A Free Mind For Long Boring Days

Bonjour !

Today is the fourth day of my chemo treatment. And I can tell you that the days are long. I come early at 0730 to leave around 1730. In between, medication and drugs are infused in my blood stream through my catheter. Just long hours in this room, with my wonderful nurses and other patients (who don’t stay here as long as I do though, at least for now).

But thanks to this blog, thanks to your support and your comments, you all make my days better. Thank you so much for that.

Yesterday, a comment from one of my dad’s friend – Patrick – really talked to me: “You have soul and spirit, cancer does not! With you all the way from Tahiti […]”. Yes Patrick, you are so right and thank you for reminding us that.

Through Patrick, it also reminded me how I have managed to keep my mind free over the last months, thanks to the examples of great men, most of them sailors.

Earlier this year, when the bad news of the cancer relapse hit us, I felt the need to find an escape for my mind, something that would keep me light and dreaming, free and above the dark thoughts that were hanging around me. So I decided to read books. I used to read a lot years ago. Then I get caught in the fast pace of our global world, and I ended up reading news and FB stuff on my smartphone like everybody else. Not the most nurturing readings.

So this time I rediscovered the joy of holding paper books, diving into the stories and let the authors take me in these incredible stories. As you may guess, I am a big fan of sea stories (I like to tell mines when I am little drunk, preferably in a bar, with good friends).

Among the sea stories I have read so far this year, there is the story of Patrick’s uncle, his name is Francis Puara Cowan. He is from this great people of Tahiti in the Pacific Ocean. He dedicated his life to learn, build and sail old traditional Tahitian pirogues, and like his ancestors, he confronted the seas with the intention to demonstrate how in the past, brave and strong men were able to navigate the rough seas with these pirogues and land in new places in South America and New Zealand. In a world that takes technology for granted, I found Francis’ project fascinating and very inspiring.

And I also have a secret admiration for Tahiti and its great people. I have only been there once with the French navy, but it was enough to get “charmed” by the Fenua (meaning the country, the land in Tahitian). Then, throughout my Navy career, I have met many of these strong and brave men, who are also the most generous people I know, with such an enormous heart (I hope Thomas is reading these lines).

Francis’ story with his pirogues did help me to keep my mind free and afloat on the seas, no matter my physical location: in the infusion room, at the hospital, at work or in my dreams. Other great sailors have enlightened my mind this year, but it will be for another story.

Until then, I wish you all a wonderful weekend, and I leave you with some pictures of my current environment at my cancer care center. You will see that the seas and the water are not too far from the sailor that I still am.

Francis’ book is only available in French (if you find an English version, please let me know): “Francis Puara Cowan – Le maître de la pirogue polynesienne – Tahua va’a”. You can find it on Amazon.

See you for the next story.

This is the first thing I saw when I came in the transplant unit. I thought that it was a good sign for the future ;-)
This is the first thing I saw when I came in the transplant unit. I thought that it was a good sign for the future 😉

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