Saturday, 22 September 2007

Nearing the end

I've returned to the thought that perhaps I am nearing the end of this blog. As you have probably noticed, I am writing less and less frequently. I still have a need to write but it is taking on different formats. I also find that there are things I can't talk about here and so I should probably go back to writing a journal. I had wanted to say something about Naomi's miscarriage but I didn't want to cause her any upset. I also need to explore certain aspects of relationships I have. That would also be difficult to do in this format. So, I think that in the next month or so, you will see the end of me writing on line. Do I have an inflated view of what I have been writing to think that anyone other than a few friends and family members will even notice that the blog has gone?

Now that I think of it, it is somewhat strange writing, not knowing if there is an audience or not. Does it matter? I'm not sure. I just have this strange feeling every once in awhile when I have the thought that I am probably writing only for myself but at the same time, writing as if there is an audience. Yes, I know Mary Jane that you are reading this. Has it become our conversation on-line? I'll have to think about that too. You are the only one who writes comments on a regular basis. So, are we alone? With a few eaves droppers?

I'm of now. We are going out shortly to a steam run fun fair in Englefield Green. It comes at the end of a strange day which started with the discovery that a friend had been hit by foot and mouth on her farm. I sat in the car looking at her locked gate, wondering why, when suddenly my eyes and brain took in the official message on the gate: Foot and Mouth. I got out of the car to look closer at the sign because I couldn't quite believe what it said and was met a a DEFRA employee. "Tell me, it's not true," I said hoping that I was reading it incorrectly. "Sorry," he replied. She's lost 40 dairy cattle, her horse livery is closed, as is her farm shop. It brings a lot into perspective.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

What a day!

I've never mentioned it here but Naomi discovered she was pregnant back in mid-August. Today she discovered that she was miscarrying. It's been an emotional day. I also had my three month checkup for the cancer today. That went well and though the results of the blood tests aren't back yet, the consultant was pleased. I feel shell shocked after all this. I imagine that I'll need a few days to take it all in. So, you'll have to excuse me but I'll have to write more later.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Bad Dreams

I've been very anxious for the last few weeks. I thought that it had something to do with going back to school. I have been very tired as well, brought on by the effort of teaching, and lack of sleep. Then I realized that I was dreaming about dying. It all came to a head early Thursday morning when I woke up from a dream in which my doctor was telling me that he always knew that I was going to die from the tumor but didn't want to upset me.

When I think about it, I suppose that it is natural to be worried about becoming ill again. Treatment was so difficult that you can't imagine having to face it once more. Next week is the anniversary of my operation and also my 3-month check up. I'm probably worried about that as well. After the dream, I was very upset and went off to school on the verge of tears. I knew that once I had students I would be alright and that was the case. However, I also forced myself to talk about how I was feeling and the dreams with a few people at work and that has helped a great deal. I shared how I was feeling with one of my colleagues who has had breast cancer and is coming up to her third anniversary. She has been feeling very anxious as well and was glad to know that someone else was in the same situation.

Being ill can be a very isolating situation. It's not often you meet and talk to people who are going through the same. In fact I found that I didn't want to talk to others about being ill. It seemed more than enough just to go through it yourself. To talk to someone else who was ill, to take on someone else's illness as well was just too much. Probably talking would have helped but I didn't realize it at the time.

Yesterday, a man a work who has prostate cancer came to talk to me about government assistance to cancer patients. He has looked so strong and healthy. Now he appears so tired and fragile. He was talking about taking the train to get to his treatment. I was so lucky to have my mum around to drive me. I could never have taken the train. I'm not sure that he will be able to either. He has no idea what it will be like. Cliff tells me that he isn't married. I wonder if he has family around to support him.

Last night I posted a letter on the school website. I've decided that we have to do something at school to support staff who are suffering from long term illness. This is what I said:

Dear All,

I am coming up to the first anniversary of the diagnosis of my cancer and my 3-month check up. For weeks now I have been very anxious and plagued by dreams of dying from my illness. It was only when I started to talk to others that I realized that I was not along in these fears. Moreover, talking about how I was feeling has made me feel so much better.

There are a number of staff members who are recovering from cancer or who are involved in treatment. I’ve come to realise that we should be supporting each other through these times. I had such encouragement from family, friends and colleagues over the last 12 months that I am sure this played a major role in helping me maintaining a positive attitude through good times and bad.

I wonder if a support group would be helpful to those who have a long-term illness or who have a member of the family in such a situation. I don't know what format it might take but I would like to throw the idea out to our community. Perhaps this group would offer people the chance to talk to others in a similar situation. Perhaps, we could accumulate information that would help people cope with long term sick leave issues, disability rights, services within the wider community, and more. There are those who may need help with getting to treatment and some members of the community who would be willing to offer assistance. I don't see the involvement in this group as restricted to those who are ill or who have sick family members. It seems to me that as a community we could all reach out to others and offer some sort of support.

Any ideas would be appreciated and you know where to find me."

I hope that people will be interested. We get so wrapped up in what we are doing and in our own problems that we often can't face involving ourselves in those of others. I'll let you know how it goes.