All entries for November 2006

November 26, 2006

Achieving Happiness

Got chemo number five out of the way on time which was a relief. It means that the last one will be out of the way by mid December giving me a chance to have a good relaxing Christmas. The cumulative effects mean that I am taking a bit longer to recover each time and my hands and feet are tingling more, but I can still do things although I don’t have much strength.

More interesting is working on future prevention. I am currently working on understanding what brings me happiness as this will enable me to survive and grow. Fairly obvious, one would think, but reading the Dalai Lama’s words it becomes clear that there is a big gap between pleasure and happiness. Happiness is watching the sunlight dappling through the trees at Brandon Marsh. Pleasure is having a new item of clothing or seeing a good film. Kindness, compassion, gentleness are all qualities that I have to bring to myself to allow happiness. I mentioned previously that I have been working with the Clinical Health Psychologist at the hospital, with Acitve chi therapy and now reading the Dalai Lama. They all say the same thing. I was not expecting such convergence, but it is mind-blowing and stomach-churning. These ideas are vital to my survival.

Learning them is hard. A few steps forward and several back, but being kind to myself is essential. Learning meditation and relaxation gently is a major part of the change. It is not easy and I don’t always succeeed, but I slowly I will change and grow. I can even begin to understand and forgive last year’s attacks on me.

November 10, 2006

health Update

I had not realised it had been so long since I last wrote. It has been an up and down month. The last chemotherapy was delayed by a week as my white blood cell count was too low. It is difficult to deal with as I gear myself up for the treatment and then it does not happen.

I was looking forward to a week of feeling good and being able to catch up with people. Unfortunately I managed to catch a weird bug that had me laid out for a couple of days and feeling drained afterwards. So not as much fun as I thought.

This last chemo was number four – so only two more to go which is a relief. I will be able to start the New Year with improving health. I find that my energy is OK in the morning, but by lunch time I am feeeling washed out. A rest helps, but sometimes I feel unable to do too much.

The family are all mucking in. The children are discovering the joys of cooking and cleaning. I am trying to do the bits that annoy me. I have about enough energy for about an hour before I need to sit down.

I am working with the clinical health psychologist at Warwick Hospital to develop relaxation strategies. Her techniques mirror what I am already doing with meditation and relaxation. It really does help, although not an easy process for me to learn.

I really do appreciate all the good friends I have who spend time with me for coffee. It keeps me in touch with the real world. One of the problems with being off sick is that you can get a very constrained view from the sofa.

November 2006

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