It might surprise you when I say that there is a part of me that has felt that 2020 hasn’t been as bad as it could have been. But, thanks to Nick, I’ve managed to focus more on what we have achieved and benefitted from in a pandemic year, rather than what we have lost out on.
Firstly, and most importantly, we have been together, more than ever before. I would even say more than when I used to live with Nick at Uni! But also we’ve had the benefit of more time with the kids…which has been mainly good (with a tiny bit of horrendous 😂). Many of you will know that Nick has always worked away a bit, be it in Europe or London. When lockdown started, I’d be lying if there wasn’t a small part of me that wondered how we’d ever manage 12 weeks (that first shielding period!) in the same house 24/7. But, we were one of the lucky families that actually felt it made us closer and more together than we had ever been.
We managed to make the most of the time by (once we got the obligatory bread making done) doing extra bits to the garden; a new vegetable patch, paving a bit at the front, designing a courtyard garden; painting rooms inside and out, completing an extra couple of rooms in the house and probably more that I’ve now forgotten.
As you all know, all of that wrapped around my Stem Cell Transplant which took place in September – something that most of lockdown had been focussed towards to either ensure that I could get to each stage, or to keep me well in the aftermath. Induction therapy from 2019, my stem cell harvest and then the transplant itself. None of it particularly enjoyable, but all of it going relatively well in the grand scheme of things. So we head into 2021, ready for my next consultant appointment which will give me an idea (now I am over 100 days post transplant) of how they think the whole process went. Whether they feel my transplant was a success and if so, how much of a success.
This conversation will be the biggie. Although that said, myeloma isn’t something easy to assess. You can be fine one minute and have relapsed the next. Or think that you haven’t done so well and get 8 years of remission like I did with my first transplant. You just have to make the most of the time that you are well enough to do other things that don’t remind you of the Big M word.
I couldn’t have done any of the last year without Nick. I always feel slightly cheesy when I say things like this on here but he honestly is my rock, my sounding board, and my best friend. He keeps me positive and upbeat but also lets me sob and be sad when I need to be. In the run up to Christmas he helped create experiences that would make it feel special to me/us at a time that our socialising was more limited than many others. Ten months of shielding is tough going but he has helped me cope with it, even though my condition has meant that him and the kids have had pretty much the same limitations placed on them.
2021 isn’t going to change much for us until I have been vaccinated which we hope will be in the first couple of months. Even then, not much will change for me, although we may feel able to relax things for the kids a bit more and allow them to take part in clubs face to face (where social distancing is in place). But until they know more about how the vaccine works, I still won’t be taking risks. I think we’ll end up having done a year by the end. No shopping trips, no meals out, no drinks in friends houses, no-one coming to our house.
I can’t wait for that to change. I long to visit my dad and to hold his hand, I can’t wait to hug my friends and my extended family, for a meal in a pub garden, or even a trip to a garden centre/ local shop. I really hope spring brings what they suggest it will and would just ask everyone to keep as close to the rules as you can do to keep safe. Because that might well allow those of us who are classed as extremely vulnerable (and our poor flipping families) to get out of our houses sooner rather than later.
Anyway, this wasn’t meant to be me on a rant but more a chance to wish everyone an easier, healthier and prosperous 2021. And hopefully by the time we get to 2022, the whole pandemic piece will feel as distant as 2019 feels now!