Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It is time to press reset...

I can't wait to slam the door on 2014 but before I do I will flick through this twisty, turvy, stormy year.

I started it with a
Caribbean suntan and was awash with plans to celebrate my 50th year of life! But instead days full of curtain closed darkness crept in when a consultant said the words breast cancer. To me. To my face. My breast.

But rather than dwell on those dark days I shall end the way I started; in the sunshine...

The good things:
I got the chance to get bald. Stripped back to my baby self. Today I want to stand on the spot, hold my arms out and whirl. Shout I am free,  I love my new funky style!

I launched myself into a world full of hats! Tried out styles I would never have dared before, I wore jaunty berets, Downton cloches; a c
aribbean calypso of colours... a life without hats is a thing of the past.

Friends and family drove for hours just to sit and listen; to take me to see the sea and to stand on a beach. They made torturous traffic logged journeys to get me to oncology and back...Thank you are two words which could never show what these things mean to me!

I have learnt to keep my cortisol levels in check and stress levels on empty. Because hand in hand with rest and a focused calm mind (achieved through mindfulness and meditation), they allow my body to heal, kick start my immune system and create space for my mind to refresh.

I have a third chance to get on with living! To let my heart sing. Another reminder that EVERY moment COUNTS! Every single second! I shall wrap myself in every smile. Cherish my family and every friendship. Drink in the beauty of every sunset. Treasure every breath shared with My Mr H...

Thank you my friends and social media family for staying with me this year. 
Thank you for your tweets, messages and emails of support. 
Thank you for telling me my Blog gives you hope and that it helps you to keep going when your own strength is being tested.
Thank you for giving me a chance to become the best individual health Blog 2015...


It's time for me to press reset and start a new chapter...
and wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year!




Monday, December 22, 2014

Are you with the wheelchair?...

Mr H is my legs as we reach airport security on our way to a wedding...

...with a wave of her arm, a suited lady directs fellow travellers to a queue to be scanned. She glances down at me, stripped of my coat, scarf, bags, belt, all metal objects except the plate in my head, then steals my smile as she asks Mr H

Are you with the wheelchair?

Aha. I had forgotten once I sit in a wheelchair I am a wheelchair!

 ...my journey with airport special assistance has begun... 



The smiling ground crew collect me from the gate and with fellow wheelchair users they escort us to lifts, then across the Tarmac to the aircraft ambulift which awaits us...




Yippee we all shout as the fridge like lift whirs us into the air to rest level with the closed aircraft's side door. Our entry into the warmth. Our man knocks. We wait. Tap tap. We wait, shivering in our coats. Knock knock knock...

Then out of our window we spot the able passengers beginning to snake their way out to the aircraft. We all know that they will now be allowed into the warmth before us even though we were there first.

Fifteen more shivering minutes pass with us suspended mid air in our ice cold, wind chilled, fridge. We watch with opened mouths as the aircraft is hooked onto the tug. I bang on the window and shout

wait for us

No one looks up!

Our man hammers loudly on the closed aircraft door. We wait. Knocks louder... then to squeals of teeth chartering relief the door is opened.

Do we get an apology? Not on your life!

When we land we are told to stay seated so the able bodied passengers can get off first. They climb aboard a waiting warm cosy bus to be transported from the aircraft to the airport terminal. 

At last we are ambulifted onto the Tarmac only to become a three carriage train: Mr H is my driver, a mother pushes her young child as he clutches his Spider-Man toy and an elderly man struggles with his wife in her chair. It is a long dark walk as we are escorted along the normally unseen outside trails of Bristol airport on a wind chilled winter evening...

Shivering we pop out by the luggage carousels to collect our lonely suitcases. Everyone else has already left!





But when the Groom jumps in early with his eager I do and love glistens in his brides eyes, the journey I have travelled this year to witness such joy becomes a distant memory...


Monday, December 15, 2014

Now the storm has passed...

Barry white's words are singing in my ears...it may be winter outside but in my heart it's spring...because when I saw my oncologist he said your bones are cancer clear. One simple sentence which like a red traffic light,  brought our jumble of fear, questions about the future and sleepless nights to a stop. 

Once again I have a future, it will be filled with an extra scan each year, but I know how to do annual scans, my brain tumour.saw to that.

Mr H and I keep casting glances at each other and grinning like lottery winners. We are lottery winners! Bad news has left us alone for Christmas. Mr H keeps hugging me extra hard and when he comes back from a run, with sweaty tears he declares his utter joy and love for me. 

Its a GTBA week all round. We are off to a wedding. This wedding has dangled like a golden carrot as I have trudged my way through this year of cancer.  I won't need an excuse to wear a hat and eat cake!!

...and I have made it onto the short list for the UK Blog Awards 2015 - Individual Health Bloggers Category. 
Thank you all for your votes which got me to this point! 
I raise my glass to you...and to further raising awareness of the impact that brain tumours and breast cancer have but showing that even with these life can be enjoyed


Oh and before I go... GTBA is my term for Its Good To Be Alive

Dance, Smile, Giggle, Marvel, Trust, Hope, Love, Wish, Believe. Most of all enjoy every moment of the journey and appreciate where you are at this moment instead of always focusing on how far you have to go.

Mandy Hale


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Having a hat of a time!

In Oncology I cannot pass the hat shop without dipping into my purse, in fact I have to plan hat buying time into my visits. Last week I spied a purple and red one...

I need it I told Rachael as I treated her to my hat buying grin. It is getting colder and it will match my coat...


I used to think hats were for wimps and when I rambled around the country I refused to cover my head unless the ground was winter white! But having no hair has thrown me into a playground of hats! I spend hours hat browsing on Amazon then watch with glee as the postman slides them through the letterbox and grab what I can when Accessorise have their 70% sale. 







Some have rain protecting brims, others are cosy warm wool, one has a feather and a few are just because I couldn't live without them!  






Each day I pick one out with care, a colour to complement my outfit and thickness to match the temperature outside. Then I do my mirror-look test before I leave the house.

I have inside hats too and as the evenings get colder Mr H often exclaims my little Eskimo you do make me smile.....as I lie on the settee, a thick woolly hat on my head, scarf round my neck and blanket wrapped around me. The cancer treatment has stolen my body heat. 




I have a wedding coming up and am in a hat war with my sister in law. I know I will win! Although I have given her a hat start by declaring my hat wearing head...


When the clouds are grey a rainbow of colour brightens my day. 
I am having a hat of a time. 


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Life - Use the whole box of crayons...

That's not grey hair I tell everyone I see, I use a white crayon

I am greeted each morning with a black and white smile and for the first time in 7 months I woke with a few hairs out of synch. 'Jane' my sandy blond wig is now back in her box. But I have enjoyed my hair holiday, away from brushes and combs, getting showered and dressed then popping Jane or a multi coloured hat over my shivering head...




I have splashed out on colour for my new swimming costume too so it's blue like the sea. It has a pocket at the front to store my new silicone boob! 

When I emptied out my swimming bag, a musty towel went in the wash, rotten Zogg pool socks are now in the bin.and my toiletries refreshed. Today I shall dip my toe in the warm water of the baby pool a year after my last dippy dip!





I used a new crayon and Tamed another Tiger last week. I joined a Community Voices Acapella singing group and when I walked out the door after my first visit my heart was singing as much as my voice. The room was full of characters who use the whole box of crayons to brighten their lives.

But the black crayon keeps making its mark. A recent bone scan due to new hip pain did not rule out bone metastases so now I wait for an MRI scan and hope that it is degeneration not more bright red big C...

Make the most of the life that you have and use the whole box of crayons

Monday, November 17, 2014

Six years ago today...

Six years ago today 
I drove a manual car 
Ran 
Wore high heel shoes 
Carried a briefcase 
Walked without a limp or a stick 
Danced with abandon 

 Six years ago I didn't need to 
Concentrate on every step 
Worry about tripping over mats and cracks 
Book assistance when I travelled abroad 
Let energy dictate my day 
Use handrails and lifts 
Wear a softie in my bra

 Six years ago 
I had yet to become Mrs H 
Mind The Gap A-Z had not been born 
I had never been to the sunny Caribbean 
I hadn't discovered mindfulness and meditation 
I had no idea how determined I could be 
 Or realise that every moment should be treasured…




Thursday, November 13, 2014

I thought I had reached the mountain peak...

It has taken me ten months to climb the breast cancer mountain. I struggled over the stiles of surgery then clambered my way through chemotherapy before I finished with daily rambles to be zapped in radiotherapy. 

Its all over everyone said when they rang to congratulate me on reaching the mountain top. I wanted to grab life, move on to a new mountain, go out to play...

But when I reached the third peak my weary body groaned as a fourth peak loomed ahead: The peak of Patience.

My body has been battered and my mind is so muddled I haven't been able to write let alone walk to the park to go on the swings, I need time to recover from the the lashing rain, rocky paths and numerous tumbles.

So I have filled the last three weeks with as much rest as I could grab with my tired fists. My settee has a dent where my bum has been and a few grubby marks because I was too tazy (my new word for tired and lazy!) to sit back up to drink.

With so much finger tapping time on my hands I have, at last, much to my dear friends Swimming Sue and Chris's delight, rediscovered the art of crocheting. My settee is blue with blooms and I have not planted a seed. 




Tomorrow I am going to Penny Brohn Cancer Care Centre to refocus my mind on mindfulness and meditation to ensure I live well with and beyond my cancer...

There are currently 1.8 million people in England living with and beyond cancer and 2 million across the UK as a whole. The National Cancer Survivorship initiative aims to ensure that those living with and beyond cancer get the care and support they need to lead as healthy and active a life as possible for as long as possible.

Friday, October 24, 2014

I thought I could (bracket Breast Cancer)...

After my diagnosis and once I stopped smashing windows and throwing plates at the wall,  I drew brackets in the air and declared to everyone who asked :

it's OK I will get through the treatment then get on with my life

But without realising it, I set those brackets in concrete. The space filled with (sore wounds, drugs, IV lines, jack out of the box nausea; hair dropping out onto my shoulders and finally twenty trips to be zapped....

But when I came to close the brackets, Tamoxifen and further surgery blocked the closure... 

I was stuck in a tunnel of treatment

So for the last two weeks I have tucked myself underground. To reflect. To cry out the anger about things gone wrong. My messed up 50th birthday year. My changed body. My energy so low even crying is tough...





Now with my badger like head I peek above ground to see light, a bit of blue sky, and to discover my pen again.

I needed the time underground to root out a way to close the brackets. 




And with tears of relief! (Breast cancer diagnosis, Surgery, Chemo, Radiotherapy) or as Jude calls it (Cut, Poison, Burn!!)

So today I drop my first Tamoxifen tablet (hormonal therapy to treat breast cancer) into my palm, ten days later than planned, and I open a new phase of my life... Menopause and a new look...




Monday, October 13, 2014

How Are You?

When I started writing my Blog and using Twitter a new world of support and information opened its arms to draw me in. I have made some fabulous 'Twitter Friends' and am fortunate to have met Chris Lewis who has a personal experience of living with cancer. 


Chris runs an International Cancer Community; 'Chris's Cancer Community' - to connect people around the world who are affected by cancer. Alongside this, Chris works tirelessly to campaign for better support and services for people with cancer. 



I am thrilled that Chris has agreed to write a guest post for my Blog, Chris has linked his post to the theme of my previous one Playing The Fine Game  and I gasped when I read it because the poem he includes could have been written for me!

I will leave you with Chris's inspirational writing...
How are you?
"How are you?" This is possibly the most common greeting that we use today. In fact we probably use it so frequently, that we have almost forgotten what it actually means. It is a question, not a statement and therefore prompts an answer, which may then start a conversation! In truth, that is not what we necessarily want to do. What we are actually doing is acknowledging that person.
"I'm fine" is generally the answer which comes back, and for most of us that is probably a relief, as we will not then get involved in a heavy conversation. We all have issues of course, in most instances, not really of interest to anyone else, and if they were, possibly far too complex to be discussing in a brief encounter.
However, when I am involved in a cancer environment, the question is asked slightly differently, with the expectation of a more complex response. In my five years of personal experience, I think that I have encountered most situations, good and bad, yet still, things arise that shock me.
I was at a social function, where I saw two people who I hadn't seen for some time. Both looked extremely well, and it was great to see them. So when I greeted them with "How are you?" I also expected the reply of "I'm fine". However the response in both instances was far from fine! I was shocked. In both cases their cancers had returned, more aggressively. They were both having treatment. I was not prepared for those answers, as they looked so well, but I considered it a compliment, that they felt they could share their story with me.
In both instances, we talked for some time, and they appeared grateful, to be able to talk to someone who understood. Would they have responded in this way if they weren't aware of my own situation? I don't think so. To most people they would be saying that they were fine.That is the most convenient response for both parties.
Most people who ask me how I am, ask for genuine reasons, and have a concern for my health. But I find that I have to tailor my response, individually.My issues are very complex, and I struggle at times to understand them, so how can I expect anyone else to? Some people have a better grasp on what is going on, and others just want to touch the surface. In truth, I still want to say everything is fine, and move on! It just seems easier.
A friend of mine, wrote the following, which I feel sums up brilliantly, "How are you?"
 "How are you?" everyone asks, "I'm fine"
"You are looking well" everyone says, "Yes, I'm fine"
"How's it all going?" some people say, "Oh, I'm fine"
"You must be strong" people say, "Oh I'm fine"
The simplest of phrases that won't let you know, all the pain and the fears that I don't want to show.
I can't tell you I cry when I sit on my own, and that my mind is in turmoil, I don't want you to know.
My body's in pain and it just won't subside, and I feel like I have left my life far behind
If I told you these things, how could you see, your world is so far from my reality.
It's falling to pieces inside of my head, so I tell you "I'm fine" as this puts it to bed.
You smile as I say it and you look so relaxed, so I'll say it each time when you venture to ask, "I'm fine"
  What response do you hope for when you ask "How are you?"
You can also follow Chris on line through his  Cancer Community 
Or on Facebook  and Twitter @christheeagle1  

Thank You Chris

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I want a kink in my follicles...

Chemotherapy has two potential benefits I tell my friends; kicking the cancer into touch and putting a kink in my follicles...

I tell everyone I meet that I want a kink in my follicles... that and to be a red head!

So now that the hairs are poking through I do a daily inspection for a curly one...


Can't see any at the back...


difficult to get a skyline view ...but nope none there either...


But hang on a follicle watching minute...is that grey one a bit bent? 

Yippee!!

Now about this red head...

Monday, October 6, 2014

Playing the Fine game...

When I answer the phone I'm fine slips out of my mouth when the caller asks how I am. 

When the radiographer calls me in and says so how are you, I'm fine trips out before my brain has time to think..

Recently when the course coordinator on the Penny Brohn Living Well with Cancer course asked us to choose a word... just one word that describes how you are feeling this morning, adding... I don't want you to use the word Fine as we all know what FINE stands for:

Fed up (for the less polite F****ed!!)
Insecure
Neurotic
Emotional

So Alert was my reply...

This week as my energy levels take a ride on the big dipper but stop at the bottom, I decide that I will not play the Fine game any more.... 

I send conversation stopping Text responses with... when I am not at the hospital I am resting all the time...I have no energy...can't wait to get my life back...and on the phone... if the cancer doesn't kill me then the treatment surely will...tired and weary

And today when the radiographer greets me with that's a lovely hat...did you have a nice weekend; my polite reply...

No not really...I am too tired...

is met with  a seconds pause as she walked ahead of me then oh I am sorry to hear that... Once inside the treatment room her colleague also enquires, then confirms how many more zaps I have remaining before doing the important checks...  can you tell me your name, date of birth, address and which side we are treating...

Bored of my honest, conversation snatching phrases, I shall once again spatter my replies with Fines' replacement... OK, Surviving....lovely to see a bit of blue sky today...

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Every day is a bonus...

In March my heart sunk into concrete when I first stepped into Oncology's revolving door as my mind screamed, walk out walk out. I hung my head and stared at the pale brown laminate floor under my feet until I reached reception...

Can I help you?

I have an appointment to see the oncologist but don't know where to go...

I don't belong here I told Mr H as we sat nursing drinks at a round orange table in the WRVS coffee shop before we went up. In the lift  I played spot the wig while my mind's chatter drew a picture of the pale, grey faced, ghost like figure I would become. 

Upstairs in outpatients I saw a lady with no hair smiling. Smiling!

Then last week exactly six months later, when I told Mr H I was going to rip my wig off in a Marks and Spencer's cafe he said please don't, the locals will scatter in fear. So I have ditched my wig because one minute I feel like I am in the Caribbean sun then the next I tug my hat back on because my head is as cold as a winters night. 

...now I hardly notice the revolving door as I chatter and giggle my way in to greet Derek (who manages the WRVS shop) as I buy my coffee. His welcome smile makes my morning...

You are looking bright are you coping with the treatment OK

Thank you... not too bad... and we chat about the importance of making the most of every day in my world every day is a best dress day I tell him so he shares his mantra with me..

Every day is a bonus...

After six doses of chemo and my first weeks worth of radiotherapy the pale ghost is no where in sight


I have now learnt through Mindfulness not to engage with the silent chatter that goes on in my mind. Now I notice it then watch it float by...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My grey cells have ground to a halt...

I have strained to think of a blog to write in the last couple of weeks. I closed my eyes and tried to relax. Nothing, not a sentence. My creative grey cells were on strike. Ground to a halt...

But my thinking brain is buzzing with worries and questions... when will my breast and shoulder go red while I have this radiotherapy...how likely is fibrosis of the breast tissue... what will happen when I start the hormone treatment...can they see me when I am on the table in case I have a seizure... how much more tired am I going to get...is it possible to be more weary than this?...

I write it all down in my Breast Cancer Note book, lists of worries and questions to ask at each appointment. I tick some off when I chat to my GP on the phone but others spring in to take their place...

Then today after my 6th Radiotherapy treatment a smiling blond haired lady met me as I came out and took me to a private room to chat - a review meeting. She talked me through most things I had stored in the worry list... Some people never have a skin reaction while a lot do, it happens after two or so weeks...fibrosis can occur up to a few months after but is mild in most women...:the throbbing pain is caused by tissue inflammation and is normal...the Tamoxifen (hormone treatment) can cause weight gain and hot flushes, caffeine and stimulants can sometimes make them worse... drinking plenty of water can help the fatigue as it flushes out some of the effects of the treatment...yes they can see you in cameras but I will tell them you have epilepsy and make sure they keep a close eye...

With each explanation and answer I breathed a bit easier. I asked all the questions in my book and explained how I was feeling about the treatment, the embarrassment I felt each day, made worse because a man is part of my treatment team. An emotion that for me is overwhelming every other thought...she listened without judgement asked if there was anything they could do to make it easier and checked if I had someone to talk to...

I walked out of Oncology into a blue sky day and my spirit felt as bright as the sun. On the way home blogs sprung into my head. My thinking brain had been unclogged...

Normal service will be resumed shortly...


...The next day 

Today I am met by three ladies, the man has stayed out. I show them the emergency epilepsy drug I have in my bag which they can give me if I have long or multiple seizures... 'D' walks me round to their room and shows me the screen they are watching me on!...if only my medical history had been fully passed on! But today is a new day and the only thing that is real about this journey is the step I am taking at this moment...that's all there ever is... (mindfulness)

So for episode 7 of the radiotherapy show and for the first time I relax on the hard table and breathe calm breaths...

"You cant stop the waves, but you can learn to surf"
Jon Kabat-Zinn

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I always said I would never have a tattoo...

... now I have four. The tattooist chose the design, not me. They are as black as thunder clouds and signify a stormy year full of rainy tears and thunder bolts of shock.

The oncologist said this part of my treatment will be a breeze compared to the chemotherapy but I am as scared as a puppy at it's first sight of lightening. Like hail stones, unanswered questions hit my brain; will my new breast shrink, will my breast hurt as the treatment progresses, will my skin burn...

Reassurances bounce off me rather than sink in to calm the storm, tissue contraction is rare, blistering of the skin only happens rarely, you may experience a bit of soreness as the radiotherapy progresses they tell me. 

The trouble is the word rare makes me tremble...

Brain tumours are rare affecting approximately 1 in 38,000;
A post operative brain abscess after brain tumour surgery is rare (less than a 1% apparently); 
Breast cancer AND an unrelated brain tumour is incredibly rare, never heard of it happening both my neurosurgeon and oncologist told me;
The safety device used to keep my PICC line in (to administer my chemo) squashed the line causing it to crack and leak and  had to be replaced, this has only happened once before in all the time we have used it, the PICC line specialists inform me; 
My second breast operation the day after my breast surgery when a haematoma complication arose is not so rare -1-6% chance in figures I can find, but I scored a home goal with that too...

I won't actually be there during my Radiotherapy!  I will use Imagery, a technique I learnt through my brain tumour journey and recently at The Penny Brohn Cancer Centre. I will go to the sea in my head and forget what is happening while I am first prodded and touched and while the machine takes over to give me my zaps...

The four tattoos...
They are pin prick spots put onto my skin after the radiotherapy planning CT scan; between my breasts, above my affected breast and on both sides of my body-to ensure they zap me in the right place each time. I only felt a scratch when they were done. 



Never say never because limits, 
like fears are often an illusion




Thursday, September 4, 2014

The thing called energy...

The persistent burring of the alarm sounds like it is at the bottom of the sea, well I wish it was, as I turn over and pull the duvet over my ears.

The sound of voices and the noisy skips of children on their way to school outside my bedroom window, or the postman ringing the door bell with yet another parcel Mr H has ordered, force me to push the duvet back. Those or another hospital appointment to go to!

After my shower I flop back onto the bed, too tired to walk down the thirteen stairs to get breakfast. I long to sort out my underwear drawers as the pretty bras I wore are no longer of use, the bras suitable for a breast prosthesis are boring black and washout white. I want to find things at the bottom of the airing cupboard but emptying it would be like entering a contest for the strongest woman with no muscles! Mr H already does the ironing, shopping and a lot of the cooking, as well as work, so these kinds of jobs will have to wait…

A friend phones and my tears tumble as I tell her how I am. I imagine how life was when walking was as easy as eating cake, hanging washing out didn't leave me huffing and puffing and the desire to sit down didn't dominant my mind, even more than cake!

The oncologist was right about the impact of chemotherapy; of fatigue being incremental building up from dose to dose.


But I have time to read while sitting on my ‘summer holiday’ garden furniture I treated myself to, 




Plan new meals with my organic produce as my mouth waters, and take a short stroll along our lane to collect fallen apples to make another Abel & Cole Mama Moore's Apple cake









Oh and celebrate the end of Chemotherapy with a birthday present of Afternoon Tea at Thornbury Castle...


Who said healthy eating didn't include Cake...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hair, hats and scars...

When I was young my hair was thicker than Devon Clotted cream, as dark as a stormy sky and it often fell onto my shoulders in a knotted mass. My older sister Mandy pleaded with me to loose my blue Alice band and at least try bunches...

As I got older I dipped my toe into the style bucket and tried a Purdy cut, went curly with a perm before moving onto the lady Di look, and when the grey hairs crept in during the night, new colours too. But in 2008 - 2009 I lost the hair off the top of my head three times for the brain tumour surgery; so  I merely shrugged my shoulders when the Oncologist said I would loose my hair with the breast cancer Chemotherapy.

More hats I said

Before the first hairs fell out I tucked my golden locks behind my ears, shoved my fringe under a hat and stared at myself in a mirror as I turned from side to side...trying to imagine how I would look as a lollipop sucking Kojak!



Two weeks ago Lois nipped off the last few straggly strands left poking from my soft, white, train tracked head.  


Then Wednesday with a wig wearing grin I held my arm out for the sixth dose of the cancer killing, hair eating drugs.

The last time









I have prepared my family and friends for my combat look by randomly ripping off my wig when my head overheats. 






Let the re-sprouting begin...
"Be thankful for what you have, you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough"
Oprah Winfrey

Except hats...I will never have enough hats!



Monday, August 11, 2014

Everyday is a best dress day

I used to leave tops, skirts and dresses hanging in my 'best dress' wardrobe as I told myself...I don't want to spoil them...people to see me in them on an ordinary day because when I go to a restaurant or party I won't feel special...

Now my best dress outfits mingle amongst my jeans, joggers and jumpers and each morning when I wake, only the weather dictates what I wear.

I put on my dresses covered in a bouquet of flowers, rainbow skirts and lacy tops to wander to the Deli ten minutes away or to go to oncology for my next chemo. 

...waiting for my 5th Chemo dose

Today as I sip my cappuccino in Bath I tell Mr H that a man opposite keeps turning to look at me...

It's because you look so stunning...he says as I lean over to kiss him. 

This week I may wear my wedding dress to go on the swings at the park...


What day is it?
It's today squeaked Piglet
My favourite day said Pooh
A.A.Milne

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Eating my way back to health

So what changes have you made to your diet since your cancer diagnosis? the lady beside me asks at the Penny Brohn Cancer Care Introduction day

I am trying to eat less cake I reply with a smile what about you?

Well (she hesitates with her pen poised) I have given up dairy, all red meat and processed foods... I gasp. 

How do you get calcium? 

I buy almond milk...my eyes widen as I check out how much these changes are costing her...

When we feed our stark contrast of approaches back to the group a huge grin of titters spreads about the room... at my cake eating, not the dark hair lady's life changing approach...

Am I was missing a trick I ask and the room erupts with chatter about juicing vegetables, the role of dairy in oestrogen driven cancers, sprouts and seeds mmmmm

The group lead suggests The Bristol Approach to Healthy Eating, but Dawn if you fancy a bit of cake then have it...


Back home I send for the recommended books, the first to hit my mat is Anti Cancer A new way of life 


but after the first few chapters I feel sick...have I eaten my way to cancer? Processed foods are demons, dairy and breast cancer should not mix, too much refined sugar is the cause of many ills...I put the book down and leave it. Another time.



I turn to the Penny Brohn Food guidelines...the road I am prepared to travel; I should eat more vegetables, ten portions a day, organic if I can afford it, cut out processed foods as they contains damaged fats, refined sugar and white flour and all sorts of chemicals. If you can't say it don't eat it the lady at Penny Brohn says. Research has shown these changes can limit cancer recurrence...


When the Penny Brohn cook book Nourish (a food life changer as far as I am am concerned) plops onto my mat alongside the simple but readable Food Rules I announce to Mr H our eating is about to change...

We step into Holland & Barrett with a shopping list and raised eyebrows, as we ask for Tahini, Harissa paste, Tamari and all sorts of seeds and nuts...

Then a friend mentions Abel & Cole and on a sunny Tuesday morning my first box full of Organic fruit and veg arrive on my doorstep to supplement our allotment grown food. I pull out the contents in wonder and embark on an organic food adventure. Abel & Cole have the package sewn up by providing recipes to accompany every type of fruit and veg. Our world of different food has become a universe...and not a processed biscuit or cake in sight!



Mr H has lost a stone but true to nature as a curvaceous woman on chemotherapy I have maintained (while most women going through treatment gain due to inactivity and a bit of craving). We both have a spring in out step and when Mr H comes home from work he bursts through the door asking 

what has my beautiful wife in store for tea tonight?

PS if you decide to try out Abel and Cole mention you heard it on my blog...

Monday, July 21, 2014

Stop the earth spinning I want to get off

I hover my finger over the keyboard. Should I write this. Be negative. Out loud...

Keeping my head full of positive thoughts has left me feeling empty...I am sick of being positive.

I can't squeeze another positive thought out. Despite eleven hours sleep my legs are hollow, only enough gas to help me shower before I need another lie on the bed. Downstairs after breakfast I hang out the washing which has finished whirring in the machine.

...then plonk myself down with a gasp of exhaustion.

I have worked so hard to recover a life after my brain tumour but now I am back where I started six long years ago. Dependent. I push my anger down to my feet each time it tries to surface. Stay positive. You have life. But the chemotherapy is stealing my life...


Now I know why Peter Pan never wanted to grow up...

I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye 
Pi Patel - The Life of Pi