So it’s 2015 & time for a brand new blog. It’s been a lovely Christmas with Dan, Meg & Pickle & although I’ve been back in work since 29th December, & Dan has been with his Dad this week, things never really get back to normal until the schools go back so this Monday coming will bring the usual breakneck routine & commuting misery…
One of the things that I like to do during January is to try to be a bit healthier, particularly after the excesses of the festive season, & over the last 3 years it’s been to my advantage that I can do this & raise money for Cancer Research at the same time. In 2012, & much to the amusement of my family & friends, I took on the Dryathlon, whereby I pledged to give up alcohol for a whole month & raised £500 in the process! Not sure if that is an expression of the disbelief of those around me that I could actually give it up for a month or because, as with all fundraising that I do, I pushed the cause through emails & social media. Last year, I did it again with an added twist, whereby I gave up alcohol, cheese & caffeine & this time raised over £400 so all in all pretty good going, especially since they represent three of my five a day!
Towards the end of 2014 I signed up yet again & to ensure maximum sponsorship, have pledged to give up alcohol, cheese, chocolate & crisps for a month. Now in itself that should be bad enough, but because I’m an idiot, & this definitely goes under the banner “it seemed like a good idea at the time”, said that if I reach my target of £400 during January 2015, I will ask for suggestions of what else I can give up to add to my torture. At the time of writing this on 2nd January my total sits at £379 …..
I should also add that someone in work is actually offered to double their pledge if I manage to keep quiet for one day of their choosing which is probably going to be the toughest challenge of all & I’ll report back on my progress in my next blog!
Writing my blog for LLR has been a great enabler & in looking back over the past year I’m often surprised at how far I think I’ve come. In my life before cancer & generally in January I used to be as miserable as sin - I’ve always really loved Christmas & I always found taking down the decorations quite depressing. Since my diagnosis I have a rather different attitude to the new year, which has surprised many, & not the least me ! Christmas is a completely different event for me these days - & in many respects I both long for it & dread it. A very big part of the reason is because on Christmas Day I don’t get to spend the whole day with my son, because he naturally spends some of it with his Dad, but, there is another subtext which I have struggled to put into words before now. In truth, it has only really struck me this year since I joined an online support community. In a nutshell it is this - for very many patients, Christmas does not offer the level of escapism that I currently enjoy through watch & wait, because they are either awaiting the results of (more) tests, undergoing treatment, or in hospital because they are too unwell to be home. In truth, & having spent my baby’s first Christmas in hospital when I first became very unwell, this should be uppermost in my mind but I think that there is an element of “selfishness” about Christmas where we focus on our families & ourselves & to a certain extent it’s easier to close the metaphorical door on anything else. Reading about what was happening to other patients directly over the Christmas period was a humbling experience & one that I will not forget. Something else I’ve noticed about my own mood at Christmas since my diagnosis is how much more painful sad events have become & I can only think that we expect so much of the festive “season” that the contrast is very very marked when something upsetting happens. I’ve blogged many times about how easy it is to tip the scales in the “wrong” direction but I’m definitely far more emotional than I used to be. Fatigue is also a constant problem & my New Years Eve partying consisted of reading a book in bed from 7.30pm & switching the light off at 9pm !
So it’s a new year, a fresh start, & today my thoughts are very much with my fellow patients & in particular those who are waiting for news, who are scared or who are currently feeling very unwell. My heart goes out to you all & I wish wholeheartedly that 2015 brings you only good news & better health. Happy New Year!