It’s been a week.

It’s been a week since first dose of chemo and i and my life already feel so different. Suddenly gone are the previous rhythms of life, for many of us this revolves around work, family life and wider social life. As i’ve long advocated such events, challenges or whatever we call them also provide opportunity. I’m just beginning to understand this opportunity.

Yesterday I called my class at school and involved myself via speakerphone in part of the class’s daily greeting routine. For those who don’t know I’ve taught at a school for students with autism for many years. Over these years I have evolved approaches and systems that seem to work well with most students with ASD. For example we have developed an extended morning greeting routine that incorporates many different facets of socialisation and communication. One element is the ‘talking stick’ where everyone takes turns to talk about what they’ve done and others can make comments and question them. I’ve loved how little routines and patterns have developed within just this simple element. So yesterday i was able to talk with them all and they could ask me about what was happening or, typical of many with ASD, talk about their own thoughts. They had been told last Monday that I have cancer. If I can say so I am very proud of the way my class has developed, they are an exceptional class. They are now in the good hands of Jo, my long term teaching assistant who’s had to put up with much from me over may years.

Isn’t it great how connections can be made through random events? (Sound like a Paul Whitehouse character: aren’t cheesy peas really great?). I very rarely watch ‘live’ TV now, Kate and I just watch what we’ve recorded. But on Tuesday night I just happened to watch a film at the time it was showing called Big Fish. When I mention this Mark tells me it’s in his top 4 all time films and we both cry for paternal reasons when watching it. Big boy cry babies.

Thank you to those of you have commented positively about my writing, part of me likes reading such but another part of me thinks they’re just humouring me because I’m ill (and this isn’t some pathetic attempt to get people to say ‘but we mean it Duncan, you’re so good’) and i find it hard to accept. Is this my Englishness and how would the Yanks react Sue?

To finish, Martin’s mate Ian Duncan Smith has great initials to work with; David has suggested Insufferably Dull Sledge, me Intelligence Deficit Syndrome, any others out there?

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan


One thought on “It’s been a week.

  1. Mate

    This is good stuff. Flattered that you mentioned my IDS contribution. Looking forward to the vote on who has nailed him best. We can move onto Blair and Thatcher and Benn and Stalin, etc next.

    Yes, don’t be so ‘British’ about compliments. I may not be the best to advise, but I seriously think you should change career and become a writer. Sounds like others agree. I see that for myself too at some point, which is weird as English was pretty much my worst subject at school. Have been reading some Hunter S Thompson recently – gonzo is your style methinks:

    Yep, interesting observations about the ‘opportunity’ created by adversity. Having been through severe financial shit twice I have coined the phrase ‘this is an experience money cannot buy’ – somewhat ubiquitous / ironic but perhaps relevant. Martin, please take note.

    Cheers for now

    PS It is OK to cry sometimes. I try not to make a habit of it.


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