One of the side-effects of being ill and the various treatments I've had is that I lost interest in a lot of things I had previously been very involved with: activities for my professional institute, church life, pretty much anything outward looking. I seemed to retreat within my little safe haven of home-hospital-GP for quite a few months.
I knew I was on the road to recovery when I started feeling an interest in things again. I've been along to a committee meeting for our regional conference, for example, and am off to another institute meeting this afternoon. I'm thinking of going on a course offered by my church, which might help me understand what on earth I am supposed to do as an Elder!! I'm also hoping to volunteer half a day a week at the Orpheus Centre, where our daughter works. I need to structure my weeks now, otherwise there's a (strong) risk I will fritter my time away and get to Friday afternoon with no noticeable achievements from the week! I also hope to return to part-time work - although it's a bit quiet out there at the moment!
One way I have been spending my time, and which I am very excited about, is helping with the charity that's being set up to support people with facial palsy, whatever the cause. We hosted a small meeting at our house on Saturday, where we discussed what we would expect to find on the website from our perspective as users of the charity. People travelled some distance to come to this meeting, from Portsmouth in the case of one couple, so there's obviously a lot of passion and interest in this. It felt good to be with other people who understand what it's like to feel "different" and to know that no one in the room was thinking that my face looked a bit odd, because we all had some degree of facial palsy - and all from a number of different causes, which makes each of us unique, I guess, and means we learn from each other too. Our lovely speech therapist, who specialises in patients with palsy, gave up a big chunk of her Saturday to come to the meeting and keep us on track, for which we are immensely grateful! It felt good to see everyone getting enthusiastic and excited about what we might be able to achieve - it made me feel good, for sure!
The weekend brought some snow - not a huge amount and it started thawing fairly quickly but it's still lingering. I went out on Saturday afternoon into Oxted to have a cuppa with a friend and as I was leaving our house (before the snow started), I glanced over at my car, which was parked at the top of our drive in front of Neil's and Amy's car. I thought "Hmm...that front tyre looks a bit deflated", toddled off for my hot chocolate (no cream or marshmallows - perish the thought!) and by the time I came back an hour or so later, the tyre was more than just "a bit" deflated. It was totally flat! So poor Neil had to spend a part of Sunday wrestling with the wheel nuts, which proved pretty recalcitrant, and putting on my spare. It's one of those restricted speed ones, so I need to get myself off to a Kwikfit at some point.
We woke up to a white world on Sunday, which meant that the visiting preacher to our church couldn't get there. Nor could many of our congregation, so those of us within walking distance (or who had 4x4s!) made it along, lined up our wellies by the door, and a Dunkirk Spirit type service was held. It was rather nice, actually. I was helping serve communion and had to read something out, which is always good to remind me that I *can* speak in public, especially amongst friends.
Later that Sunday, our friend Jonathan came round for dinner and to stay overnight. We have done some walking and climbing with him on the North Downs and Kili, and Neil has done some other climbs with him, so we spent some time going through our book on The Munros and planning a trip to God's own country to "bag" some of them.
Monday brought my big PET CT scan at the Marsden. I was a bit anxious about driving in the snow, as my little sporty car is not the best kind of vehicle for snow and ice, but I had asked Neil to come with me to get the scan results, rather than for the scan itself, and didn't want to ask him to take time off work, although I know he would gladly have done so had I needed him. However, some kind friends at church offered to take me so there was one less thing for me to worry about - thank you, David, for giving up pretty much all of your Monday to take me there and back. Poor man, he had to wait nigh on four hours for me. His paper was read from cover to cover!
I went to an exercise class on Monday night with Amy and to Zumba yesterday morning, then to meet a friend for (more) hot chocolate and a catch-up. In the afternoon, we had a service of thanksgiving for an amazing woman who went to my church. She died just over a week ago at the age of 93 and until about two years ago, when physical frailty set in, she was still striding briskly to the top of the North Downs with her beloved dog at her side. The service was one of the most joyous I have ever been to, with so much about her insatiable zest for life and her determination to squeeze every last drop from every opportunity - a superb example of how I'd like to live my life.
I feel anxious about Friday but want to have some certainty about whether I still have nasty stuff to deal with so that I can process it. I am praying it will be good news, but feel I need to know just what the position is, rather than be constantly wondering (and worrying). I am totally deaf in my left ear and have been for about two weeks and that, coupled with the lack of peripheral vision in my left eye, leaves me feeling quite vulnerable on that side of my body. I don't normally get nervous walking on my own in the (winter) dark but I confess to feeling a bit more exposed than I would like. I do sometimes get some "clarity" in my left ear, usually when doing exercise, so I am hoping that this is temporary and caused by a build up of wax which has nowhere to go because I am still quite swollen internally from radiotherapy. I certainly don't want anyone poking about in my ear right now!
So, good things and bad things this week. Good things - celebrating yesterday the fact that Neil and I have been married exactly half my life. He has been my rock and loving support through everything and especially during the last harrowing and difficult 12 months. Other good things - the kindness of friends, the energy and enthusiasm of our meeting on Saturday, the sense that we can make a difference for ourselves and others through this charity. Bad things - the constant, nagging worry about Friday's results, the vulnerability I feel because of hearing and sight impairment and the knowledge that I can't influence outcomes.
Roll on Friday.