Butterfly Anna
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Testing my stamina in London!

Butterfly Anna
Posted by
09 Aug 2016

We visited London recently, the first time I've gone away for the weekend since finishing my treatment. It was a mixed bag of emotions!

Last weekend we visited London which was a bit of a milestone for us. This time last year I was still enduring the brutal AML treatment making me so weak I wasn't allowed to climb my stairs without a chaperone!  Sadly my Husband and Daughter had to make the trip without me. This trip was the first time I had really tested my stamina since finishing treatment and it failed after day one!  Since my diagnosis I've developed this need to be near home where I feel safe so haven't ventured far.  The thought of travelling abroad fills me with sheer panic, yes it seems irrational but that's me!

The main reason for our trip was for my husband to take part in the Prudential London 100 riding for Bloodwise, he raised £700.  When he finished last year there was no one there to cheer him on or meet him at the end, at the time I asked him how it felt to finish such a great ride and he replied 'it's a bit of an anticlimax as I'm all alone...'  I will write a separate post about the London ride and all the good things that came out of it.


On our train journey we met and got talking to a lady about everything that's happened, she was really interested and asked lots of questions about blood cancer and Bloodwise.  The conversation started when she asked why we were travelling to London and just developed naturally, people are usually really interested which is always heart warming.


I love London, the history, culture and buzz...normally but this was my first time since being ill and I did find it overwhelmingly tiring very quickly.  I enjoyed our time so don't get me wrong it was just hard for me to at times...I was on a rollercoaster of emotions.  From being on a high at coming so far to fighting back tears of frustration at still being so physically and emotionally drained.  With flashbacks from the most random triggers to wanting to run and jump for joy as I had spent months trapped in hospital craving the outside world.  Memories of how dejected I felt when I had lost total confidence in my own body, that awful feeling of being out of breath at the smallest activity.  Buried feelings of panic and fear began to rise up.


While we were walking on the Mall I saw a young woman on crutches with no hair, I assume from some sort of cancer treatment, slowing making her way along, immediately my mind went back to when I was so weak I couldn't go to the bathroom unaided or get out of bed.  A picture flashed into my mind of me laid on the settee looking like a skeleton.  I really hope things get better for her soon whoever she was.


My Aunt, Uncle and Cousins made the trip in to meet with us which was lovely, my illness has meant that we have seen a lot more of each other.  My Aunt and I talked about what I am doing with my life now and it was lovely to hear how proud of me she is and how she admires the way I have turned this awful experience into something positive.  This is always lovely to hear and I'm always interested to hear how I come across to others taking note of any points they make.

The whole weekend was a reminder that even though I have come a long way I still have a lot more recovering to do, my energy levels are so low it's ridiculous after one day, this was a three day trip. Where most people revived after a good night's sleep my legs still felt like lead and part of me just wanted to give up and surrender to the black cloud of hopelessness that follows so close to me most of the time.  I have no idea where I found the strength not to have a complete melt down at times when going up and down steps in the tube, walking the busy streets and thoughts flying around in my mind.


Another problem is the mental fatigue, my inability at times to process information and think clearly. Sometimes this is hard for those around me to understand as I am normally pretty switched on and they have been used to me being in control.  I have to keep reminding them why sometimes I need to be led and not be the leader.  This is where adjusting to the 'new you' comes in...for you and your husband, family and friends.  When you finish your treatment and have hair again it is easy for them to relax back into the old relationship dynamics...I am going to write a separate post on this!


So this little trip is another step in my recovery, another little milestone to celebrate...I did it even though it was tough, guess it also means yet again I have proved to myself how strong I can be!  It was a weekend of mixed emotions, quality time with my loving family therefore feeling emotional and happy yet at the same time worrying that I will ever 'get over this'.  We are going to visit again next year so it will be interesting to see how I feel then...






Anna, I know exactly how you feel. You've succinctly put into words a lot of the feelings and emotions I have been having. It can be tough some days, but we're doing it. We'll get there!


Hi, thanks for your comments...glad I am not alone!!  Yes hopefully we'll get there!

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