an optimistic sod, to him it doesn’t matter if the glass is half full or half empty as there’s a bar in the room anyway! That’s one of the reasons I love that little bugger!

All I know is that he’s my friend and I’m here for him and his family; I told him that and at that point we had to sort of stop, because we were both near to tears.

The next day, Friday morning, I wheeled Harls out of the workshop and hit the road, I needed to get my head around the previous evening’s conversation and find some space to take it in. I found myself drawn to the beautiful setting of the ruins of Restormel Castle, a good place to think.P1040723
The castle was originally built nearly 1000 years ago, most of what remains dates from around 1300 and is pretty impressive, with truly lovely views that are very easy on the eye.P1040733

After the tranquility of Restormel we hit the road again and reeled off another 60 miles. I’m glad I took Harls my beloved Softail, the staccato growl from her shotgun pipes and the way that I was able to aggressively, yet safely, ride her were just the tonic I needed. The ride was for G as well as me!

So please can you do me a favour?

Think of my mate and all the others like him. If prayer is something you do, then by all means say one for all those that have to deal with such situations, if not just positive thought will do. . .
And me? I’m here ready to do anything I can, he’s my mate you know.

Catch you soon and thanks for listening.


24 thoughts on “The World Stood Still

  1. As a caregiver survivor, one if the question I hated the most was “What can I do to help?” Or “What do you need?”. I was so overwhelmed that I didn’t know what we needed . I was grateful for those who didn’t ask but just looked around and did the chores around the house that needed done.


  2. Sending as much positive thought as I can… There’s not a lot else one can do, even when nearby, except be normal, listen when they want to talk, get on with what needs to be done. Bon courage to all.


  3. Hi Dookes, sorry to hear about your mate. Your positive thought and strength will help him through the coming battle. It’s a devastating situation for your mate. If a bit of encouragement from the Land Down Under is any help, please pass on my well wishes to him.


  4. I read this last week right after you posted it, but was out of town with only my smartphone. And I HATE to type more than 10 words on that stupid virtual keyboard! But the story of your friend kept swirling in my mind.

    He sounds like an amazing person!! Doesn’t seem fair that the good folks have to deal with this crap… But cancer knows no boundaries. I’ve lost too many people in my life to cancer, most notably my mother at the age of 47 (I was 11). But I also know many folks who have beaten it (my niece in her 20’s, my sister, two cousins…) It just seems so random and I hate that!

    My prayers are with G, his family and you as he walks this uncertain path. Surely the support of everybody around him and his positive attitude will help immensely! And take him out for a ride on Harls and go to Restormel again when he is feeling up to it! He’ll love spending the time with you and seeing that magical place! Blessings to you Dookes… You’re a good friend!


  5. What can I say….. Touched is too light a word and a cliche, but reading some of the responses to the posts is an amazing feeling and a great support… ….. But don’t give up on just me yet…
    As long as I can ride a motorcycle then i’m living….. They can pull those keys from my cold dead hand!
    I’ve known Dookes for a long time now… A friend and a confidant .. A riding buddy…Those in the biking world will know of the bond shared…. There are very few like him.

    But lets remain positive… I’m lucky.. It wasn’t my wife Nettie that was diagnosed, if it had been then my world would have fallen apart, right from the moment they said “Cancer” My life would have ended.

    It wasn’t one of my children….

    Or one of my friends…

    I can handle it, it’s me…. A strange one but as it’s me it makes it bearable.

    Chemo starts on Wednesday…. Which means Wednesday is the start of the road to recovery..

    I’ve felt so ill for so long and I didn’t realise it … Two units of blood made me feel semi normal… but that priceless elixir is running out and I didn’t really realise how ill I am, or was…. But I thank the person who donated it… I really do… I just wish I could say thank you…

    Because of the chemo I can’t ever give blood … so i’ll find another way to give something back…

    So Dookesca monster tour somewhere….???

    A big thank you to you all I really appreciate the support.



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