You are never too old or ill….

…to go camping even if it is in the conservatory.
It is so romantic and exciting decorating the place with candles and snuggling down with a hot chocolate. Colin and I are so lucky to have found each other, we never bore of each others company even though we are spending much of every day together nowadays. All of this makes it so much harder to bare to think I have a life limiting disease. I just need to make the most of the time I have and this is why I am considering taking up the option of retiring early due to ill health. Especially if I am only going to get half pay when I am off sick which unfortunately I am bound to be again and my entitlement to full pay runs out in June. Having said that, this is a very difficult decision to make. I have spent the majority of my life working in mental health, passionate about making a difference and reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness. If I take the option that gives me the biggest lump sum which is the most sensible offer to take, I will never again be able to work in the NHS. At least I will be leaving on a high I suppose. I have designed and developed a service to improve children’s mental health that is working very well even without me there. I know we have long waiting lists but really that’s only a sign of our success and if properly funded in the future this can be addressed. But I would be losing a hell of a lot, I have built up lots of friendships with my colleagues and genuinely feel cared for and respected by them, but there is my husband and family to think of. I have given over most of my time to my job over the last fifteen years at my husband and families expense, often working late into the night and at the weekends. I need to think realistically and that means facing the likelihood that I may not reach retirement age. If I do retire early it will be a struggle to make ends meet but we will have each other and I am sure we will manage somehow. I am so ANGRY that this blasted disease has put me in this position but it has, I just have to accept it and learn how to live with cancer.

Today I get to go up to London again for some tests, a two hour meeting with the Harvesting Nurse so that she can explain the side effects of the treatment I have to endure next and gain my consent, and a consultation with the doctor. I have a list of questions prepared and will ask his advice on taking early retirement. I have been avoiding the ultimate question but I think I need to take a deep breath in and ask in likelihood how long do I have.  Even thinking and writing this down brings tears to my eyes and again begs the question why me? I haven’t done anything wrong and all my life I have only wanted to help people, it just seems so unfair. Sorry rant over, I suppose this is what this blog is all or at least partly about. Getting it all out in the open, letting go of my feelings and sharing them with those of you kind enough to listen and read my blog. Thank you again for sticking with me through the thick and thin.

Talking about happier times I have a party to get sorted. So far only five people have purchased their tickets. The idea behind you paying for your tickets now is that we get to know numbers. So please do purchase yours and if you haven’t received your invite and payment details send me an email please. If you don’t like paying using bank transfer send me an email and let me know you are definitely coming and we will sort something out. It is only just over six weeks away. Thank goodness for those lovely people who helped to clear the barn out. I must now get on with making tablecloths, decorations etc. I think we need another party committee meeting I am starting to panic a little, all quite unnecessarily I am sure.

Well I had better get out of my camping bed before the postman or someone else turns up and wonders what’s going on, not that I am really that bothered!

Have a good day and like I say over and over again do try to appreciate it, time is the most precious resource around so spend it wisely.

Love Deborah x