At the age of 13, Barnaby was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma. This poem was written by his mum Ali during the three years he was on treatment. Each section was written during a new phase of his treatment.
Cancer, The Downs and The Ups
My boy, my child, I'm sorry, this journey was for you...
Pounces, snatches, latches on.
It spins you round, throws you up and slams you down.
It robs you, claws you, devours, and overpowers you.
It seizes you and drags you down.
Takes you to a place you never thought you would be found.
Treats you, but beats you, pummels, and thrashes you,
It abuses you, batters you and strips you down. It eats your hair, your strength, your bones, your dignity.
To restore you, it torments you, poisons you, pollutes you to your core. It makes your flesh so sore, it's cruel, and brings you down.
Maintenance treatment ...
Relieves you, reprieves you, lifts you up,
Gives you a view of health and fullness, showing you a taste of up.
But watch out, it mocks you, encourages you, smiles on you with devious eyes, then pulls you back and slaps you in the face.
It teases you, constantly standing you up, showing you a view of up, drawing you up, luring you up, then tripping you and slipping you, and knocking you down.
But you ARE on the up, up, up, slowly, cautiously, gradually up.
We delight in you, rejoice, count our every blessing, watching you striving for UP.
Your old self back...hard to recall, you long for it, wait, press on for it, like a mountain to climb, always up, slowly up.
Raise your eyes my son the mountain may be high but when your eyes are raised, raise them higher, look to heaven, your Saviour's there; loving, embracing, helping you up. When the road is hard, rest in Him, pause a while, lift your soul and let Him carry your load.
Lift your eyes, your heart, your spirits, the road is long, the mountain high, but keep your eyes looking up, up UP.
The journey long, time has passed, now three years on.
You've strived, persevered, submitted. Allowed the course of time and treatment to take its toll, to pay the price, take some of you but not so much that you are changed.
You're still my boy, a young man now, grown, matured, handsome and brave.
You've walked the long walk and climbed up that mountain, to reach the summit of treatment's end.
You stand here not alone but with a chorus, a happy few, who walked here with you. Who praise, celebrate, love and cherish you. Who wished you up to mountain's top, who bore you to your Heavenly Father while the road was long, the pathway hard, the journey slow.
The mountain's peak, where eyes look out upon the view; the glorious sight of future clear.
Opportunities and manhood stretching out all green and vibrant and fresh.