They say you shouldn’t run before you can walk.
But I think I’m all walked out.
My recovery is going well and I think it’s time to step things up a gear. But I’m finding it difficult trying to work out how to get the balance right, to achieve the ideal equilibrium.
As reported in previous blogs, my treatment programme is now behind me, and I’m into full-scale recovery mode, with a view to getting back to ‘normal’ in the new year.
But that won’t happen without a bit of effort from me, and a bit of support from those around me.
I’ve started the return-to-work process. I’m doing more walks with the puppy. I’m trying to keep my mind and body active each day, especially now that Mrs Slorance is out to work three days a week. And my sticker/reward chart is going reasonably well!
Surprisingly, given the symptoms that developed, I was probably at the fittest (and lightest) I’d been in adulthood when I was diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma last October. The irony is not lost on me…
I was clocking up the miles every week on the bikes. I was eating well. I was playing regular 5-a-side football. I was in pretty good shape, even if I say so myself.
I’d love to get back there. Back out on the bikes – on the road and into the hills. Back embarrassing myself on the football pitch. Back losing weight through obsessive use of the myfitnesspal app.
I know this won’t happen overnight. I’ve got to be prepared to let the recovery build gradually. To understand that my body still needs rest as much as it needs exercise. To avoid burn out and a return to square one (well hopefully not square one, but certainly a snake slide back down the board).
This is true not only for my physical and mental recovery, but also my return to work programme.
I’m desperately keen to get back into the office. At a desk surrounded by colleagues. Meetings. Emails. Phone calls. Chat and banter. Using my brain. Doing what (I think!) I’m good at.
But my workplace have a duty of care, and quite rightly they want to exercise that duty carefully. My enthusiasm to get back to the cut and thrust/daily grind has to be tempered with the need to ensure that my work programme is integral to my overall recovery plan.
But I’ve started the process. Met with my supportive line manager. Spoken to the equally supportive HR team. Next stop a meeting with Occupational Health to assess my ‘fitness’ and develop a phased return plan that suits both me and the organisation. All going to plan I’ll be commuting back into central Edinburgh from next month, and honestly I can’t wait!
Hopefully that commuting might be on the bike, as it was before I went off sick.
I’m building up my physical fitness with my daily (often twice daily) walks with the fast-growing Bailey. But I need to start doing more. I just need a wee bit of motivation to get the bikes out of the garage or the swim shorts out of the drawer.
I hope that I’ll get a fair amount of motivation tomorrow when I head through to Glasgow to ‘Back the Brits’ in the Davis Cup semi-final versus Argentina.
It’ll be my first major tennis event and I couldn’t have picked a more inspiring start by seeing not only Andy Murray in action on home ‘soil’ but also Juan Martín del Potro, the Argentinian star who has really defied the odds by returning to the top echelons of world tennis after some incredible injury challenges.
My 6-year-old daughter started tennis lessons in the summer through a Davis Cup winning legacy programme organised brilliantly by the Lawn Tennis Association so maybe she and I will take to the courts next week as another element of my recovery programme!
You also can’t fail to be inspired by the wonderful Paralympians in Rio. What they’ve achieved in the face of true adversity is utterly humbling, and if I can’t look at their herculean efforts and think “you know what, just get out on your bike, it’s only a lack of puff you’ve got” then I really don’t deserve to get better.
So, onwards and upwards. And by next summer I might be a rippling Adonis* again.
[*may not have been a rippling Adonis previously…]
PS – regular readers will know about the amazing fundraising that my brave wee pal Joe and his family are undertaking to raise funds to create a dedicated ‘pre-teen’ room in the children’s oncology ward at the Sick Kids Hospital in Edinburgh. They’ve now raised well in excess of £15,000 and at the weekend Joe’s brothers and a bunch of friends ‘Braved the Shave’ to raise even more money for this brilliant cause. Well done to them all – not just for the cash raised but for being so supportive to Joe through all his treatment over the past six months. If you want to contribute you can do so here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/leigh-clapperton?utm_id=108&utm_term=QzRpAN8vE