The Journey Begins~~by Christine Larsen

“Chemotherapy my only option? Is that what you’re saying?” I kept my voice calm somehow, though my heart was pounding so hard you’d think it could have been heard at the other end of the Oncology section. I knew the diagnosis, of course. That was made a few weeks ago, after an x-ray to investigate my shoulder blade pain revealed a shadow on my lung. To hide my shock at that time, I’d joked that the radiographer had tried for ‘a selfie with a difference’ and inadvertently put his thumb in the picture. That felt like a lifetime away now. More x-rays, more tests, more scans and then finally a biopsy of that murderous villain lurking and growing in my lung had followed… each one confirming the presence of my most unwelcome tenant.

Surgery and radiotherapy were not options for me, I learned. The cancer is in several of the smaller lymph glands, somewhat removed from the lungs, so a combination of immunotherapy and chemotherapy are the recommended treatments. The oncologist had a plan of treatment/dosages/timing all worked out with tremendously convincing arguments to assuage doubts and fears; she was well-prepared to convince those unwilling to make the life-altering decisions. And there are many of these; along with much misinformation held by a large percentage of cancer victims… and make no mistake, these unfortunate folk are truly ‘victims’.

Happens I’m not prepared to be one of those tragic unfortunates… and the main reason is not some kind of magical wand enabling me to wave it away; nor some miraculous alternative medicine. Mine is simply that I AM a writer. Happens I love my skill SO passionately, I will allow nothing to place this gift in danger of being damaged, even destroyed. Some may find this difficult to understand and/or accept, but I think almost all other artists are right behind me in my decision to refuse a treatment that can (and usually does) create a ‘chemo brain fog’. I feel I would gather far more agreement when you consider a poem I wrote a few days ago. It was inspired by a magical photo of a massive column of white and grey storm clouds burgeoning against the bluest of skies. Below, the furrowed paddocks wait hopefully for whatever comes next. They are as prepared as they can be… for whatever lies ahead. I called my poem —

Sweet Rhythm of Distraction

I CAN be more
I’ve done it before.
Raised out of pain
a soothed heart’s refrain,
filled that hole, that void
great music my opioid.
Calming the storm
drawing back to my norm…
whatever THAT is.

I’ll face anything,
salve its harshest sting.
Bolster my strength
whatever the length,
ne’er to underestimate
my power to dictate
survival, so Divine,
right before my cloud nine…
MY Rainbow Bridge.

Whether songs of birds,
or rhythm of words,
an instrument seeking
to soothe pain, ever speaking
its music so caressing,
endowing its blessing…
Peace waits there,
with nary a care.
My Choice.
My Nirvana.
My Heaven.

© 2021 Christine Larsen

If you would like, I would be happy to continue telling you of my journey… mainly because it will have some interesting differences than most of the ‘norm’ who follow the paths of the various treatments. My wish would be to help anyone ‘sitting on the fence’ and worrying about the decisions about treatment, which to choose; and then the continuing doubt and fear as they agonise over having made the correct decision. Or not. You will already have gathered that I am a particularly determined, opinionated and strong-willed human. I have also given this the thorough kind of research and consideration I bring to all of my writings. I consider myself blessed to have my writing to nurture and strengthen my resolve, and to have the ability to share my innermost feelings as I travel the path I have chosen.

Amongst many deeply meaningful and appropriate thoughts and quotes I have been gathering even more eagerly these days, I have particularly loved some words of ancient American Indian wisdom, suggesting every thing that happens in your life, and its timing, and the people who come in and out of a lifetime; ALL have their special place and meaning to your personal growth and understanding… and most of all, gracious acceptance.

This, along with a hefty dose of courage, is what I would wish to share with you.


OMP Admin Note: Christine Larsen is a writer, farmer, wife, mother, and grandmother from Australia. She has never been homeless or had significant cancer – yet – but has had exposure to both – creating a great sense of empathy and desire to help in any way she can. She is humbled by the opportunity to give one of her stories to the sincerely worthwhile causes of Cancer research and Homelessness.

Christine contributed A Bonny Wee Lassie to the One Million Project: Fiction anthology.

To find out more about Christine and her work:

ceedee moodling  (Christine’s website)

Christine Larsen, Author

 – on Wattpad

–  on Facebook

– on Tablo

– on Amazon

Old McLarsen had some Farms (farming memoirs)

ceedee4kids (Christine’s children’s book site)


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers are now available (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

myBook.to/OMPVarietyAnthology

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Goblin Fruits~~by John Nedwill

Autumn is my favourite time of year. Winter is cold and wet, while the summer is too hot for me. I like to doze under heavy blankets, and I cannot do that in the summer heat. While spring temperatures are just right for me, there is still an underlying hint of frost. But autumn? In autumn we have the dying heat of the year and – best of all – it is time to go foraging.

I am lucky in that I live within easy distance of the countryside. There are plenty of parks and woods for me to walk through, canal towpaths and riverside paths to make my way along; and it is this time of year that the bounty of the countryside is at its best. The hedgerows become a blaze of colour, filled with ripening fruit and berries. I like to wander the trails, clutching a bag full of plastic boxes, scouring the brambles and the trees for blackberries, damsons and sloes.

My introduction to blackberrying came at an early age. My mother would take my sister and I for long walks along the coastal path on the southern side of Belfast Lough, looking for tangles of brambles. Then we would dive into them, searching for the biggest, ripest blackberries that we could find. My mother imparted the wisdom that had been passed down to her: “You have to pick blackberries before October, otherwise the devil sours them,” and “Don’t pick any blackberries below waist-height. The dogs will have pissed on them.” Then we would go home, laden down with our haul, and watch as our mother made jars of sticky-sweet bramble jelly to spread on toast during winter teatimes.

After I moved away from home and set out on my own, I didn’t have much chance to go blackberrying. My job took me all over the country, and I did not get many opportunities to search out the best places for foraging. It wasn’t until I settled down again that I decided to teach my daughter the delights of autumn fruit-picking. It took a couple of years to learn the best places to go. Brambles were everywhere – but I also learnt to identify other delicacies of the hedgerow and to expand my wanderings to look for them. I also learnt how to prepare them and preserve them, so that I could enjoy these fruits well into the winter.

In a couple of weeks I am going to go looking for blackberries. My kitchen will be full of heady smells and sweet steam. Then, as the year progresses, there will be more of nature’s treasures to harvest and enjoy. I shall fill my cupboards with jars and bottles: blackberry jam, damson jelly, sloe gin – beautiful shades of red and purple that remind me of my childhood.


OMP Admin Note:  John Nedwill is a writer, OMP Network member, and a regular #OneMillionProject Blogger.  His work can be found on Wattpad.com and in the One Million Project’s Short Story Anthologies published in February 2018.


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers are now available (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

myBook.to/OMPVarietyAnthology