3 day, 500k cycle

That’s what I’m going to try next!

But first… an apology. Because, from some private emails received, its apparent that my inactivity on this website has caused considerable anxiety. Especially for those who wouldn’t have had the reassurance of bumping into me around Sligo, or being able to check with a friend or family member. The 2+ years of silence here must have been very worrying.

I am sorry for that. I didn’t meant to cause any upset.

The extended silence was caused by combination of

  • taking on too much (over-exuberance at finding myself having a second chance at life) which left me with very little free time, combined with…
  • the very challenging reality of coping with horrible flashbacks, unexpected reminders and on-going medical interventions and checks (my kidneys are not out of the woods just yet; because it seems some lymph nodes may still remain enlarged in the abdomen – but more on that later).

All of which often sees me with barely enough emotional or mental energy resources to manage a few minutes conversation. Never mind write a lengthy blog post.

And yet… (and this is the really weird thing)… and yet… physically I feel very, very good. So much so that I’ve been able to develop my cycling far enough to dare even consider cycling 500km over three days.

Starting tomorrow.

Like last year… we’re cycling for the Sligo Cancer Support Centre – an organisation which continues to be a great help to me.

Like last year… I won’t be alone on the road (see photo – c’est moi avec la barbe and eyes closed!).

And like last year… I will do as much as I can; but am hopeful that this time I’ll be able to go the full distance (we’ll see!)

Then, when the dust has settled, I’ll do a ‘proper’ post here about all that’s happened, and continues to happen medically (there’s been a lot; main news is the ureteric stent was removed; although recently there’s some talk about them wanting to put it back in; sigh). I’ll also talk about how I’ve been finding life with this cancer (for the most part, manageable; but sometimes… well sometimes, it’s just hell – and, sadly, how I’ve been coping with that has been impacting negatively on how I relate to others… but more on that anon).

Meanwhile… here are the three days that lie ahead. And if you felt like donating you can give me something in person next week maybe, or donate online through Con Lee’s page here

Day 1, Thursday June 22nd

8:00am Strandhill – Dromore West – Inniscrone – Ballina – Crossmolina – Bangor – Mulranny – Westport (arrive Castlecourt Hotel, Westport late afternoon c. 4:00pm)


Day 2, Friday June 23rd

(dept 9:00am) Westport – Louisburgh – Leenane – Recess – Maam Cross – Rossaveel – Spiddal – Galway – Oranmore (arrive Maldron Hotel c. 4-4:30pm)


Day 3, Saturday June 24th

(dept 9:00am) Oranmore – Claregalway – Headford – Ballinrobe – Castlebar – Swinford – Coolaney – Collooney – Strandhill (arrive approx 5pm)


Donations through:



As I pedal I will be thinking often of Fiona Lee and Jo Moore. Two friends I made through the Something To Sing About Sligo choir. Remarkable women who, this time last year, were still alive and doing their thing.

The world is a poorer place for their absence.



The power of touch

Just a few hours ago a dolphin let me touch her.

I say ‘let me’ because for the past six or seven dives with her, she has always been – skillfully and deliberately – just beyond arms reach. Even with a stretch and a lunge I never managed to touch her.

But today she decided to do a by-pass close enough to me to let my hand brush along her spine toward her tail. Perhaps six, seven, eight or more times… I can’t be sure.

Because after that first touch there were oodles of fly-by moments, ‘look-I’ve-snuck-up-behind-you-again’ moments plus a lovely, skill full swim 2ft above me as I idled along just above the kelp… all melting now into memories of a dive I will be giving thanks for for many years to come.

I’d be hard pressed to describe the physical sensation. Certainly water temperature… skin tough and strong, yet supple and soft… silky smooth apart from some dips and bumps from cuts and grazes (which were very distinctly felt)… yet with a slight feel of a film or scum of sort too – rather like what one feels from dried carrageen seaweed when it’s been put in hot water for a few minutes…

… but it was the internal sense of the touch that was most satisfying. I’ve been in this dolphin’s presence many times now, watching from the shore and being in the water with her. But with the touch came a new internal sensation, felt somewhere around the heart area. Perhaps an opening of chakras? Perhaps a parasympathetic shift in heart rate due to my brain waves slowing and moving into resonance with hers? Or maybe was the impact of that physical contact experienced more on the emotional level? Because there was something akin to of the heart-glow of love I’ve felt in the past when a friend has risked being present and helped me drop the masks to reveal my broken-ness, vulnerability and other not-too-appreciated aspects of myself.

I’m not sure.

All I am sure of is that…

… even though it was my hand that reached out…

… it was she who touched me.