...and the news today is that I returned to the gym! Yes, after six months of almost no physical exercise bar physio in the early months and some walking, I renewed my membership of our local leisure centre and toddled along there at half six this morning with Neil. I have to say, the leisure centre have been really helpful - when my membership expired a couple of months ago, I didn't see any point in renewing it, so they phoned to ask me if I wanted to renew and offered me the standard renewal discount. I explained why I hadn't renewed and they said they would honour the discount whenever I wanted to renew, given the circumstances. Amy then asked for gym membership as her Christmas present, so I entered into negotiations with an extremely helpful employee and was able to take out partner membership for Amy and me and get my renewal discount on top. How lovely to have someone really taking the trouble to sort things out for me.
I do believe that returning to exercise will help my mental health - I miss exercise, the buzz, the knowledge that I am doing myself some good, and I know that, if I hadn't been so fit earlier this year, my ability to deal with the physical side-effects of my treatment wouldn't have been so good (I shudder to think how much worse it could have got, to be honest!). I discussed the fact that I miss exercise with my psychologist last week and I do feel as if returning to the gym and planning how I will build up my stamina feels a positive thing to do and that I am taking back control of a part of my life. One of the big things for me has been that, right from the day of diagnosis, I lost control of so much of my life and became someone who reacted to what the medics decided was necessary. I know that this was exactly the right thing to happen and that I had to put my trust in them (which I willingly and gladly did) but oh, the lack of control has been hard, especially for a control freak like me!. So taking back control of my fitness feels so good - even though what I did at the gym this morning was a fraction of what I was doing earlier this year! However, I need to take baby steps and base my progress on how I am now, not how I was before.
I heard from a friend yesterday, someone who follows this blog, and she told me that she too has joined the big C club - neither of us wants to be members but once you're in, you're in ( a bit Hotel California - you can check out any time you want, but you can never leave) and, as she put it, the price of membership is very high. She starts radiotherapy this week and I want to wish her all the love and luck in the world - you know who you are! I'm glad that my blog has helped her a bit, as that was one of the objectives of setting it up.
Yesterday I went for lunch to our local Italian restaurant with two of my neighbours and had a lovely time. I didn't too feel self-conscious being out in public, the waiting staff didn't look twice at me (although they did ask if my meal was okay because I had left so much of it, but once I explained about lack of appetite, they understood. I should have just got a child's portion, really!), and generally it was fine. I have to go out to our local shops today and at the moment I can't predict how I will react. I really want to go into Croydon to do some stocking-filler shopping but I don't quite feel ready to face the crowds on my own, so that might be a bit too challenging for me. If I had someone with me, I'd probably be okay but there's not really anyone available. I shall have to work on this!
Today I have been doing some brain work, as I have been asked to write an exam paper and marking scheme for some overseas students. I started working on it last week and finished it this morning - it's been put to one side for the moment so I can review it objectively later on today or tomorrow morning. It feels good to use my brain and to feel that I can add value (hopefully!) to an organisation. It's been a useful distraction technique and I need to find some more of them.
Next appointment with the psychologist has been booked for 6th December. I have lots of appointments in the next couple of weeks - speech therapist next Tuesday, followed by GP on Thursday and then off to Marsden to see dental hygienist, then psychologist, then oncology consultant. Between all those and various lovely friends coming round for lunch, I am pretty booked up. It all helps keep me distracted and gives me a different focus for some of the time - at least, the social events do!
And that's all from me at the moment!