Bloomin’ well

floIt’s been a while. Far too long since I last updated this blog. I’d like to say that I’ve been away on some grand adventure. But no. I’ve just been shattered. I’m glad to say that my radio silence is not due to being ill again.

It feels like I’m being stalked by tiredness. I can’t just shake it off. Whenever I think that I’ve beaten it and I do more, like have a sort of normal day, it comes back again and knocks me sideways.

Of course I’ve spent plenty of time over the last year and a half being exhausted. But this is a constant and enduring kind of frustrating fatigue. My bones and muscles feel hollow.

I haven’t stopped doing things but I tend to do less and at a much more leisurely pace. This gives you more of an appreciation of the simple pleasures in life. I’ve been enjoying spending time with family and catching up with friends including some that I haven’t seen for decades!

Also I’ve now found new ways of being active without moving much. I’ve started doing a bit of gardening. Well, pruning roses in my parent’s garden. I either stand or sit and chop away. I quite like cutting out the dead and dying parts of the plant and ending up with a rose bush that’s very much alive. I’ve been surprised at how therapeutic it is. Plus it makes my arms ache, in a good way.

Back in the day before all the cancer stuff happened I had a personal trainer. One of the things we used to work on was improving my fitness so I’d be better at netball. My PT used to make me work so hard that I’d swear at him which he loved as he knew he was doing his job properly.

I don’t see my personal trainer anymore but not so long ago he sent me a present in the post. Inside a massive cardboard box was a netball. Now I spent small packets of time throwing the ball in the air, sometimes when I’m sat in my comfy chair in the living room. When you’re so unbelievably tired being able to do small things means so much.

Despite being wiped out most of the time, I do feel well. It’s now three months since my chemo ended. I’m gradually beginning to believe that things may not turn out quite as bad as I’d expected. After my devastating diagnosis in December I thought my life would now be a relentless circle of cancer-chemo-cancer-chemo etc with little time to recover in-between. Now I’m daring to think the gap between may be long and lovely.

Recently someone asked me what happens next. I replied that I was just waiting for the cancer to become active again. But as soon as I said it, I knew that wasn’t right. I’m doing anything but waiting. It was at that moment I realised something special. While the disease is dormant I’m getting on with enjoying life even though it’s now a seriously slow pace.

17 thoughts on “Bloomin’ well

  1. Beautiful Roses for a beautiful Rose, I hope you will be pruning them for a very long time Helen, you are such in inspiration. Good luck and best wishes to you.

  2. Helen. I woke up this morning feeling dreadfully sorry for myself, but then when I read your blog it puts things into perspective. We should be grateful for what we have, make the most of it and not wallow in the things we can’t change. You are an inspiration.

  3. Pruning out the dead and letting the alive flourish, I am so with you on that one!!!!

  4. So glad to hear you are continuing to get stronger, you are an inspiration. Best Wishes Tracy G

  5. So happy to read on your blog this morning that you are well. Hope the awful tiredness leaves you soon. Its great that you are getting to spend time with family and friends. Best medicine ever!! You have made my Sunday with your great attitude and outlook. Best wishes.

  6. I felt the same way you do when I finished treatment. I figured I was done I can bounce right back and do things I missed doing while in treatment. That didn’t happen for a while after so instead I started painting ( which I had never done before) .I felt at least I was accomplishing something. I found I loved it and continue to paint.
    It takes time but you will start to get your energy back. I’m glad you are not waiting ….but enjoying life.

  7. Nothing wrong with being wiped out all the time. It happens to surfers as a matter of course. Consider your situation as a type of surfing.

  8. Helen, your spirit is so great, I am in awe of you. Nature has this magical way to bring us to life, that no pill or treatment could do. I too have found just sitting tending my plants has enlivened me and brought me such joy. Take care, it is lovely to see you writing again.

  9. No point in ruminating or speculating;
    This moment is the most important; just being here.
    Make the most of it; make the best of it;
    how words of wisdom fizz around our heads, day in and day out
    forcing us to justify every second of our existence.
    What happened to ‘just being’?
    Goals to attain; ‘must have’ experiences;
    the new car; the gadget which will ‘save you time’;
    When we all know that nothing can save time… it plods on relentlessly … ad infinitum, whether we are present or not;
    Forever and always, for eternity … a concept we can’t get our heads around … dead forever, alive for a moment.
    Don’t put it off; snap it up now while you can; because only God knows what will happen if you don’t.

    Seen that play? Walked that cliff path? Eaten that 3 star Michelin meal or bungee jumped off that bridge?
    The constant reminder of what could have been, or might be; do today, that you can rest tomorrow with a good conscience.
    The voice in your head which says you are worthless unless you have ‘been there and done that’;
    The measure of your life and the way you use your time;
    The ever-present ‘bucket list’ … quick …time is running out …
    Machu Pichu … didn’t do;
    Oh hell …. Another failure.

    For time moves on regardless; having no regard to your inner turmoil; morbid thoughts have no place in our daydreams;
    We live under the pressure to fulfil dreams;
    Put into it what you plan to take out; investment today reaps rewards tomorrow.
    Don’t stand still …God forbid the world moves forward and you are left behind…

    Dear Helen,
    What I want to say is that, fulfilling ‘experiences’, mean different things to different people …whereas you may find joy being driven round a racetrack by a F1 driver, for me it would mean finding peace with my father, who was a wonderful dad when I was young, but unfortunately exited my life when he divorced my mum when I was 18. Years of regret, which no thrill ride could ever compensate for.

    I was glad to hear you say at the end of your Radio 4 programme that you will be concentrating on the ‘small things’ in life; it’s not about who you know, or how daring you were; it’s about who you love and what you mean to them, and what they mean to you.

    All very best wishes,
    Karen x

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