When I go out shooting, I often don’t have any expectations of what I might end up coming home with, especially in Ohio. This is a little bit different when I traveled to destinations where I basically knew what I was going to see, such as the Smokies, Badlands SD, and the Lake Huron Lighthouse tour. But even in those locations expectations may need to be managed. Bad weather can always play a role in any location, sometimes making for better scenes, sometimes shutting down the shoot. Injury, sickness and/or fatigue when out shooting can only be pushed through so far. Ever one has their limits. When I did the Badlands trip last May, I was recovering from a bulging disc in my neck which had caused me severe nerve pain down my left arm for about 6 weeks before the doctors figured out what was going on. I was only about a month into treating it (a treatment that is actually still occasionally needed a year later) and still had some neuropathy and pain in my left arm during that trip. After the pain amped up towards the end of one day, I had to give up on a night of astrophotography in order to be able to shoot the next day. I had to manage my expectations of both myself and my photography.
I recently had to remember that lesson from that trip. After the second attempt to go back to work full-time had to be aborted by another AFib incident, that happened the evening of my last blog post, I decided it was time to consider part-time and even the first attempt at that had to be re-scheduled due to really bad back spasms that hit me out of nowhere. It was hard to know what to do. That second stay in the hospital, with the internal bleeding, wiped me out and then the first chemo left me fighting a lot of side effects that, frankly, I thought would come later. I complained to a friend last week that a few months ago I was climbing up on rocks to take photos and I can't even climb my stairs now. It's hard not to focus on what I've lost. I guess I should have realized if I can't climb my stairs, why am even considering going back to work full-time, I wasn't managing my expectations. My oncologist said “push” but this past Friday my regular doctor was surprised I wanted to go back to work at all. She asked me if I was actually that bored and truth was, “Yes.” I told my husband later, “software development fed my photography and photography fed my software development.” Maybe that’s a weird way to put it, but the two had become integral to me over the last 10 years, they make me complete. Maybe it’s the whole left/right brain thing, but I need to do both and at that point, I was doing neither. I wasn’t doing anything. I couldn’t even get interested in reading or watching educational books and videos. I just vegged out watching cooking shows (maybe we shouldn’t have gotten the streaming service). 😊
So, I’m happy to report that I have worked part-time Mon-Thu this week, and certainly hope to go in tomorrow. The hubby drove me Monday and Tuesday, but I’ve driven myself for the last two days. I can get up/down the stairs now (just use a cane on the very top step for safety). So, because of that, I’m sleeping in a bed again, finally, after two weeks in the recliner. My back thanks me for that. My living room is reverting to just that…a living room, rather than a sick room/bedroom. With the increased activity, I’ve had less fatigue. I did come home really tired two days, but that’s to be expected…again “manage expectations”. I’m going to get tired. My appetite has improved, though chemo has already wreaked havoc on my taste buds, so finding food I like is becoming a challenge.
With the knowledge I need to manage expectations I’m starting to make a few plans (knowing they may have to change) … little projects around the house, going to see EndGame, visit a gallery whose opening I missed, do some photography. Now, my next big challenge is the second chemo next week, but if everything continues down this path until Wednesday, I’m facing it in much more of a position of strength than the first chemo…and I have a long holiday weekend to recover.
Thanks again to everyone who is praying, sending positive thoughts, sent cards, and/or texted/emailed and asked me how I was doing. Again, I know sometimes I don’t answer. Sometimes it’s forgetfulness (I’ll do it later) and sometimes I just don’t want to talk (even by text/email). But know they are appreciated.
About the photo: This is what I gave up the evening of astrophotography for in the trip mentioned above. I really wanted to be rested and not in pain for our side-trip to Devil’s Tower the next day. I will always believe, in this case, I managed my expectations right.