Yesterday was really relaxing. We had a long leisurely lunch out with friends, something we don’t often do, and I’ve been reading. It is good to be able to eat normal food again; both Raymond and I missed the variety of salads we have always had in summer and for me, in particular with a dry mouth, delicious food like tomatoes are a real joy.
Apart from when I have been away on holiday, I have not usually spent very much time doing nothing. There has always been something to do in the house or garden and even when I’ve been on school holidays, it has been a time to catch up on tasks that I didn’t really have time for when I was working. When I first left hospital I had no energy and couldn’t have been busy even if I’d wanted to be. Although I still mustn’t do any gardening or housework, my energy level is much higher now and though it hasn’t returned to normal, I can begin to think about planning my life a little more.
Even though I stopped teaching in the summer of 2008, I didn’t really have an experience of normal retirement. First of all we spent quite a lot of time on various holidays and then by the time those were over, I had relapsed and embarked on chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In fact I did my first half semester of my PhD while I was having chemotherapy.
It was very good having some study and research to do during the first period of chemotherapy but as time wore on the chemo began to have a more debilitating effect and I had to suspend my studies. I think retirement must be planned. I had never intended to stop work and do nothing. Of course, I had tasks around the house and garden in addition to helping Raymond with the courses. I have never wanted to have a vacuous life of shopping and coffee mornings which is why I had hoped to study and carry out reading and research which I had not been able to do while teaching. I feel now that I can begin to think about the future. There is always going to be a possibility of the lymphoma returning but I should like to plan for the best scenario. Normally bone transplant patients have to take twelve months off work, so I am hoping to return to study next February. If I study part time then I shall be able to balance this with spending time with Raymond which I very much enjoy.