I had the most bizarre, disturbing and frightening dream the other night. It does not take a degree in dream analysis to see where a lot of it was coming from, but it does show what a combination of worries does to the creative mind!
It all started with a lottery ticket. Some one bought me a lottery ticket – a very generous gesture. However, this lottery was one with a twist. If your numbers came up then of course you won a large sum of money. But if an alternative set of numbers came up on your ticket there was a really sinister outcome. You were sentenced to death. Seriously – what kind of mind dreams up a lottery like that? Well, in my horrible dream, my bad numbers came up. I went through a horrible phase of preparing for the sentence to be carried out and remember the distress I felt. I had an overwhelming feeling of not being ready to say goodbye.
The day of reckoning was upon me in no time (well this is dream land) and I next found myself in a cell. With interesting company. Gaddafi no less!!! It seemed we were due the same fate – a euthanasia pill of some sort. We were given a briefing and I was told that once I took the pill I would not feel anything for the first 3 minutes. Then I would feel very nauseous, but you will not be sick and that would pass and then I would be gone. (This has echoes of the CT scan advice – “you will feel hot all over your body for a few minutes, and feel as if you will relieve your bladder, but you will not and it will quickly pass”.)
Luckily, before all that happened I received word that I had been given a kind of pardon. The only proviso was that I had to undergo a swimming challenge. Next thing I was in the pool, fully clad ploughing up and down and getting myself out of that very nasty fix. Before long I was being washed over by large waves and then the pool water drew back and the pool emptied. I had met the challenge though and was able to climb out of the pool and back to life.
I woke up in a cold sweat, trembling and with my heart racing. Alarmed by the vividness and extreme nature of the dream, but so relieved to be in my own bed! Unsurprisingly, a sense of discomfort accompanied me for the day, although this was eased somewhat by relating the details to a rather bemused friend.
It does not take any deep analysis to see the number of things going on my mind, and they are not even buried very far in the subconscious. For me the most significant message was the way I was given this dreadful unwanted lottery ticket, in the same way as I was given the cancer lottery ticket and the way it confronts you with your mortality, and the fact that the lottery results are so much broader and more optimistic than the initial scenario. The fact that I was able to rise to the swimming challenge also shows how much my mind acknowledges that I am pushing myself so hard because it improves my chances. Oh, I love swimming and I really enjoy it, but if I am honest I have to confess that I am most definitely spurred on by the knowledge that exercise is a factor in reducing the probability of recurrence.
I may have no control over the cancer lottery, or over my strange dreams but I hold on to the small things that I do have control over – my continued efforts to stay as fit and healthy as I can and do my best to increase my odds to keep the beast at bay!