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

9 thoughts on “You are never too old or ill….

  1. Deb, it seems you and Colin have been thinking a lot and making some good decisions.It’s about you two,and a more perfect fit for a couple I have yet to meet!! Sounds like a romance in there somewhere. As always your blog gets to the heart of the matter. Hope today gives you what you need, you have a lot of people loving your blog and interested in your next move. LETS PARTY!! X

  2. Just retire Mum. You might as well 🙂 More time to see us lot etc. You used to just be mostly about work & enjoy everyday. But now I don’t think you would enjoy it i still in pain or with worries. xx

      • I am also going to have to take early retirement and understand your anger and grief at the loss of your working life. But it seems that through our work, you have made a difference in many people’s lives and that is the measure of your success. That is what I hold on to as well, with my success with many special needs students. The consultant has convinced me to start with the CTD and stem cell transplant rather than the PADIMAC trial, as I am at an early stage (iga 10 and 25% myeloma cells) In fact if my collar bone hadn’t fractured due to a tumour I would still be MGUS and still working! Damn!

  3. Dear Deb, On my usual reading of your blog this morning ( I do follow ou every day and laugh and cry with you but I am not like you and your other friends who are artistic , funny and cleaver with words…what can I say that others haven’t said better. I follow you in silence but wanted you to know that I am thinking of you every day and praying for your good health and perfect results). I noticed you were asking for numbes. Well Sealy and I will definitely be there but as usual I am rubbish at getting my act together to book the tickets. I still have your scarves here! I know you have lots of visitors, you need your sleep and i dont want to intrude, but ill pop round with the scarves and pay for the tickets next weekend if you are free and around.

    Lots of love,

    Anne xxx

  4. Hi Deb, what a really tough decision you have had to make especially as your job meant so much to you. I think you have made the right one though for you and your family, you definitely need the relaxation to recuperate fully.
    Don’t worry about party preparations, we are all here to help! – just let us know date of the next planning meeting.
    Enjoy your day, and see you soon. Hxxx
    p.s. I have sent payment for our tickets, so hope you got this ok. x

  5. Retirement from your current job doesn’t mean you will stop affecting people’s lives and supporting the mental health of others as you have been proving with your daily blog ( you just don’t get paid for it !). See retirement as a new start , you know things will turn up , relax and reflect on what you have been able to do so far. X

  6. It is a tough decision, it was hard for tony to take the leap into retirement, but it’s the best thing he ever did (I know the circumstances are different, but it was still tough). Something will come up, there’s always something round the corner, that lottery win may be on its way!!

    I will purchase my tickets tonite. Let me no a date for the committee mtg. Take care xx 😊

  7. I was thankful to retire after the Lymphoma diagnosis! Thankful to get out of a world of toxic stress and toxic chemicals (medical lab tech) but I was able to get long term disability here in Canada until I reached retirement age so that really helped with the money issues. However, I would still, for me, have chosen family and marriage over work even without the disability pay, as with my life expectancy shortened it was all too precious to be with the grandchildren etc. You’ll work it out how it’s best for you both. Love, Nicola

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