This is articulating a lot of stuff I've been thinking over, especially the last month or so, about my priorities as I start getting "back to normal".
1. Health and fitness
(content note: exercise, weight, mental health)
I've lost a lot of stamina, muscle tone and cardiovascular fitness. I've now regained all the weight I lost in the first months of the illness, but I'm pretty certain what came off was mostly muscle and what's come back is mostly fat.
Exercise: I badly want to be running again, but first I need to be able to walk for half an hour at a time; then I can restart couch-to-5k. I can start cycling again to get around once my platelets are back in the normal range (150-400; my latest reading was 120, so not far to go). Once my line is out I can take the children swimming regularly again, and I'd like to add a weekly swim by myself too.
Food: I'm not neutropenic any more; I've mostly got my appetite back; once I'm over this cold I should be able to do more food preparation. So I can get back to basic eating goals: at least 5-a-day veg & fruit, minimise sugar, eat a variety of food I enjoy and pay attention to feeling full.
Mental health: I’ve weathered this treatment fairly well, but I suspect some of the reaction just isn’t ready to hit yet. Thus: courses at Maggie’s Wallace, individual counselling once we've done couples counselling, and I should probably dig out my Moodscope login and start monitoring again. Exercising and working again will both help, but won't solve everything.
2. Immediate family
The children have coped admirably with all the disruption and uncertainty, but they're both showing reaction in different ways. I want to give them lots of security and support and attention and stability. I plan to take a good look at our daily and weekly and seasonal routines with that in mind.
I suspect some additional goals and tasks will come out of couples counselling.
The cliché is that a brush with death provides revelation and motivation to chuck in the job and go follow a long-held dream etc. My revelation from being ill so long is that I really like my work and I miss my job and my colleagues very much, and I want to go back as soon as I feel able. Probably in a phased-return way so I don't go from zero to full time immediately. Anyway, the time to start that conversation with work is probably a week or two into next year when this chemo cycle should be finished.
I'm studying with the OU under transitional fees and the qualification I'm working towards will be discontinued at the end of 2017. It is just
possible for me to finish on time if I work hard from now until September 2017, and especially hard for the nine months Sep 16 - Jun 17. I've decided to give that plan a try but drop the workload if it's too much. If I don't manage to complete by September 2017 much of my course credit is transferable to the replacement qualification anyway.
5. Family, friends and community
The care and support I've received while ill has been amazing and much appreciated. I've found it too easy to let connections slide, especially when busy. So I'm going to put some time and effort into maintaining connections (socialising, letters, emails, calls, blogs, even dratted Facebook), and into making that work part of my daily and weekly routines.
Two things notably absent from the list above:
I won't stop reading entirely, it's too much part of me to read whenever I can. But studying will take up much of the time and effort I'd otherwise spend reading, and that seems a fair trade-off for now.
I'm finding it very hard to engage with politics at the moment: anything more than the most superficial attention to current events leaves me emotionally drained and exhausted. Maybe that'll improve as I recover, but I don't think the five things I am
choosing to prioritise will leave me much time over anyway.
Also posted at http://rmc28.dreamwidth.org/612970.html