Milestones and Targets
When will it all end?
2020 saw many of us reach milestones that we were not able to celebrate thanks to being in various states of lockdown during the Covid pandemic. In Greater Manchester UK, where I live, we were often in one form or another of lockdown. Birthdays and special anniversaries have come and gone, including our Ruby wedding anniversary, with muted celebrations and meals for two.
This is made much harder when you are living with advanced stage prostate cancer as, at a time when I want to make the most of every minute of every day, I’ve found myself stuck at home unable to see friends and family. In fact, as of this writing, we were rarely able to meet up socially with our best friends that we’ve known for many decades.
Is there some light at the end of the tunnel?
I see the Covid vaccine as the start of a return to normality, and we are thankful that the roll-out here in the UK has generally been well-organized. I am very fortunate to have friends who are cancer specialists who have kept telling me that I should be a higher priority for vaccination than I had been classified as.
After debating this with my GP, I was moved into a higher priority as being extremely clinically vulnerable, although it was alarming that the GP thought that 4 years on steroids did not have any impact on my immune system when the cancer specialists were telling me that it did.
February 2021 therefore brought two more milestones. On February 4, I had my first dose of the Covid vaccine, and 4 days later I reached the grand old age of 64 and celebrated with a party for two and a rather nice bottle of wine.
More milestones coming
There are more milestones on the horizon. My biggest milestone arrives on May 9, when I reach my 4th cancerversary. I’m hoping that my vital numbers will remain stable when I see my oncologist again in early March.
This is a major milestone for me, as I was given a worst-case prognosis of 2 years in May 2017. And yet I’m still here, still feeling well, and my PSA has been unrecordable for over 3 years.
May 9 will also be another major milestone, as it’s also the day that I plan to end my running/hiking streak that started on May 1, 2020, and has seen me run or hike, some days both, every single day since May 1. That doesn’t mean I’ll stop running, as exercise is a fundamental part of taking control of my condition and living with it as best I can.
Everybody living with and beyond cancer should try their best to “take control” as much as they can. It might not be running for you. It might be diet or a hobby, but it’s important that we all have something to fill our life with joy.
In 2020, the “streak” was my target to keep me motivated in lockdown. But this year, I’ve got much bigger targets. June will see me hiking the MacMillan Mighty Hike marathon hike around Ullswater in the Lake District and, a week later, I’ll be attempting to complete a 100km trail ultra-marathon.
I don’t have the strength any more to run the ultra, so I intend to do it as a run/walk taking two days. My aim is to raise much needed funds for MacMillan Cancer Support and Prostate Cancer UK, and I’m pleased to say that within a couple of weeks of launching my fundraising I’ve already raised over £1,500, as of this writing.
Then I’m hoping that we’ll all reach a momentous milestone, the party to end all parties when we see a return to something like normality and can see our friends and families properly and hug, dance, and sing.
Is that being too hopeful? Well, let me end by saying that without hope we are hopeless, and I firmly believe that we all need targets to motivate us and joyous celebration when we reach milestones.
Let me challenge the reader to set yourselves some targets as motivation, and I hope you’ll all join me in the party of all parties.
Keep on keeping on! KOKO
Tell us in the comments below: what are some targets you set to motivate yourself?
Have you made personal connections through your journey with prostate cancer?