Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Alone but not lonely.

Having been off work for three months already, I have had to become used to long periods at home alone. I'm lucky as Mr G works in a school so has school holidays off, this has meant that I have had some respite. It was incredibly difficult coming to terms with a life without the routines to which I was accustomed. When I was recovering from surgery, I was restricted by my limited strength and stamina. Now, while I have chemo, I am restricted by the effects and demands of the regime. So, what do I do to pass the time? I am quite capable and able to undertake household jobs and errands during two weeks of my chemo cycle. I struggle during the first week, when my muscle strength is affected. It was quite upsetting to realise I could not even chop an onion!
My lifeline during the last three months has been the Internet. There are unkind souls who suggest that I might be addicted to my facebook games, but they do provide a free, easy pastime. Aside from the games aspect though, I have a lifeline of company through facebook and twitter. I have 'virtual' and real life friends all over the world. This means that there are people to talk to 24/7. I use facebook and twitter in completely different ways. Facebook is for games and for exchanges with people who are in the most part people I know in real life. I chat with colleagues and family, it feels for all the world that we are just chatting about day to day stuff. Twitter is very different - my interactions started first as a professional learning network for my work as a teacher. Gradually this built up, then some of the initially professional contacts became friends, with whom I have 140 character conversations about all kinds of topics from the domestic and bizarre! I now have 185 people on twitter with whom I interact on varying levels. The psychological importance of being able to keep in touch with education and educators during an extended period of absence cannot be overstated. Since I started blogging about my fight with cancer, I have gained new contacts through twitter and my blog. Some of these are people I interact with daily, some only once in a while.
I am also taking the opportunity to read while I have the time. I must admit that I am indulging in 'easy reading'. I can't cope with anything too serious or emotional so my bag comes back from the library full of chick lit and whodunnits! These all take me out of my living room and into other places and countries with engrossing characters. If a book does not grab me by the end of the first chapter it goes back to the library! I tried audiotapes but I tend to fall asleep and miss important parts of the plot. Some might say I have lost the plot!
I have tried to do my embroidery but the numbness caused by the chemo makes it hard for me to hold the needle. This is very disappointing but I hope that after all the chemo finishes I will be able to start again.
I do have days when I am totally fed up and cheesed off. Everybody does. But I really have to say that thanks to the Internet and the characters in the books I read I may be alone, but I'm never lonely.