Tuesday 8 June 2010

a different sort of year

When I gave blood yesterday, I filled in the usual questionnaire at the start of the proceedings.  One of the questions is whether you have been abroad in the last 12 months and the answer is usually "Yes" - somewhere in Europe on holiday.  Yesterday I had to answer "No". Inevitably, this triggered a train of thought.....

It's now over a year since our last trip abroad - an anniversary visit to Florence - and a planned holiday to Turkey had to be cancelled.  We never did get to visit our friends in Vietnam, which had been pencilled in for October. Rather then go off on a grown-up intermittent gap year as planned, life has taken us on a different sort of journey these last 12 months.  

Along the way, we have come to rely on, and really appreciate, the practical help and emotional support we have been given by family, friends and work colleagues. We have also been inspired by others in Steve's position who are determined not to give up without a fight and are happy to share their experience and knowledge of mesothelioma to help us do the same. I do hope that we will see many of you in July at my significant birthday celebration; it's our chance to say thank you for all the support you have given and continue to give us.

Although it felt like we had fallen into a black hole when Steve was first diagnosed with mesothelioma last June, life went on.  Even during the six months of chemo, we managed to get out and about quite a lot between the seemingly endless hospital visits, pacing ourselves as necessary depending on how tired or nauseous Steve felt at the time.  The last six months has been much better as the side effects of chemo have become less noticeable (although Steve's fingers and toes still feel numb) and Leo has been stable at the last two assessments.  Since my work commitments were fulfilled, we seemed to have packed in quite a lot, including some first time experiences!  

However, as the next assessment draws closer, I can feel the apprehension and tension beginning to build again, even though we have no reason to suspect anything other than the cancer is still stable one year post-diagnosis.  Living with a time bomb is nerve-wracking, particularly at times like this.  Just have to stay positive and concentrate on the good things.....

......And on that note, my first book review has a two page colour spread in this month's RPS Journal; weather permitting, Steve will have looped-the-loop by the end of this week; our joint exhibition of botanical images is being hung at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre on Saturday; we're off to a special birthday party in Wells the weekend after; then there's a trip to Chichester, a riverboat tea party, and a joint 57.5 birthday party in Frome, as well as our party, happening in July.  With so much to look forward to, Leo won't know what's hit him!

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