I did it!! I actually managed to go out on a Saturday night without a) running out of steam after half-an-hour, b) not being able to get out of bed the next morning and c) feeling too self-conscious about wearing my O2 while I was out.

It’s a big step for me, really, and I’m really happy this morning. It was K’s Dad’s 60th this week and the whole family (the 4 off-spring and relevent +1’s) headed out to Sam and Maxie’s, a new place in the “Hub” where the new business/hotel-type district of MK is going up.

If I’m honest, I’ve been fretting about it on and off all week, what with my somewhat unpredicatable blowers and anti-biotic reactions at the moment, because I really wanted to be there and share the night with the rest of the family. K and I have known each other for a long time, and I’ve known her family for most of our friendship, but it was also the first time I was joining up with a full family gathering as “one of them” and I really didn’t want to have to bail out because my chest was being beligerent
(sorry, Nick, but it is in the dictionary if you want to check…).

It’s probably going to sound funny to people who know me, but last night really did feel like a bit of a watershed moment for me – like I was being welcomed into the family. There was no fanfare or special treatment or anything like that, but just that feeling of comfort you get when you stop worrying about whether or not everyone is really happy that you’re there and accept that it really does appear that they can tolerate your company.

Of course, it was helped hugely by being able to bribe the twins round to my side my being a taxi, but you never get anywhere in life without the odd backhander, eh?

But I think most importantly for me last night, helped by feeling welcome and comfortable, was that I managed to get through the whole thing without worrying about how I was feeling. I seemed to have the perfect energy levels for the night. I didn’t arrive home exhausted, nor did I feel that I had to not do something because I wasn’t up to it.

I was about to say that I suppose that sitting in a restaurant having dinner isn’t too taxing, so I shouldn’t really make a fuss, but actually, on reflection, it shows how far I’ve come in my recovery since before Christmas that my mind is working like that. Back in November/December, the idea of spending 3 hours sat in a restaurant, oxygen or no oxygen would have been enough to send me to bed to sleep for a week – so it really is a big deal for me to have got through it.

It’s funny how these little victories often nearly go unnoticed and it’s one of the things I love about doing this blog. In the same way I said when I started out that I hoped writing it all down would encourage me to see the wood for the trees and not get bogged down in hard times, but remember to keep smiling, I think it helps me not to overlook the upsides which might otherwise get glossed over.

Whatever way you look at it, I’ve come a long way since the turn of the year – like any period in life it’s had it’s ups and downs, but it’s worth reminding myself that I’ve done some amazing things and I’m doing better than I perhaps would have hoped in terms of moving forward both physically and mentally.

A week in hospital for respite pre-show this week should also do me a lot of good and although I know I’m not going to like it much when I’m there, it’s been reassuring to have the knowledge of an impending stay to let me prepare for it, rather than the usual course of getting it hoisted on me when I’m at my lowest.

The next week can’t really go quick enough, but at least I’m on a high going into it, which should stand me in good stead for keeping my spirits up through it.

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