Readers of this blog will have detected a pattern. I have a chemo session. I feel pretty horrible for a week or so, with nausea, a nasty taste in my mouth and tiredness, and then I am better again. And even during the horrible week, it’s not all horrible. Last week Stephen and I were gallivanting around in Worthing and Bognor Regis, and Bob and I have welcomed lots of visitors to the house for coffee or tea. It’s been fantastic seeing people and knowing just how much I am in their thoughts.
Last Friday I was a guinea pig for some young fitness trainers who were attending a course on how to give exercise classes to cancer patients. I had a great time (I think I was probably the fittest guinea-pig there). Over lunch I talked to Ben, a young fitness trainer working at a gym in Burgess Hill. He told me that they’d all been nervous at meeting “Live Cancer Patients”, not really knowing what to expect. He said they were all delighted to find that “Cancer Patients” were not people with two heads and green tongues, but perfectly ordinary people – “like my mum or gran”.
We had a grand time being taken through our paces by the new trainees, giving them feedback and hearing what they thought. They gave us a great lunch too.
Today I attended my third CU Fitter chemosize class. That involves TRX which I quite enjoy and find fulfilling. Thursday will see me at a salsa class at the same gym. But it’s still not quite enough of a challenge for me. So I’ve arranged to go back to my regular gym (David Lloyd) from May 1st. I’ve missed the flexibility of being able to do a workout when it suits me, rather than at set class times. I’ve missed the swimming pool. I’ve missed the punch bag (yes, I love donning the boxing gloves and belting the bag), I miss the camaraderie of other members, and to be absolutely honest, I find the CU Fitter classes are attuned to people slightly less fit than I am and unused to belonging to a gym. I need a challenge!
So, soon I will be investigating the available classes at David Lloyd, having a dedicated “return to fitness” PT session, and then slotting my fitness regime around my new retirement programme of social events, planting the garden, and days out.
It’s been a bit of a helter-skelter six months. Jumping from full-time working (and selling a business) into retirement is difficult enough. Throw into the mix dealing with cancer, and it becomes a little stressful. I miss my old job, but as each week passes, I find I think about it less and less. So gradually I am getting used to taking life at a slower pace.
If you draw a conclusion to my experiences so far, it’s that chemo doesn’t necessarily mean you will be sick for weeks on end. From what we had read before I started, that’s more or less the impression we had held. Mind you, some people ARE affected that way and I’m not trying to denigrate them in any way. I met a lady today who, months after her much more severe drug regime, is still struggling. All in all though, chemo is a bit of a sledgehammer to crack a nut, but if it works, I’ll take it. I know I will get through and benefit in the end.