Ally McLaws: When life is spent in ever decreasing circles …


When we could travel anywhere, anytime and with the greatest of ease we used to say that the world was getting smaller.

Now we can’t go anywhere and the world really does seem to be getting smaller.

The barriers I must not cross are the borders of East Ayrshire Council.

The “do not cross” lines for high-risk cancer treatment patients and others battling serious medical conditions seem increasingly claustrophobic. I haven’t been inside a shop or anyone’s house for more than a year.

Going out for me is for exercise and air (breathed through a triple layered mask) and staying clear of people.

Local parks are too busy – parents anxious to have fun with young children, creating some sense of normality into their lives.

A peaceful old cemetery with headstone inscriptions dating back to the 1800s is our secret dog walk sanctuary.

It’s too far for me to walk to and the car drive there is part of the treat … a highlight of a brief escape from our all too familiar four walls.

But, along with the MRI scan confirming two cancerous tumours in my brain came the news that it was illegal for me to drive. Laura doesn’t drive – even if she wanted to learn there are no lessons and tests happening now anyway. I sold the car a few days ago.

Another independent lifeline gone, another boundary line drawn closer.

I retreat more and more to the keyboard: a cyber highway where there are no barriers.

This column has thousands of readers – many are going through their own personal and family trials of health and heartache. Many are reaching out for comfort and hope.

The power of the written word also ignites human empathy and kindness into a fountain of support and comfort.

An editor who made me redundant with a little too much relish wishes power to my pen on reading last week’s column. Any ill will I had for him no longer lingers.

A wife and mother opened her heart about her fears as her husband’s cancer threatens her world – she takes courage from the column and strength from online conversations with my Laura. A school pal from 45 years ago makes contact and we fill in the blank years.

Someone I hardly know offers to type my column if I am struggling with physical tasks.

Hard-bitten journalists from the black ink era of the 1980s craft encouraging digital messages to bolster my resolve. On Tuesday, I will get stereotactic radiosurgery treatment. Laura will be with me and we’ll come home with new hope for our growing circle of support. The world really isn’t getting smaller.

Ally McLaws is managing director of the McLaws Consultancy, specialist in business marketing and reputation management. See


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