The point at which you can look forward to and plan a holiday after you’ve finished cancer treatment is regarded as a clear sign of recovery. I must be doing OK as I am in fact planning – and very much looking forward to – not one but several trips.
The reason planning ahead is seen as such a positive step is that for all the months you’ve been undergoing treatment, your time horizon has been limited to the next treatment or appointment. It really is very difficult to see further than that. In fact sometimes – immediately after surgery, for instance – you’re taking things a day, never mind weeks, at a time. I need to refer here to a really thoughtful essay entitled After the Treatment Finishes – Then What? by Peter Harvey, a now retired UK consultant clinical psychologist. For people who’ve finished treatment, he says, planning too far ahead brings its own worries and fears and to switch suddenly to planning for events months in the future is a step too far. That was indeed the case with me for a while but I seem to have “moved on” on that front – at least enough to plan some holidays.
So Andy and I are off to Madrid soon for a few days, to spend some time with some really good friends of 30 – yes, 30! – years, whom we met when we lived there in the 1980s. Then we’re off to Croatia with the boys for two weeks at the end of July.
I’ve also booked flights for that annual long weekend/short week of skiing that I go on with friends every January (Stopping the downward spiral). Flights are very reasonable when you book them ten months in advance (!), but this trip was hard to book. I guess that’s partly because I was still in that “scared to plan” period when the flights became available a month ago. Also, it was on my mind that I had to cancel this year’s trip because I was in the middle of treatment (I love Glasgow, but it’s not Geneva). And next January really is a long way off. Planning for something next month or even in the summer is very different from planning for something next year. Not only that, by the time that trip comes round I’ll have had my first mammogram since my diagnosis. That’s due in December, a year after my surgery. Anyway, the trip’s booked, as are the other two. There will be uncertainty and worry along the way but for the moment it seems I’m firmly on that road to recovery.