rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
This is articulating a lot of stuff I've been thinking over, especially the last month or so, about my priorities as I start getting "back to normal".


1. Health and fitness
(content note: exercise, weight, mental health)
Read more... )

2. Immediate family

The children have coped admirably with all the disruption and uncertainty, but they're both showing reaction in different ways. I want to give them lots of security and support and attention and stability. I plan to take a good look at our daily and weekly and seasonal routines with that in mind. 

I suspect some additional goals and tasks will come out of couples counselling.


3. Work

The cliché is that a brush with death provides revelation and motivation to chuck in the job and go follow a long-held dream etc.  My revelation from being ill so long is that I really like my work and I miss my job and my colleagues very much, and I want to go back as soon as I feel able.  Probably in a phased-return way so I don't go from zero to full time immediately.  Anyway, the time to start that conversation with work is probably a week or two into next year when this chemo cycle should be finished.


4. Studying

I'm studying with the OU under transitional fees and the qualification I'm working towards will be discontinued at the end of 2017. It is just possible for me to finish on time if I work hard from now until September 2017, and especially hard for the nine months Sep 16 - Jun 17. I've decided to give that plan a try but drop the workload if it's too much.   If I don't manage to complete by September 2017 much of my course credit is transferable to the replacement qualification anyway.


5. Family, friends and community

The care and support I've received while ill has been amazing and much appreciated.    I've found it too easy to let connections slide, especially when busy.  So I'm going to put some time and effort into maintaining connections (socialising, letters, emails, calls, blogs, even dratted Facebook), and into making that work part of my daily and weekly routines.



Two things notably absent from the list above:

1. Reading.

I won't stop reading entirely, it's too much part of me to read whenever I can. But studying will take up much of the time and effort I'd otherwise spend reading, and that seems a fair trade-off for now.


2. Politics

I'm finding it very hard to engage with politics at the moment: anything more than the most superficial attention to current events leaves me emotionally drained and exhausted.  Maybe that'll improve as I recover, but I don't think the five things I am choosing to prioritise will leave me much time over anyway.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I have a diagnosis and a treatment plan.

Bad news and good news: I have acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL), a type of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). It is curable. I will be undergoing chemotherapy for about the next six months, the first month or so as an inpatient, the rest as outpatient but making regular visits.

I'm now in ward D6 for the rest of my inpatient stay. I will be grateful for visitors in hospital if people are able (but I'm going to have lowered immunity so not if you've anything communicable).

I'm still coming to terms with this, so I might be slow to respond to comments. I appreciate every one of them.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
 I've been told very firmly by a doctor that I am to stay here today. Tests this morning, and probably more this afternoon depending on results.

The parallels with my day job (analysing and fixing software errors) are especially strong today.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
That's been my life the last few days. I've now got some certainty so I can say what's going on.

I'm currently in Addenbrookes hospital in Cambridge, I've been signed off sick until the end of next week and it's quite likely I'll be off longer. I've gone from being "a bit of a mystery" to having my illness identified, but the cause of my illness probably won't be known for another week. There's a range of possible causes from minor to scary, but even the scary ones are treatable. I am not worrying in advance of the data.

So still lots of uncertainty, but enough certainty to talk about now: I'm going to be on bed rest for at least another week and I'm not going back to work soon, but I'm also unlikely to get suddenly worse.

I may get to go home this week (tomorrow even!) because I can bedrest there, but anyone familiar with this hospital and its discharge administration will know to believe I'm going home when I'm going out the door of the ward, and not a minute sooner.

I have internet and my ebook, audiobook & music collection. I'm currently in a room to myself (with ensuite!) and the food is adequate but not exciting. I'm bored and visitors are welcome, but text my mobile first in case I'm going home (message me if you want my number). Ward N3, visiting hours 2-5pm & 7-8:30pm.

Medical detail at great length will be available in a filtered post or an email: let me know by comment or message or email if you want to know, but I'm not putting it in a public post.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
My doctor wrote to me to request a follow-up blood test for my vitamin D levels.  The symptoms certainly match, as do the risk factors (being fat, breastfeeding, latitude).   The earliest I was able to book a blood test is next Friday, so I am trying hard to contain my impatience until then.

I managed to run three times in the last week, and I'm going to bed when I'm tired rather than trying to get everything done each evening.  I don't feel as awful as I did a week ago but I'm a long way off what I like to think is "normal for me".  Let's not talk about the to-do list or the paperwork pile.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
l was pretty sarcastic about the doctor telling me what I already know.  But since speaking to him, I have taken more concrete action towards both sleep and exercise than I've managed in the last two months, and I'm not feeling quite so ground down by exhaustion.  (I'm still not getting enough done, but baby steps.)

Maybe if I'd done that in the last two months I wouldn't have needed to go to the doctor at all.

Maybe I could work on being kind to myself without needing an external authority figure to agree with me that I need something.



rmc28: (charles2011)
Charles fell off his new shiny bike with pedals and no stabilisers[1]. He's fine. We wasted precious NHS resources on a trivial accident endured the terrible delays and rationing of socialised healthcare spent a few hours in ER A&E making sure he was fine.
Read more... )
rmc28: Charles on a climbing frame (charles2010)
So, I didn't see Show of Hands the Friday before last after all. By the time I'd got Charles home I was feeling distinctly tired and unwilling to go out again, even for great music. So for once I did the sensible thing and conserved my strength, which turned out to be useful.

Charles got ill on the following Sunday with a cold that got nasty and feverish. Jonny very kindly covered the office-hours childcare/nursing duties so Tony & I could work. On Wednesday evening Charles developed a stomach ache on top of all the existing symptoms, and we were referred by NHS Direct to the local out-of-hours service. There we eventually saw a doctor, who diagnosed tonsillitis and prescribed penicillin. This we got from the "midnight pharmacy", only a short bike ride away (and prescriptions are free for children, I'd forgotten that).

Penicillin is great stuff: within 24 hours the fever was nearly gone, within 48 hours most of the other symptoms were gone too, and within 72 hours Charles was convalescing nicely. We have dutifully finished the course, and I am so glad we live in a country and time where antibiotics are available and effective.

If you have to have a sick child, it's so much easier when the child can tell you what hurts and where. When we had the Great Norovirus Incident of 2008, he could barely talk. This time he was answering the doctor for himself - including at one point asking her to look at him when he was talking, not at her computer. Luckily for us, she seemed charmed rather than annoyed.
rmc28: (bat-funny)
The house woe is getting sorted.
Read more... )

My foot was xrayed and is not broken; and has in fact started to improve in the last 24 hours. At this morning's checkup the doctor said it was most likely tendonitis, though the root cause remains a mystery. Anyway, it should heal up in another 1-2 weeks, if I can continue to stay off it as much as possible and continue with the ibuprofen. This has cheered me up greatly as I feel there is an end in sight to the tedious regime of getting the bus everywhere. At least Charles has enjoyed the extra bus rides.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
A few weeks ago there was Ellie's hen night, which she has already written up.
Blue drink in the fireplace

I got home from that to meet up with my dad and Tony accompanying Charles to the temporary funfair on Parkers Piece, on its last day:
Funfair

Dad stayed for a couple of days, looking after Charles while J was on her holiday and both Tony & I had to work. He also managed some delicious baking and some useful jobs around the house, all of which was much appreciated.

And then there was DWCon, which I think we all enjoyed very much. Tony and I both got to a few events, but mostly there was lots of socialising, and children playing together and swimming. The children were collectively adorable, and lovely parents let me have lots of tiny-baby snuggles. Babies don't keep and it's a long time since Charles was that small. A migraine knocked me out on Saturday night so I missed the AFP Hedgehog Party, but was kept at bay on Sunday & Monday with copious painkillers (and surprisingly-effective cuddles from Charles).

Gala dinner Discworld hat

And finally, yesterday's doctor kindly reissued my migraine meds prescription and referred me for a foot xray (to take place Monday). She also told me to keep off the foot really As Much As Possible, so I am trying harder.
rmc28: (bat-worry)
I'm going to the doctor tomorrow afternoon. I used the new online booking system to get two consecutive appointments with the same doctor, one for my head (more migraine meds please) and one for my foot (annoyingly not better). It will be interesting to see what the doctor makes of it.

I do like being able to book appointments online: availability isn't great, but I can at least see when they are and who they are with and schedule non-urgent things at a time to suit me. This is much better than making phone calls at times that don't suit me so that a receptionist can look at the computer for me and try to convey potential times down the phone to me inefficiently while asking personal questions about why I need the doctor anyway. Some of these I am happy to discuss in an open-plan office; some not.

Notes/whinge to self behind the cut, for printing and referring to at appointments.
Read more... )
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
ramblings )
This afternoon we have been to an alumnae Family Day at Murray Edwards, with barbecue, toys, treasure hunt, face painting, afternoon tea with yummy cake and lots of conversations with other alumnae parents. Luckily there is plenty of shade in the Fellows Garden so I survived quite well. Tomorrow we're going to a Family Barbecue at Trinity which will be busier and with less shade, but hopefully will still include interesting conversation and fun things for children.

And now I am going to rest and attempt to cool down a bit before contemplating doing anything else today.
rmc28: (glowy)
I've had a headache all week that won't quite die: it gets better when I'm lying in bed and worse when I'm walking around. It's nothing like my experience of migraine and it's not even particularly debilitating, though it is distracting. Neither paracetamol nor ibuprofen do a thing for it.

A very nice friendly doctor checked me out yesterday and eliminated swathes of scary things I don't have and thinks it's most likely a tension headache, caused by stresses mental and physical (e.g. having had flu 2 weeks ago and a full-time job and a small child). I am instructed to sleep more and rest more and go easy on myself. Try codeine to see if works any better than the NSAIDs (which I haven't yet but might this evening). And go back if it hasn't gone away in 10 more days.

So I have continued getting the bus where possible and walking slower-than-usual (which means I need a coat) and slacking off on the housework. I do feel much more myself this week though, which is great.

More general health and fitness )

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rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Rachel Coleman

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