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Recovery Time? - No way.

22 April 2001:

In the past weeks I received a few mails telling me that the writers would like me to continue with the "Big C Report" by writing about my recovery process. At first, I wasn't sure whether I should continue with this web-site, but after some talks with friends I am prepared to do so. I will write in irregular intervals, which doesn't make reading easy for you, as you never know when I will have added another piece of information.

The intervals will be irregular mostly because of the fact that the recovery process doesn't seem to be as spectacular as the treatment process itself. I do feel improvement, sometimes on a daily basis, but more often spanning a period of a few days or a week.

A degradation of my well-being, however, is felt almost instantly.

During the past weeks I continued to go through different phases of well-being:

  • sleeping: I have continued to sleep around 12 hours per day. I have split up my sleeping periods between 10 hours sleep during the night and an after-lunch nap of 2 hours. I need the nap, because after a few hours of "work" I really get tired.

  • "working": I went back to work last week and I went back full-time. It seems that I haven't coped well with this demand and I need to cut back. I will split work in the office and work at home, whereby "home-work" provides me with the chance to relax whenever I feel like.

  • eating: well, swallowing food has become much easier though it hasn't been restored to the quality before the cancer. I do not feel any pain, and the only thing I need to do is to chew food thoroughly in order to be able to swallow it without any difficulties. I still maintain a different diet than before the diagnosis, which suits me well.
I feel pretty well given the significant physical stress I went through during radio- and chemotherapy. I still need considerable time to recover from the effects of the therapies, but I am rather optimistic that things will turn out fine in the end.

28 April 2001:

Yesterday I had a conversation with my General Practitioner. My pulse rate was a bit high as far as I was concerned, but he told me that everything's quite alright with me. Pulse and blood pressure are ok and there's no need to worry at all.

He reminded me again that I need to be patient with myself. Given the extremely high dosage of radiotherapy that I received over 7 weeks, it is no wonder that I still feel exhausted and that I'm tiring rather quickly. It doesn't take more than 2 or 3 hours of concentration and I need a break to recover. I thought I should do better, but he reiterated that it will take another 2-3 months to get me back on my feet again close to 100 per cent.

28 May 2001:

The recovery process is continuing smoothly and incrementally. No particular events during the past 5 weeks as far as the recovery is concerned. I am still getting tired very quickly, and I still sleep more than I expected to do: around 12 hours/day.

In the meantime, I have become somewhat familiar again with my workplace. I had to take over some administrative duties and I must admit I find it difficult to stay calm and collected when looking at the memos and other papers which arrive at the office requesting quick replies because otherwise it would be the end of the world.

My-oh-my, what do we know about the end of the world in the first place?

I feel a very strong commitment towards my teaching duties. That hasn't changed from the pre-cancer times, on the contrary, it seems to have become even stronger. What's the role of an academic in today's world? I don't know an easy answer, but I have chosen to concentrate on teaching, rather than on joining rat-races for funds and fame.

Last Saturday I bought a book which is shocking me quite a bit: Aarons, M. (2001), War criminals welcome. Australia, a sanctuary for fugitive war criminals since 1945. Melbourne (Black Inc.) - well, the title is correct though I didn't want to believe it at first. Meanwhile ... well, it's getting worse by the page, and I'm only on page 112 out of 649.

4 June 2001:

I've picked up golf again.

Golf is the only sport I really like. The reason is simple. It's the most silly game one can imagine: shooting a ball into a little hole. That's all there is. Sounds simple enough, doesn't it?

Well, of course, I ain't no Tiger Woods, so I need to exercise quite a bit to accomplish the technique of swinging correctly in order to invite the little ball to fly where it is supposed to fly to. Tiger probably trains several hours a day. I train two or three hours per week. That's the difference between Tiger and me, and that's the reason why you won't see me on TV winning tournaments ;-))

Seriously, golf is great. It requires body, mind and soul to work together to get the ball accepting the invitation to fly. It's also the game with no excuses, but blaming oneself when the score is bad.

I've taken two lessons with a golf trainer so far to get back into full swing. Well, first thing he recommended was to change my grip. That's a terrible thing to practise, but I get the message incrementally. So, now I'm getting a different grip on the club. I wonder whether this will be matched by a different grip on reality afterwards.

28 June 2001:

Things don't seem to improve as I have expected. I've got fever (perhaps from a past light cold?) and I got rather unspecific pain in my right body area. I feel weak and I can sleep a lot again.

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