Tuesday, December 21, 2004

A Hero

Originally uploaded by wjwmorrow.
Having paid my respects to my parents I set off on my trip to Plymouth to receive my academic accolade. However a four day odessy lay ahead. I had people to visit and places to go beforehand.

My first port of call was Wanborough, near Swindon in Wiltshire. I was dropping in on a friend from my undergraduate days, Janine. Now I hadn't seen Janine since 1973 and I was a bit nervous. We have been corresponding for about 2 years, thanks to the Friends Reunited website. After some initially cautious exchanges Janine and I have maintained a lively dialogue. She did however let slip a a few health related clues and finally disclosed that she was a cancer survivor. But the manner of her suvival is worth noting. After a primary tumour was detected and dealt with over a decade ago she was more or less ok until systemic secondaries were spotted in numerous organs and skeletal sites in the last couple of years. Rather than put her affairs in order and accept her fate, Janine elected to take her medicine (literally) and embarked on a degree in fine art at Oxford Brookes university. This summer she graduated with upper second class honours (magna cum laude to US readers). I remember that it took every bit of my energy to graduate with a 2.1 when I was 22 and healthy. But Janine did it while on chemo, enduring a broken femur and pelvis (ouch! -side effects of the chemo), running a household and maintaining her sense of humour! Impressive or what? Move over Lance Armstrong! Oh and I nearly forgot to mention that her most recent scans have revealed her to be virtually tumour free. As far as I'm concerned this is heroism of the highest order and Janine is a role model for dignity and a fantastic example of positive attitude. I can almost forgive her for not only abandoning me as her date in favour of John (current husband) at a Curved Air concert in 1973 but also relating the story to her daughters in my presence!


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