From Facebook, one of my irregular updates:
I spend a lot more time in bed these days, which probably isn’t surprising. I sleep on average between 10-11 hours a night, though I slept till midday a few days ago. It’s a broken sleep mostly and filled with strange, drug-induced dreams.
My bed is a haven, however. Most nights I’m in bed by 10pm, much earlier than before cancer. For an hour or so, I’ll read. When I wake groggily in the morning I’ll make a coffee and return to bed where I’ll check up on the news for another hour or so on my iPad.
You fall into routines. First thing out of bed is a hot bath. I reckon I have 10 baths for every shower these days, because it feels more therapeutic. I can relax and wash and let the hot water seep into my always weary bones.
I’ve always been a bath person, though not nearly to this extent. I reckon you could divide the world into those who love a hot bath and those who don’t and it reveals a lot. A hot bath is more than an exercise in good bodily hygiene. It’s an indulgence, and sometimes a sensual pleasure (sharing a hot bubble bath with a good friend is always a delight). You can take a book with you, a glass of wine, can listen to music, and so on – none of which I do in my morning ablutions. (Baths are better when it’s dark outside and chill).
Since the start of February, I’ve been working 3 hours a day. I’ve just agreed to increase it to 4 hours, not because I feel more able, but because I need the money – my car needs a new fuel pump.
I have good days and bad days. On the good days the work comes easy. On the bad days, it’s very hard. Still, I’m surprised how quickly I’ve found the groove again, and how effective on limited time.
The rest of my life is dull. I rarely go out, mostly because there’s little pleasure in the things that gave joy to me once, though I miss people. I occupy my time resting while scrolling through news sites and social media. If there’s any decent sport on during the day, I’ll watch it. In the evening I watch Netflix, or similar. I read a hell of a lot and it’s a great pleasure. Since January 1 I’ve read 36 books. There’s little other recreation other than occasional visits from friends, though – weirdly – I’ve taken to home decoration recently, shifting things around and augmenting my home.
One of my recreations before was cooking. I loved to cook and would do so quite extravagantly at times. There’s little point now. The act of eating is still awkward, and occasionally painful. I have little appetite anyway, which comes as a shock (that has to change – I was a foodie before with a mighty appetite). I may have put on 2-3 kilos since getting out of hospital, but no more.
The good news is that while there’s plenty that ails me still, I feel myself becoming stronger and fitter. That’s very important, psychologically as well as physically. I still can’t do much of what I could before, but it’s only a matter of time.
That sums it up generally – a matter of time. I see the surgeons again on the 24th. I’m guessing they’ll give me the rubber stamp proclaiming me cancer-free, but I’ll be hard at them to get these last things fixed.
I’m deaf in my right ear – I’m hoping they can do something about that. Then there’s my mouth, which feels like a war zone – spikes of scar tissue and exposed nerves and swelling that means I can’t open my mouth far or speak clearly. Or eat much. It’s what is causing all the headaches I think, and I fear something has gone amiss, misaligned, whatever. I hope it’s not too late to rectify.
I’m determined to come out of this more capable than ever. I’m held back, but I have great dreams. And the good news is that I’m on the waiting list for a new chocolate lab puppy. By the time he’s ready, so should I be.