What do you believe in? God? Buddha? The National lottery? Are these beliefs central to your world? Is that faith what keeps you going when everything heads south?
I ask this because here in Cancer Towers you get a lot of time on your hands to ruminate on these matters. The hospital chaplain comes around once a day to say hello and you can ask for any someone of the other major faiths to come and chat with you if you so desire. I think this is an excellent service and I say that as a non-believer. Having someone to talk to when things are tough is really important, and if that person is dressed in robes so what?
I wasn't always a non-believer. I was in the church choir as a kid, so went to my local Church of England every Sunday, St Mary Magdalene. We had a great vicar Don Philpot who was friendly helpful and tried to make the sermon as entertaining as possible. I got confirmed and read bible passages and stories. My secondary school was liberal catholic (a strange fun experiment which hasn't lasted) and I studied and even got an AS level in Christian theology. But then something changed, I started questioning a lot of tenants and slowly pulled away from the church. By the time I got to university I'd only go to church for the big ticket events, Christmas and Easter. When I first was diagnosed with testicular cancer at 22, I realised that I was on my own, and there wasn't a supernatural being guiding my way. So for half my life I've lived without a God and I can't say I've missed him.
In a life without God, I've had to put my faith in other things. When it comes to being a Cancer patient, those things are science and medicine. I have to believe in what the doctors say about how cells mutate and divide, how chemotherapy works and how going through all this pain is going to make me well again. Sometimes it's very hard to maintain that faith, especially when the surgeons damaged my voice and my hearing going the other week. But I don't have any other option, I'm not about to have any hospital bed conversion and if I were God I'd feel pretty pissed off that I'd only come back to him when things got tough!
TThis isn't an anti-religion rant by the way. I still have much affection for the church and heartily cheered the council of bishops for their letter to David Cameron over the refugee crisis. It's just not for me. I have to get through this moment in my life without a benevolent spirit guiding me. I have to believe in something more grounded, more real. Then with that knowledge I'll beat this Cancer, then I can believe I can fly.
Home news: Things are going well here. I've finished my chemotherapy course this morning, and I'm free of any attachments until Monday when I'll receive my stem cells back. Then the fun week of not having any immunity begins. I'm not looking forward to that one bit, but here's hoping it'll be better than the last time, which was pretty grim!
Currently I'm.... Reading 10 ways to get ahead in A&R (the quietus).. Listening to Distraction pieces podcast with Tom Robinson.. Watching Simon Schamas Face of Britain (iPlayer).