The journey I am currently undergoing has been difficult physically and psychologically. I admitted to Anna yesterday that I was feeling somewhat depressed and she commented that it wasn't unlike the feelings some people get when they retire except that I had never planned for a retirement which was going to be so inactive.
If I hadn't been diagnosed with lymphoma, I doubt if I would have retired when I did, but you can't go on for ever. As it was, having had a year of teaching through illness and chemotherapy, my final year of teaching took place whilst I was in partial remission and feeling comparatively well. I knew I would miss teaching, the companionship of staff and relationship with the girls. However, I had had a successful career which ended on a high.
I had a lot to look forward to. During the darkest days of my illness, Raymond had booked two trips on the QE2 which we were due to take in the September, two months after the start of my retirement and I had already been accepted by Southampton University to study for a PhD. When I finished my MA many years before I would have loved to have gone on to do a PhD but the children were young and I needed to earn a living so this was something I promised I'd do when I retired. Before submitted a proposal there is always plenty of research to carry out and this was fun. Sometimes it involved Anna and I studying together, going to libraries or the National Archives.
I was due to start the PhD in February 2009 but by November 2008 my partial remission was over and the lymphoma had returned just as the oncologist said it would. I decided I would still go ahead as it gave me something to aim for and I was keeping occupied. I did change from full to part-time and although my chemotherapy had started in January 2009, I was very positive.