Renewal and New Beginnings

So I am now in a new place. I have gone through cancer treatment and survived it. It has of course been horrible but also it has given me a bit of time to think.

As my health has improved I can now contemplate what I am going to do next. Of course there are people who want to climb mountains and run marathons. I want to climb mountains and be able to run marathons. Just now though, my main goal is to improve fitness to a point where I can get up the stairs without being puffed out and walk my three miles which I haven’t done in ages.

Since having cancer I have been asked many times if I have been re-evaluating my life.  Had it changed how I viewed the future? To be honest, it has and it hasn’t. I did re-evaluate a few years ago when I was approaching my 50th year and wondering what I had to show for it. In fact I have a lot to show for it and I am generally happy with what I have done with my life, what I am doing now and where I am going.

A few years ago I decided I would take the option of early retirement at work when the time came. Stopping work at 55 years may seem young but if you had lead the hard physical life I had you would see that if I am to enjoy my retirement I need to do it young before all my joints fall to bits.

In my forward planning I realised that my in laws are going to need some care. Hopefully not a lot but they are both in their mid-seventies and their health is already not as good as it was.

I don’t intend to be a full time carer. I have enjoyed being off, doing lunch, going to the allotment, doing other things and I want to continue to do that while I can. I want to finish a book I started writing as well as a few other projects. I am not waiting for retirement for these things but will be able to do more of them.

The other thing I thought about was dreams. What did I want out of life? I have fulfilled my main dream and landed the perfect nursing job. I didn’t get the chance to travel when I was younger, no money and then children. So one of the things I want to do is take a year out from the five I have left at work, while I still have my health. My husband is on board with this, I think he was more affected  by the cancer and its treatment than I was. He certainly came to realise that life was too short to work so hard and then retire at 67. He is 50 next year and hopes to retire at 60.

Idealy we would have been on this trip between our 50th birthdays but our daughter is still at college. She has one more year to go and then she will be at university. We will start our year off between years so she can come with us somewhere but after that she is on her own. She will be fine as she has a lot of friends and good support from family. She can also cook, clean and budget already. As it happens cancer would have stopped me going anyway.

The things that have changed are my views on friendship and how to be a good friend and also my confidence (always an issue) is at it’s best because I have nothing to fear now.

This leads nicely to me fitness. Obviously cancer treatment has hit me physically, despite this I have maintained some sort of activity most of the time even though it wasn’t at a level I would have liked. I haven’t put any weight on, or lost any. As it happens I was 3 stone over weight at the start so I could still do with losing it. I am nearly over the munchies. For many weeks I couldn’t stop eating and feeling hungry all the time.

Some of that is treatment and some is because I like cake way too much. Anyway, after a weekend of resting up due to tiredness which is radiotherapy related and not as overwhelming as chemo tiredness, I have had a chance to watch the London Marathon and ‘Obese, a year to save my life’ and come to realise that I should start planning for weight loss and fitness.

I have to keep it simple to begin with, building up from walking on the flat at speed to inclines and hills, can’t even do the stairs at home without being puffed out at the top. So aerobic to begin with, and add in some strength building as I can breathe better. I did do well with the walking challenge a few months ago until chemo got me so I will go back to that again

First target for fitness will be a 5 minute fast five minute slow mile.


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