The news today is the death of Bobby Robson, football manager. I suppose we’re all conditioned to see headlines and see words: cancer, battle, death, brave, courage, loses fight, etc. It is hard not to be sad. Harder not to be depressed if you know a sufferer or it is you. But, in a way, his story gives me hope.

I drew a simple timeline for him since his first diagnosis of (bowel) cancer.

Sir Bobby Robson cancer events

Sir Bobby Robson cancer events

What it shows is that he survived 17 years from that event to his death. He was 59 at the time of first diagnosis, 76 when he died. He had a difficult period in 2006 (first lung canver, brain tumour) and in 2007 there was the terminal diagnosis of lung cancer #2.

Don’t get me wrong. It can’t have been easy to get through those operations and sometimes there were side effects (like a brain haemorrage) that must have been agony. But he also achieved things in those 17 years.

It’s not great I admit, but if the same applied to me I would live to 66 years of age, almost exactly the same age as my father when he died of cancer. When I think about him and me when I was 18, relative to our relationship in my 30s before he died, and all my life stuff he witnessed in-between…

…I’ll take that deal.

Black Math – Carry That Weight

Talking Heads – This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)