"Who knows what the next 12 months will bring? There will be ups and downs for sure, as always. However, we'll aim to make the most of life, enjoy the things that are important to us, try to keep in touch with people and to maintain a positive attitude"Looking back at 2010, I think we did just that.
The cycle of "downs" closely followed the build-up to Steve's quarterly assessments, which is always a stressful and worrying time. However, he was fortunate in 2010. With no mesothelioma progression over the whole 12 months, each "down" on the emotional roller coaster was closely followed by an "up". Others have been less fortunate. Debbie's blog today (mesothelioma and me - link top right ) lists the names of 21 mesothelioma warriors, mainly from the Facebook group who have lost their fight against this awful disease over the last year. To that list we can add Andy, a friend of a friend here in Oxford, who died of mesothelioma in August. So many lives lost and families and friends devastated needlessly, if only those responsible had taken their health and safety duties seriously.
But it hasn't all been bad news. Some whose stories we have followed have had tumours shrink following treatment (Mavis and Anita) whilst others, including Debbie and Andrew, have had some progression but are still leading relatively normal lives and inspiring others to do likewise. You can follow their stories via the links top right. You can also sponsor Andrew who cycled 600 km between Bangkok and Phuket shortly after surgery to raise funds for the charitable trust Mesothelioma UK (link under fund raising on the right).
We have certainly made the most of life in 2010. I was given a period of unpaid special leave from work and we have been out and about visiting places and doing things for the first time. We have also caught up with many friends over the last 12 months, which has been wonderful. The support we have received from you has been much appreciated, both in the flesh and online. Thank you all so much.
A special thanks to Elizabeth and Roger and Jon and Sally who helped us see in the New Year in style last night, with good food and wine, and even better company! We just had enough energy left in the early hours of this morning to each light a chinese lantern and send it off into the sky with our wishes for 2011. We were not the only ones with similar thoughts. The sky over the city was dotted with small lights carrying hopes into the new year. May all your dreams and wishes come true!
So here we are in 2011, still not knowing what the future holds this year for Steve but determined to make the most of life. If all goes to plan, I shall be retiring in mid-March - the day after Steve's next assessment, so we are hoping for a double celebration! A couple of weeks before then, Steve will have his millionth birthday (in binary numbers - work it out!) and some six weeks later, all being well, we shall be celebrating our 39th wedding anniversary. There are other things pencilled in, but as usual, we'll wait to firm up these plans nearer the time!
We wish each and everyone of you much happiness and fulfillment in 2011 and look forward to seeing you in the months that lie ahead!
Last but not least, our love and congratulations to Andrew and Jan who celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary today!