The Latest from my Cancer Journal

Why is the truth so much harder to believe than fiction and lies, or bad news than good.

My family have supported me through the worst of times, dragging me from the depths of despair into the sunlight. It can never be over emphasised how much having a support network of close friends and family can mean to those in peril.

We cling to them like a life belt, trying to keep our heads above water. All the time we are wearing them down mercilessly. They ask “are you alright…is there anything we can do?” My answer is always the same “just be there for me”.

In truth, how many times do we ever ask the same of them. They are the ones who we depend on, without them we could not exist. And yet, they are unsung heroes. Those who toil without reward, when we are gone will still be there, picking up the pieces.


Days that scream of life’s regrets,

dreams and wishes slipped the net.

Captured moments turned to rust,

blown away like so much dust.


Yet another sleepless night,

steals my strength; none left to fight.

The wheel has turned and moved along,

my clock has chimed…. the hour has gone.


A slow return, the breaking dawn,

pain and anguish now reborn.

Too late to change what has now passed,

the race is run; the dye now cast.


Give me the time to make things right,

bring not another sleepless night.

I will not fail given the chance,

to rise again…. and lead the dance.



Date line 6-04-2017

Yesterday I had a meeting with my consultant; I’d had the scans and blood test a week before. As always, my heart rate was up. My expectations all over the place.

She came bouncing into the room… a huge smile on her face. I’d never seen Sarah this excited. The news was all good. We sat waiting for the punch line. There was a new lady in the room with us, Sarah introduced her as a Clinical Nurse Specialist. I turned to her, and asked if she had the bad news bit, no…there was no bad bit. It was hard to take in; my mind was in turmoil.

Lesley and I sat looking from one to the other, we just couldn’t take it in. In these situations you always prepare yourself for bad news, never good. Being let down was a hard habit to break.

It appeared the latest scans had indicated that the chemo had worked better than expected; even better, the blocker pills were holding everything firmly in place. It had taken a little longer than expected but so what, this was fantastic news.

They explained I wouldn’t need any scans for six months, just the three month blood test.

We were stunned. For the first time in a long, long, time Lesley and I came away from there with smiles on our faces. It looked as if I was being given six months off for good behaviour. We hugged each other all the way back to the car. Weirdly I felt taller, walked straighter, my head up. Such is the power of good news.


Careful what you wish for.

Dancing on the edge of yesterday

waiting for tomorrow’s dreams.

Today’s too slow to catch my drift.

Take my hand, come with me…..

Cut the ropes that bind,

keep me tethered

to the blunt edge

of reality.

I’m grounded in my desperation….

I need to fly.

We made plans to get out and about, not to waste a moment. Lesley had some leave due, and booked a week off without much trouble. Cornwall was calling us; it would be rude not to answer with a visit.

Living on the border between Devon and Cornwall, you can be anywhere in an hour or so. Leaving Plymouth at 10am, we could be in St Ives in time for lunch at the Sloop Inn, dinning on Mussels and chips before all the emits arrived.  Easy days out for us and the dog.

To be honest, the whole thing was hard to take in; it was all kind of scary. This may seem odd, but remember, we never had good news, when we thought we did… it was always followed by bad. Here we were, celebrating like they’d found a cure, well for six months they had. We needed this break.

Every day the sun shone we would bag up and go somewhere. I felt stronger in my purpose; both physically and mentally. Friends commented on it, and it was great not to have to lie, and say “everything was fine” it really was.

Sat by the sea,

drifting with the ebb and flow;

watching boats come and go.

Fishing boats,

gulls drifting above them;

diving for leftovers.

Tug boats,

the harbour sheep dogs,

herding cargo safely into port.

White sails

in the distance, heading out.

Cutting through waves with a will;

eager to be gone.


waiting over the horizon….

Take me with you.


We talked about planning a little adventure, nothing to ambitious. We decided on a few days in France, go over as foot passengers to Rosscoff, book a hotel there and just chill out. Good food, great wine; sounds like a plan to me. We leave on the sixteenth of June for five days; I can’t wait.

Back in ‘the now’ I’m trying to write again. Getting my head out of my arse has taken longer than I ever imagined. I’ve started re- introducing myself to some of my back pages, some of my characters from unfinished prose work. The loss of confidence I’d been experiencing was quite shocking to me. I’d given up running my writers events, almost shut myself away. To look back on my work in the UKA website archive, see all the great comments and plaudits made me feel ashamed. Come on Verdi, pull yourself together.

To be continued




© mikeverdi 2023
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What heart-warming news, Mike! You and the medics have really kicked some arse. Have a great time in Roscoff; Brittany is my favourite French area. Reminds me to visit my brother who’s lived over there for the last 30-odd years.
I don’t know much about poetry but I say you wrote some fine words here.
Very best wishes to you and Lesley,


Excellent news. So pleased to be hearing/reading this.


I had been wondering about you, Mike, and I’m so glad I scrolled down far enough to read this. Brilliant news and I so understand your sentiments and feelings. To be continued indeed… !

Kim x


Yep. That’s life for many of us, and… life. Have had issues myself over the last several years that have prevented me from being creative. But, no longer… x :^)


I just got to this. It had a startling effect on me. It gave me such an emotional boost. Don’t ask me why or how but that good prose and lovely verses enlarged my heart. I do hope the good news has continued and will get even better. Well done.


I just learned that Mike succumbed to his cancer therefore all that is left to say is, a poetic spirit, rich in thoughts and words, has left us. The world is a sorrier place.

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