It was almost exactly a year ago, when I was opening an opera at the Royal College of Music, that I first noticed the symptoms.
I went straightaway to my GP who referred me on to the local hospital who after some investigations referred me on to Barts and ultimately UCLH. I had a tough autumn of treatments and a major operation in November, but here I am, still alive, still holding forth, and just about to open another opera at the RCM. The wheel is come full circle. I am here.
So what, if anything, have I learnt?
1. That you never know when things are going to go wrong and you should act quickly when they do.
2. That serious illness is universal. We all get ill, and nearly all of us get seriously ill at some point or another. We're deluding ourselves if we think any different.
3. That the NHS is extraordinary. Yes it can be improved, but for God's sake don't let it be destroyed, whatever you do. You'll need it one day.
4. That there is life after serious illness. I'm spending today working on Stravinsky's RAKE'S PROGRESS, which I'm directing next month. In October last year that seemed inconceivable.
Walk in the sunshine. Life goes on. We're human beings, after all.