I managed to walk the Glasgow LLR - Pollock Park - 5K 'Forget Me Not Walk' without any trouble whatsoever on 1st September despite the words of one of my Consultants ringing my ears "don't be disappointed Derek if you don't manage the full 5K". I expected to hit a 'wall' of some kind but it never happened, and I could have gone round again, even though my Haemoglobin was still at only 60% of normal level at that time. A number of things helped me round the course including ; my as ever supportive wife Chris ; my Family members, five of whom took part alongside Chris & I ; six Emergency Service colleagues ; four neighbours ; four fellow Rotary Club members, and of course the support of the LLR volunteers on the day.
I have now returned to work albeit on a four week phased return to ease me back. I cannot begin to describe how supportive my work colleagues have been, and they have all said firstly how delighted they are to see me back, and how well I look. On 2nd October I was presented with my 20 years Service gold pin at Glasgow City Chambers, which may seem materialistic but it was another goal achieved, as I only completed 20 years service after my chemotherapy was completed and I was discharged.
I have seen my Consultants three times since being discharged on 31st July. These visits have included routine blood samples (and I'm delighted to say all my counts are now within normal limits for the first time since my diagnosis in March), one bone arrow aspirate, and participation in a clinical trial to evaluate a vaccine to prevent post chemotherapy shingles.
I have also managed to return to my Rotary Club and although a few months later than planned, was presented with my Vice President insignia having become Club Vice President in July, even though I was in hospital. Again, my Club members have been so supportive and pleased to see me back.
I was totally surprised when one morning in September, our two friends from Palm Springs in the United States walked through the door. They had already planned a holiday in France whilst I was in hospital, but asked Chris if they could pay a surprise visit for a day to Scotland. I nearly fell off the couch. We had a wonderful day with them before they returned to France the next day, and are looking forward to planning another holiday with them next year. It seems everyone, including my neighbours were in on the surprise apart from me.
Finally, Chris & I have managed to book a holiday this side of new year. We really didn't think it would be possible and it was an ambitious goal but we've done it. This holiday is very much needed by Chris as she has been through this battle with me. Thankfully the Insurance was not as much as we thought it may be, and that must be a reflection of the recognition that people recover from blood cancers thanks to the progress in treatment backed up by organisations such as LLR.