Soaring high while losing the ball and chain.

If I was in a position to write a Doctors prescription, it would be to competently with certainty write a script for a specific type of medication.

'What's the drug" you ask?

A injection of a flight in a glider or indeed a motor-glider, an opportunity that I was generously offered over this last weekend. Friday evening saw my phone ring, with a friend  William Treacy on the opposing end offering me to go flying with him in his motor-glider the following morning. 'YES" just blurted out of my aero-sexualised lungs. It was an immediate reciprocated trigger. 

My flight was in a German engineered and built motor-glider. It even sported the appropriate aircraft registration EI AYR. In command of our aerial adventure was William, a seasoned long haul airline pilot who spends more time in Hong Kong than soaring over the lush green hills of our royal county. When not jet setting the far side of the globe, or soaring among the County Meath skies, you can also find William piloting his private Hot Air Balloon over the Royal County. 

Some of my fixed wings friends, those in the know, would be aware on how sensitive I am to enclosed cockpit spaces. This fixed wing powered glider flight however needed to be done. That voice on my shoulder, that gut feeling, I was being nudged from all angles. 
As my icon and mentor would say ''Screw it, Lets do it', the latter © Sir Richard Branson. The cockpit of the aircraft did have an extremely wide angled see thru bubble as it's clam shell door, this was good. On stepping into the aircraft, carefully guided by William and put sitting on the right seat (side by side seating), the cockpit was closed and I could just feel the concave top, touching ever so lightly against my hairline (yes, I still have one and proud of it).

'Flying High"
L-R: Myself with William Treacy at the controls 
as we soar majestically over the skies of North West Meath. 

It wasn't long before we were airborne and climbing towards 3000ft over the metropolis of Athboy. Class G airspace (where we want to be) streatches up to 4,500ft in this region. It was time to search for thermals. Ironically, the single most dangerous thing (apart from powerlines) that as a Hot Air Balloon Pilot, I am taught to avoid at all cost, Here I am, in good company with William and we are proactively chasing them. Williams piloting skills pointing out to me what cloud formations would offer and indeed hold our requested thermal activity. 

Moments later and one such formation is duly spotted. Next thing, the power to the engine was purposely pulled (Eeeeek !!!) or should that read cut. Next thing, we are quite literally soaring like a bird. My eyes began to well up as my mind tried it's best to process the beauty and surreal feeling that William was flying thru my brain and bones. Cancer, what Cancer ? I left that 3000ft below on the airfield. Moments later we lose that thermal, but  within seconds, we spot two feathered friends (eagles I think) and they were soaring. Within nanoseconds, William had us banked hard right and we were in hot persuit of where eagles dare. They were soaring and so did we. The feeling my body and mind were experiencing here was off the scale and in the full green zone to boot.

After about 50mins airborne, to was time restart the engine and return to the airfield.
William had a well earned look of contentment on his face,
as for me, well I was wearing a beautiful smile and it was going nowhere.

The latter were the UP's of the day. After teatime on Saturday, the dreaded downer came. We were invited for tea (steak dinner actually) to our good friends and neighbours, the Dunne's. I was so looking forward to getting out. Sixty minutes after arriving and my chemo demons started. It's hard to explain, but it's like I'm entoumbed in a body aged 100 years plus and a mind that knows it is not well, not well at all. It's like exhaustion has got exhaustion and then tiredness came along for good measure to say hello. I'm less than an hour here and I'm quietly praying hard to myself that this horrible feeling goes away. Not a chance.

I had to just put my hand up and blurt out "I'm so sorry folks, I have to go home to bed". I had this researched and repeated in my head, hoping it would shock my body into correcting itself and allowing me to even partially enjoy a Saturday night, not a chance!!.

Yes, of course my friends totally understand where I am, probably even more than me, but it's horrible. I toddled home, pleading with Alison to stay as long as she likes. Once I found my bed, I knew things would improve. As I climbed into bed, my mind got upset. Things needed to blow out. My tears of joy at 3,000ft over Athboy earlier that morning were now morphed to tears of being jaded, being just drained. I'm sure frustration plays it's part in all of this. Within 5 minutes of hitting the hay, this aviation nut still had moist eyes but  was sound asleep. The demons had gone, the pleasant dreams saw it safe to enter and this chemo infused body was back floating among those eagles that were our soaring buddies earlier in the day.

In closing, it's friends like William Treacy that has provided me with medication that chemotherapy cannot possibly even fathom. For my part, I'm lucky to have friends like William. If I was a doctor, that same Dr I opened this particular blog with, I would have a book of magic prescriptions at the ready. For my fellow friends who are also mighty cancer fighters, flying among the heavens would be a script I think I would be writing regularly for these brave legends, Doctors Orders !!


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