As someone who is generally organised and likes nothing better than the calendar full of social commitments, the big unknown of what was round the corner and how my treatment would make me feel, was hugely daunting. I found I became very reticent to plan ahead. I felt the need to have things to look forward to, to give me something to focus on other than my illness and treatment, but on the other hand I worried I might have to cancel things which would feel like a kick in the teeth. I learnt to plan things that could be flexed and make people aware that there was a risk I’d need to see how I was feeling. That way it didn’t feel like I would be letting them down. I still find the anxiety of planning ahead heightens in the run up to a key appointment, in the hope the appointment will give me the permission I so desire to make plans on the basis that things look to be under control.
I continue to feel torn between the need to be cautious about how I continue to respond to the treatment and the need to lead a normal life, planning in holidays etc. Discussing this with my oncologist, he encouraged me to take some calculated risks (cue immediate concern he thinks I should make the most of the short time I have left).
We made plans to travel abroad on two occasions in 2015, accepting the possibility that plans may have to change last minute if my health dictated. We played it safe by staying in Europe. I didn’t attempt to get travel insurance (I know the cost would have been high with me being in active treatment), and I hoped the EHIC card would cover any immediate healthcare needs. We were fortunate to be able to take the boys to Mallorca in May and France in July. Initially I wanted to hold back from telling them that we’d booked. Inevitably they picked up on conversations but we tried not to mention it too often in the run up, just in case.