Everything goes in threes

A week ago, Wednesday 8th August, I went to see my consultant surgeon to get the results of a biopsy taken on 18th July. The results told me I’ve got cancer. It’s a small, localised and by no means life-threatening neoplasm, and I’m going to see another specialist surgeon on 11th September to discuss the best way to deal with it. Nevertheless, even though I’d half-expected the information, it was still rather a blow. I can’t imagine anyone who enjoys being told “you have cancer”, however rationally they can put it into perspective.

On the way home in my new car I stopped at a high-class café to cheer myself up with a mixed salad for lunch. Duly fed and watered I returned to my car and drove back towards home. A warning light appeared on the dashboard. Its significance wasn’t immediately obvious so I checked the owner’s manual. The manual told me that the warning light indicated “a malfunction”. Very informative! I took the car back to the dealer from whom I’d purchased it and was told they’d have the appropriate specialist look at it on Tuesday (i.e. yesterday, 14th August).

Back in the house I needed to relax, so I put on a CD of Renaissance choral music and sat down to enjoy it. The CD didn’t play. On investigation, it became apparent that the CD player had died.

“Okay,” I thought, “that was my three: all in one day. Everything will be fine from now on!”

On the following morning I treated myself to a new and improved CD player, which works. Yesterday the car dealer rang to tell me they’d traced the fault (a defective fuel sensor) and they’ll be able to replace it on Thursday (tomorrow), but if there’s any further problem at that stage they’ll lend me a courtesy car until it’s fully fixed. I’m confident that I’ll have a car in proper working order before the end of the week. And I expect a fairly minor surgical intervention reasonably soon after 11th September will put paid to the cancer. So the three blows that fell on Wednesday 8th will all have been put right, in reverse order.

I found the illustration of the “everything goes in threes” principle amusing, and recounting it to my friends has made them laugh, too. It would be outrageous to complain about things that I and others find funny.

I should add a few comments about the cancer, news of which tends to upset my friends. Even if it were life-threatening, which it isn’t, I’d be one of about 40% of the population living with and dying of cancer, and wouldn’t that be far preferable to dementia, or a debilitating stroke, or any other of the afflictions of the elderly that are mentally and/or physically debilitating? (Yes, I’m one of “the elderly”, though I don’t feel it; I’m in my seventies.) Also, I noticed certain symptoms – mild but unmistakeable – that a lot of people would choose to ignore but I didn’t ignore. It goes without saying that cancers are much more likely to become serious if you catch them early enough, and I made sure mine’s been caught early. Advice to everyone, though I know you’ve all heard it before: if you have symptoms that could indicate a cancer of any sort, don’t ignore them – get them checked out. I did, and I would (perhaps will!) again.

As for my belief that everything will be fine from now on, it’s been confirmed that my novel will be released by the publishers in November, I’ve submitted another novel manuscript to the same publishers (with their encouragement) and they’ve promised to give me a decision before the end of the year… and I feel fit and healthy!


  • Anne Cawthorn 16.09.2018 - 19:33pm

    Hi Mark,
    Sorry to hear about your cancer, but glad to hear that it can be surgically removed.
    I hope all went well when you had your appointment.
    Re: things going wrong in threes. I have just had a run of these and am now on my third lot of threes!
    Some of them being very expensive.

    Kind Regards

    • Mark Henderson

      Alas, they can be expensive. Mine haven’t cost the earth but my bank balance could have done without them!

      Having talked to the experts with more up to date knowledge and experience than I have, I’ve opted for brachytherapy. Things are expected to happen during the next two months.

  • If one is going to get cancer, certainly the minor and easily dealt with variety is preferable… I wish you a speedy and uncomplicated recovery — and a long while ere you might again face such a dire day of dastardly threes!

Leave a Comment

Logged in as - Log out