As a quick recap to remind you of dates; my treatment finished on the 28th April 2018. Some 4 months later, the 1st September arrived.
We’d been blessed with one of the best summers in terms of heat and lots of sunshine in a long time and September started no differently and although I still couldn’t sun worship like I usually would (based on advice from my oncologist), a high factor sun cream allowed me to enjoy the glorious weather!
September was a real turning point for me physically. I could see a massive difference in my energy levels, strength, appearance and for the first time in a what seemed a lifetime, I felt I could say ‘I feel normal’.
Due to me not being able to ‘overdo’ it in the sun (chemotherapy side effect) my wife and I had decided to ‘put on hold’ a holiday aboard until later in the year when temperatures had cooled slightly and my skin would be able to tolerate the sun that little bit better. So instead of heading off on a plane, we packed our bags jumped in the car and headed away to the City of Cambridge to enjoy a long weekend.
It seemed surreal. 4 months earlier I would have never expected I would be well enough, physically or mentally to be able to go away and enjoy a late summers break with my wife. Life truly has an amazing way of getting things ‘back on track’ for those of us who are fortunate enough to have a ‘second chance’ at life.
We chose to visit Cambridge as neither of us had ever been yet we’d heard and seen so much about it; and one of the things I’d promised myself and Robin was that we would ensure we made time to ‘do and see’ new things.
So, 4 months on after treatment had finished my physical energy was definitely at a level where I could call it ‘normal’ but my mentally I still had challenges. Part of my mind wanted to enjoy the ‘moment’ but then it seemed to be pulled back by a thought of ‘worry’. What if I overdo it? What if I’m walking to much? (you get the idea!). As always my wife would be my voice of reason and helped to ‘recalibrate’ my thoughts.
Walking around Cambridge gave me a real sense of achievement. I managed more than 20,000 steps according to my fitness app and that was by far the most I had walked in a long time. I remember heading to bed wondering how much I’d ‘pay’ for it the following morning; but sure enough I woke up and with just a few tight leg muscles I was up and ready to face the day!
Cambridge was a great experience. Not only did we see many beautiful places and things but from a personal perspective it will always be the place where I started to feel ” yes, I am getting back to normal” I was enjoying things I had only dreamed I’d be able to do again just 6 months earlier. My wife and I got to build memories together and actually start to put some of the experience we’d faced a few months before behind us.
If you’re on your journey I’d encourage you to take the time in your ‘recovery’ to explore and rebuild yourself by doing or going somewhere ‘new’, it helped me both physically and mentally by giving me the confidence I’d lost over the previous few months.
Cambridge – thank you for the memories.
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