Wednesday, December 23, 2015

My Christmas letter

Hello there

If you have been following my blog you will most certainly be aware that 2014 started for Mr H and I with a new kitchen and a diagnosis of breast cancer!

We surfed the huge waves of surgery, stomach churning chemotherapy and finally radiotherapy with the support and love of friends and family. We popped out the other side of treatment just before Christmas.  Last week I had my first, post cancer, nail biting annual mammogram. Apart from the obvious changes that surgery left in its wake, everything else was normal. Yes NORMAL!

So now when people ask me what my breast cancer prognosis is, I happily tell them that I am like a piece of ham, cured!

In 2015 I made sure the pendulum swung towards fun. I filled it with holidays, giggles, singing and hair cuts...

I now have a chemo induced grey and black change in hairstyle and I love it. Mom said I was born with black curls so clearly I have regressed!! No one recognises me anymore!


Writing and researching have become my new world. I am now working on a historical project relating to the Quakers and the Midland Adult School Union…



My brain tumour changed my life but breast cancer has given me a new perspective. I have learnt the value of Meditation in keeping stress levels low. I hang onto a calm mind and enjoy what I have more than ever.  I try to exercise more and our eating is the healthiest it has ever been but weight loss eludes me for now...

Mr H and I are looking forward to seeing what 2016 dishes up 

I wish you a happy Christmas and a healthy 2016
  


Love Dawn xxx

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Walking in the road...


I close the front door, crunch across our stone path then clutch my green handrail as I step down into the grey tarmacked road. Today my mindful walk is to the chemist to collect a prescription. At this time of year my attention is normally drawn to the orange, red and gold leaves still hanging onto almost bare branches. I usually stop in awe as I pass another crop of summer bright orange or Christmas red berries.


But today my head is dipped. I stare at the ground in front of my shuffling feet. Every crack, every hole, every ridge is waiting to trip me up. Make me fall. Or tumble. Each time it happens I leave a bit more of my walking confidence on the ground. Something else to trip over next time I am out!





As I gaze at the ground I see the cake crumbled grey stones which once resembled Tarmac. 








The rail road ridges caused by workmen digging channel tunnels into paths, then roughly filling them in without a thought for the pavement shufflers such as me.








My heart leaps over the hedge when my walking stick shoots away from my feet on the autumn leaf skating rink...






So I step out into the road.

My shuffling strides become lighter. My pounding heart plays a slower tune and at last I can lift my eyes from my feet.

I walk in the smooth gutter to stay near to the kerb in case a car dares to drive too close to this road walker. I would like to say "then I can hop onto the pavement". But getting from road to pavement is a precise four step procedure:

Step 1 hesitate then turn to face the kerb so my back is to the cars queuing to run me over...
Step 2 choose a foot to lift onto the kerb then lift as I lean heavily on my walking stick 
Step 3 (assuming I reached the target with step 2) lift the other foot onto the same patch of pavement
Step 4 step sideways to face the way I want to walk...

My knees are bruised and scabby, like a sock wearing school girl after a few tumbles in the playground I giggle to Julie when I tell her about my recent falls. I shall buy you some Barbie knee pads for Christmas she titters...

Dear Santa 

Last year the council resurfaced many of the roads which I walk on. I expect this is because they don't want cars and their drivers car-tripping into potholes.

This year please can you make the pavements as smooth as the roads. 

Thank you

Love Dawn


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Oh No Big Trouble!

I feel a bit out of sorts I tell Mom when we chat on the phone, it’s because I am increasing my epilepsy drugs. It’s always tough for the first few weeks

I don’t know how you cope with it all she replies…

Because I would rather be here, have a life and these symptoms, than not be here at all I chirpily tell her…

And I mean it. When ill health gate crashed my life and death stood at the end of my hospital bed I realised I wanted to live whatever the cost. As I recovered I swore I would make the most of what I was given.

Now like a child in a sweet shop I sample everything I fancy. When I got my first taste of the Voices Together Choir last December my heart pumped out pure joy. I had found a place where I could sing out emotion in words. A room full of warm smiling faces has now become a room full of warm smiling friends.

One of those friends is Julie who has her own story to tell. We have smiled and shed tears together as the parallel paths of our completely different journeys shine their lights on us…

When Julie shared a book with me in which she has written a chapter about her twin daughters Josephine and Francesca, I settled down one afternoon with a cup of tea…



As each story of children with life limiting conditions unfold, I read of struggles larger than most of us will ever encounter. The tug of war Mums and Dads endure to get the right care, information, equipment and support for their child. And for themselves. Parents tell of fast track training in complex medical and nursing skills and of outings which resemble a hospital on wheels But sooner or later grief weaves its way into their days, weeks and years…



But the pages are also full of a rainbow attitude to life. Stories of wonderful adventures make me smile as I turn each page. Tales of chocolate, jam sandwiches and cake loved by cheeky and lively children as they live hectic and happy days.  Lives full of giggles, trips to the seaside and Disney films. Lives revolving around the gift of beautiful children…

In their early years, Francesca and Josephine, with their dark hazelnut hair, were bundles of boundless energy. Mischievous Josephine’s giggle and cries of Oh no big trouble had them all grinning. While Francesca’s intense gaze made people feel she could see into their soul…

The girls changed our lives Julie often tells me and who knows where they will lead us in the future…

If you read this book you will find that the stories have one thing in common, the discovery that all we can ever be sure about is the moment we are living…Now. This minute…

I had never heard of Little Bridge House (a Children’s Hospice in Devon) or Jessie May (a Children’s Hospice at home in Bristol) until I met Julie and read the book. The proceeds from Lives Worth Living go to these two incredible charities which cradled these families and children as they helped to make their short lives worth living.

You can purchase the book directly from Southgate publishers by clicking here… Or if you are lucky enough to know Julie then ask her to sell you one…

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

#ShowYourStrap - The two B's in my life

When I opened the first email asking me to write a blog about the Breast Cancer Awareness #ShowYourStrap campaign, I closed the email with a snap. When the second request dropped into my inbox I skim read it as I tried to ignore my bubbling anger.

But as I clicked on a third email when it arrived this morning I asked myself why? Why this anger?

…Yes breast cancer stopped me in my tracks; I bear the scars of surgery, a chemo change in hair colour and style. The tiny tattoos remind me of radiotherapy exactly a year ago. Aha typing Radiotherapy brings the knot of anger to the surface … I found it upsetting, frightening to be left, half naked, alone on a table. Terrified the fear and anxiety would cause a seizure while no one could see me. I sobbed when I was asked a week later if all was OK. Only then did a radiotherapist tell me they could see me on a camera!

But it is over now and the breast cancer, discovered on my 50th birthday screening mammogram, is 90 odd percent cured, well so they tell me and I choose to believe it.

In comparison my brain tumour changed everything about my life, I am reminded of it as limp my way through every day. I am reminded of the damage it did every time I fall over or trip up. And again each time another seizure rolls in to spoil my day... 

But there is no cure for my brain tumour, paralysed leg and epilepsy….all that is on offer is life changing surgery then yearly scans. Just wait and hope... But I am lucky my tumour is low grade so it grows slowly...

With my anger out on the table I can now calmly ponder over the fact that it is because of cancer research which is partly funded by charities, and the subsequent development in breast cancer treatments, that I was able to be given those high odds of a cure. And without a mastectomy, just an incredibly painful boob reduction and reshape!

As many of you will know, women have an average of 1 in 8 chance of developing breast cancer sometime in their lives. But only women who are considered high risk because of a family history are entitled to additional check ups which may help them to reduce this risk.

So Marks and Spencer’s in collaboration with Breast Cancer Now, have created the Something Good customer initiative. The aim is to raise over £13 million which will help scientists develop a tool to calculate an individual woman’s risk of breast cancer. Many women would then be offered a tailored risk reduction programme in a bid to prevent 9000 cases of breast cancer by 2025.

To kick it off, a social media initiative #ShowYourStrap is being launched alongside a new range of vibrant pink lingerie including a post surgery bra. This initiative has angered some women affected by breast cancer and an alternative #ShowYourScar has been used. So here is mine...
Brain Tumour Scar with hair loss from Breast Cancer!!

If you want to  #ShowYourStrap or #ShowYourScar take a selfie like me and text SUPPORT to 70003 to donate £3 then nominate friends and family… I have done mine will you?

Back to my anger…over 9300 people are diagnosed with brain tumours each year. But there is still no cure and less than 2% of cancer research funds are spent on brain tumours. Just 19% of adults survive for five years after diagnosis; in comparison more than 78% of women with breast cancer survive for ten or more years.


So if you would like to give money to brain tumour research click here to donate to the Jon Fredrickson Fund in the The Brain Tumour Charity.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Cake could kill me...

I woke up one spring morning this year to discover someone had sewn a new layer of fat around my middle.

Who did this I shouted at Mr H as I grasped the roll between my fists in horror…was it you?

He giggled, put his arms around me and said I still love you, every bit of you Mrs H

Some people have told me that the Tamoxifen I am on, which blocks oestrogen receptors in breast cancer cells, will make me fat but not wanting to take their word for it I hit Google Scholar and do a bit of research...

The clinical papers I come across indicate that whilst some women do gain weight on this anti cancer treatment, statistically it does not appear to be the cause!

I blame it on Menopause! Chemotherapy has kicked me straight into menopause. My oestrogen levels have dropped. Excess fat is now being stored in my abdomen instead of elsewhere!

I need to get to grips with this roll of fat. Make it disappear I tell Mr H...

I am putting myself at risk because this extra weight gain significantly increases the risk of the breast cancer coming back!

 So I book an appointment with a dietician…sitting in front of her I clasp my hands around my new friendly fat roll and mutter where has this come from? I need to get rid of it. Send it back.

We talk about my diet. Since my breast cancer diagnosis I eat a diet full of organic fruit and vegetables. I cook everything from scratch…have ditched processed food I tell her.

But I can't resist cake and chocolate I slip in with a secret smile…







Exercise is key I subsequently learn on a Living Well with Cancer Day. Exercise until you feel breathless the lady tells us. I put my hand up

...but I walk and swim like a snail so how can I get breathless doing that I titter. Try something new, walk up hills, find something more difficult to do she replies.

So I buy a cross trainer and yes ten minutes make me puff and pant…

Now I record everything I eat on the MyFitnessPal app, struggle to keep to under 1200 calories…and try to do 30 minutes of exercise every day…

 

But most importantly I try and say NO when cake is on offer and turn my head the other way when Mr H mentions chocolate…

It is tough but I remind myself that going through a second round of breast cancer treatment would be tougher!!



 If I was made of cake I would eat myself before someone else could - Emma Donoghue


Sunday, September 13, 2015

September

I awake to a dusting of dew on the grass, the breeze nips my skin when I step outside and trailing leaves have turned a rusty red.

September

A time to start school; buy new notebooks for another nursing course or University module.  A time for new shoes and work Conferences.

My mind drifts back to September 2007, the year before my brain tumour set me on a different path...

I frown as I bite the end of my pen trying to summarise two years of my Masters Degree research into ten PowerPoint slides. I am to present a paper on my study of The Role of Audit and Surveillance Nurses.

Almost done I say to Mr H, when he asks how much longer before we eat dinner. At the mention of food I smile as I have happily vomited my way through August, survived on toasted tea bread and water for weeks, the only things I can keep down.

Whatever I eat for dinner, I will feed to the garden outside within half an hour anyway I say!

In the evening I lie on the sofa and with a grin devour every snippet of information in the magazines on my lap. I have never seen you look so happy Mr H grins.

At night I hug my tummy.

But at work I feel unwell so book an appointment. My tummy is scanned. 

I watch frowning faces. Bloods are taken…

At home the phone rings.

The bloods show you will loose the babies the doctor gently says. I curl up in a ball and Mr H and I howl like wounded animals.

To keep our hurting bodies and minds busy, I board the train to the Conference in Brighton. Mr H sets off for a meeting in London

Nothing we can do but wait…

I present my paper to a packed room. But the bleeding has started. Later sweating and shaky I lie alone on the floor in my room. The room sways, my head is as light as dust.

I reach up for my mobile and ring the one friend who knows…

The sound of running feet. The door bursts open. She calls 999…

I wake in recovery after emergency surgery as a nurse brings Mr H through the door.

She lost a lot of blood the surgeon tells him.

Now September is about our babies.


Only we remember. 

A flower bloomed, already wilting, beginning its life with an early ending 
RJ. Gonzales Mundahlia




Thursday, August 6, 2015

Where there's a will there is a way

On the TV programme Gardeners World this week, a lady, with numerous disabilities including blindness shared the joy of touching and smelling a tomato plant in her garden. As she inched her away among the plants stooped low over her stroller she told the viewers...You can tell if a tomato is ripe by touch, if it is hard it's not ripe, slightly soft and it is ready to pick...I am always tasting!



Her delight in the plants shone like the morning sun rising in the sky as she shared her garden with the viewers. It is my only private space she declared, people can only come in if I invite them. I have found that with all my difficulties I need to think tangentially she said 

Tangentially! A new word for me so I looked it up...well to be truthful I leaned across and asked Mr H, my ever present dictionary...be creative, think laterally he says. 

And my mind wanders back to my nurse training... I am working on an elderly care rehabilitation ward where laughter rings out all day as we help the patients get back onto their feet or find new ways to cope after fractured hips. The words of one such lady have stayed with me throughout my life...

Where there's a will there's a way she would say as she struggled to get up from her chair.

So I reflect on my life and my tangential approaches as I meet each day with a smile - well almost every day...! .

I now have rules: 
  • Every day is a best dress day - nothing lies unworn
  • When I feel well I say it out loud. Today I feel great. Today I am well.
  • I am kind to myself when I am energyless. I watch a DVD or read a book instead of beating myself over the head with a stick for being tired!
  • I only organise one thing a day. A visit from a friend blocks a day in my diary
  • I always use my Energometer to calculate whether I can do something extra or not
         Action + Time + Energy Needed
                  __________________                                      = Do, Delay or Don't Do

      Current Energy Reserves (Zero, Red, Amber, Green)


  • I have accepted that writing is my new career, it occupies my grey cells, keeps my fingers tapping and constantly brings new challenges. I no longer wish I was back nursing



  • I mediate or do a mindfulness activity most days, even if it is only watching a butterfly or my breath for a few minutes. It matters. It helps keep me calm.

  • And when my Gorgeous Sue comes down for the day, we snort and giggle as she tries to get me over a wall when faced with a locked, barbwired gate on a sunny short stroll...


 I may not be able to jump the hurdles in front of me 
but with the help of others I find the path (or wall)  around them...

Over and still in one piece! Just!


Friday, July 17, 2015

Love will see us through...

Before last December, less than a year ago,  I only sung in the house, or in church at weddings or carols at Christmas. But now singing is part of my life. 

I am in a choir I tell a friend when she asks what I am up to...

Wow I didn't know that  she says

I have always wanted to sing, always muttered about doing something about it but it took my recent Breast Cancer storm to push me through the door of one of  Liz Martin's amazing Choirs. 

Singing is like a medicine. A course of rehabilitation. A life line. I rarely stop grinning at choir unless I am wiping a tear from my eye,  moved by a song or words.

Last week as we sang Hold On. Love will see you through. tears ran down my cheeks as I struggled to gulp back a sob. 

My Mr H has held on, stuck with me. Our love for each other sees us through the roller coaster of our life. One day I will be able to sing Hold On without tears. Sometime. Some day.

On Sunday I joined in a day of singing to raise essential funds for Wotton Arts Centre, in St Kenelm a beautifully simple Georgian Church. Mr H took me and sat in the traditional pews to listen for the first time. The sound of our harmonious voices wafted around the terracotta walls and seeped into souls as we sang the day away

I had to look at the ceiling when we sang Hold On. One peek at Mr H's face and I would have been a sobbing, spluttering mess. He knew though that I sang the song to him.

Some of the songs made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck he said as we left.  I knew the choir would be good but not THAT good!


Music speaks what cannot be expressed
soothes the mind and gives it rest
heals the heart and makes it whole
flows from heaven to the soul

Why not make a cup of tea and enjoy listening to a recording of our concert in February...

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Life is beautiful

Last week a friend asked  if I ever get bored. 

Never! 

I am too busy living I said

Each morning as I wake I wrap my arms around myself and thank the Lord for I feel well. Really well, I am grinning with wellness. 


Yes I still trip when the slabs are uneven 
and often when they are not.
I  have to limit my drinks to six a day.
Be mindful to not let my energy dip too low
to let seizures take hold and
 cause an emotional crash...

But this summer I don't have to traipse to and from the oncology unit, have regular bloods taken, or avoid eating runny yolk eggs.

I welcome every second of this wellness, cramming as much in as my damaged body can deal with.

I am making the most of this pocket of time I tell my counsellor. I am at the top of the mountain and am camping here for as long as I can.  I am caring for me. 

This peace of mind has evaded me for so long as I have constantly searched for the old Dawn. Dawn the nurse. Dawn the leader. Dawn the walker and runner...

I have writing projects to keep my grey cells cranking. I can choose whether to commit the time. I had my first swimming lesson for nearly two years and have been encouraged to try Nordic walking at Penny Brohn Cancer Care. And once again I can potter at the allotment,

But quite often I am happy to just be. Grateful that I am here to enjoy this summer, my family, friends and life...


Just when the caterpillar 
thought the world was over,
It became a butterfly...






Friday, June 19, 2015

Things that go bump in the day...

In April I wrote about the Water of Life because I have been drinking enough water to fill a reservoir. The oncologists and nurses said water will flush out the toxins and help with fatigue. So as each wave of fatigue crashed into my day I drank another glass,

But as spring opened its doors the bite of fatigue got sharper each day.  After my shower I had to lie on the bed. Downstairs for breakfast, I felt dizzy as I emptied cereal into my bowl…

I feel awful, keep falling over and I am having seizures again  I tell my neurosurgeon when I see him in March for my 7th annual brain scan results.  

Well there is no change in your scan he says and the ventricles are the normal size so no sign of hydrocephalus either.

But at home when I try to hurry to reach the ringing phone, my feet end up in a knot and  I launch myself across the room like a cannon ball. My head breaks the fall as it smashes into a table…I sit up with a groan as blood trickles down my face and onto my arm…





After a three hour wheelchair wait in Accident and Emergency It is too late to stitch my head wound so I am pushed to a ward. Too ill to go home. 






The cause of my fatigue, wobbling Weeble-ness and falls is Hyponatraemia - a dangerously low sodium level in my blood. The cause of this low sodium is a side effect of one of my epilepsy drugs Eslicarbazepine (also occurs with Carbamazepine).  

My epilepsy consultant explains…by drinking a lot of water you have been making the (until now unknown to me) side effect much worse. 

I have over diluted the small amount of sodium still in my blood.  I am intoxicated with water!!

So now I have to count my cups of coffee, camomile tea and glasses of water. A total of 1500mls per day is all I can have.

After a couple of days of  one legged foot stamping tantrums and rants...the rewards of less water flow in…my Weeble-ness is less wobbly. I am hitting the floor less often and my seizures have stopped again - for now. 

So on holiday I hide the scar under my growing fringe and allow myself an extra Banaberry crush mocktail ...


Monday, June 1, 2015

Red

I want to buy you that heart Mr H says with a tinkle in his eye as he points to a crystal pendant in a shop window in the pretty streets of Stockholm Old Town




So with a giggling grin smeared across my face we step inside.





Mr H points it out to the Swedish lady. She fetches it from the window display and holds it out to me. But with only a glimpse I back away from the counter...shaking my head...unable to speak.

As waves of nausea crash inside my stomach I stutter I can't have it...

I swipe at the stream of unexpected tears as they drip onto my blouse. 

Concern is etched into Mr H eyes. 

Chemo is all I can say. 

Chemotherapy drug I gasp.

Red. 

Red in crystal. Looks like Red in plastic.

The lady immediately moves the pendant out of sight and gently puts her hand on my shoulder. I understand she kindly says, concern glowing in her eyes now too.

I never thought Mr H says as we leave the shop. 


Where did that come from I say, shaking my head. I thought I had locked that memory away forever.



Tuesday, May 12, 2015

There is no Present like Time

Tick Tock, Tick Tock; whatever I do the hands on the clock still click Tick Tock as Time waves goodbye. 

With good health I squeezed as much do’ing as I could into every working day. Then at home I stuffed more into my spare time too.

How are you people would ask...Very busy, not a second to spare I would proudly reply… I could do with a few more hours was another and I just don’t know where the time goes was my favourite…

I woke up on a Monday and all of a sudden it was Friday. A whole week had passed and as hard as I tried I could not get it back!  But with my rumbling health my ability and desire to squeeze, cram and stuff things in has diminished. 

I often feel worthless. Have no value.  I have believed self value came from output and achievements at work and in play.

But when a friend visits, her face frowning with stress, I listen and listen and offer a cradle of support. As she leaves with a smile on her face a wave of self worth weaves its way into my grin 

I have Time which I can give freely to others.

I have ears which I can use to actively listen.

I have years of experience embedded in my brain which I can offer when my energy allows.

On my cancer journey I am taken to hospital appointments by volunteer drivers who give their Time for free. And friends think nothing of using their Time to drive many miles for us to share a day out.

The sun warms my heart when a friends offers her Time to collect me for a beauty appointment, while another picks me up and brings me home after a morning of singing my soul out!

There's no time like the present
No Present like Time
And life can be over in the space of a rhyme
There's no gift like friendship
And no love like mine
Give me your love to treasure through time


Georgia Byng - Molly Moons Time Travel Adventure


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Magic at the Marble Arch....

The Taxi door opens and like Willy Wonka I stumble, stick first, out onto the pavement. Our bags are whisked inside by a smart suited doorman. As we step through the door of the Montcalm Marble Arch Hotel we are greeted by Laura, our dedicated Guest Experience Manager. 

We are treating ourselves to a stay at this newly opened, elegant hotel hosting the UK Blog Awards so that when my fatigue digs its fangs in I can flop straight into bed.

The key adorned ticket invites us to enter the Awards evening via the red carpet at 7pm.

But when I take a peek, over 30 steps await the able bloggers. So back in the hotel, we pop out of the lift below the steps and cameras!







Inside the Wonderland of trees we are greeted by a giant green, grinning cat, toadstools and piles of tea pots, cups and saucers. A rainbow of alcoholic cocktails flow from waitresses trays. So we head to the bar to ask for our 'sparkling water champagne'.and get a closer view of the Cat!

As the buzz of bloggers chatting fills the tree lined ballroom, smiling, I ask a gent standing by my side 

Where’s Alice! Has anyone seen Alice?...








I chat to some fellow bloggers but my trembling, tired legs mean I have to take a seat in the auditorium before the other revellers come through the door. Mr H follows waitresses and brings us palm sized bowls of hot food.






With everyone seated in the sparkling pink room Gemma Pearce the founder of the UK Blog Awards opens the event. 







My heart is thumping when the host, Vlogger Andy Samuels, announces the ten short listed Individual health Blogs….

The silent drum rolls in my head when the two Highly Commended blogs appear on the screen...

I turn and grin at Mr H as he wraps his arms around me. And the Urban Kultur Blogger and his brother sitting by our side say well done Dawn.



As soon as the Awards are complete I wander to the front to thank the Health judges; Kath Evans, Head of Patient Experience in NHS England and Children's Nurse and  Dinh Tu, Social Media Consultant for Bupa. 

I am thrilled with my Highly Commended Award and as we swap tales of our nursing experience Kath tweets a selfie of us both…









All the standing and adrenaline have drained my energy tank so Mr H and I leave soon after, clutching our gorgeous goodie bag which have been filled by the sponsors 







Back in our room at the Magical Montcalm we sip camomile tea as I tweet and text my Award to the world of waiting family and friends...

I want to thank each and every one of you for reading my blogs and for voting and helping me reach the short list for these Awards.

THANK YOU!



Congratulations to 
Nic's Nutrition the amazing Winner of the Individual Health Blogs and to 
Ceri Jones also awarded Highly Commended for her Health Blog Natural Kitchen Adventures 
Evidently Cochrane for Winner of the Company/Organisation Health Blog Award

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Shake, rattle and roll...

This morning Mr H was up when the birds started twittering. Like a dormouse I slept on, curled up under the covers. I woke when my burring alarm got too hard to ignore to find Mr H standing like a sentry by the side of the bed,

it's 9 o clock you need to take your tablets...

My two doses of epilepsy tablets must be taken twelve hours apart. A long lie in is no longer an option. I could of course have my Sunday morning tablets by the side of the bed but once awake this dormouse needs food...

Before 2008 the only pills I popped into my mouth were paracetamol and brufen to keep the constant headaches (and nausea), which I ignored far too long, at arms length.

Now I take a purple and 2 white ones each morning and a handful at night. When a new pill needs adding, like Tamoxifen for my breast cancer, I slip into fret mode.

I hate taking these I grumble to Mr H.

He calmly reminds me they are my tools for living...

Sunday is my tablet morning, like any creature of habit I need routine.






And like a Girl Guide I like to be prepared.

 As I eat my breakfast I cover the table in boxes to sort my weeks supply. I pop all my drugs out of their packets into my weekly pill box. Then twice each day it only takes a second to tip my morning then evening allocation into my palm and swallow. My tablets control my health conditions. I control my tablets...







If I am going out in an evening I decant my epilepsy tablets into my precious pill tin, which once belonged to my dear friend Jon and is a treasured gift from Jacky his Mum. I then set a reminder alarm on my phone and like Cinderella, I take them before I turn into a midnight pumpkin...







Want to know more about how your body deals with drugs? Click Here A Medicines Life Inside the Body - National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

Or on the Effects of Epilepsy on a Body? - HealthLine


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Water of Life

When I found out I had cancer the oncologist said it first…

Drink plenty of water.

Then the nurses in the chemotherapy unit repeated the message as they dripped the red and yellow drugs into my vein…

Drink plenty of water.  So I drunk more

When the nutritionist reinforced the water mantra that comes with cancer, I swapped my small glasses to pints…

But then I discovered drinking plenty of water helps with fatigue





            Now I drink a reservoir every day.






But did you know that Water of Life is also used to describe distilled alcohol especially whiskey.  The ancient term Uisge beatha which is Gaelic for the Latin Aqua Vitae or “water of life” was altered in the 18th Century to Usky and later to Whiskey.

Mr H and I don’t drink the other “water of life” It never passes our lips. I haven’t drunk a drop since 2008. I can’t say I am a tee total as I rarely drink tea. The occasional sparkling water with a slice of lemon fizzing at the bottom is our champagne.

I am back where I started. As a young adult the only alcohol I would lift to my lips was a snowball at Christmas. I liked the creamy, sweetness. But when I started working and going to pubs with friends and clubbing with the girls; I trained myself to like the taste of lager, and cider…it was the thing to do.

I recently read a page turning book The 12 Step Warrior, which kept me so riveted I finished it in 2 days. It is about a life almost ruined by alcohol and circumstance. But not only did Peter Skillen free himself from the grasp of alcohol; Peter is now a published author, accomplished film maker and Martial Arts expert.

I have seen the damage that alcohol can do. Seen it wrap it arms around People I know. Some find it easy to walk away from the warm alcohol induced hug. Others cannot. And as the grip of alcohol tightens, I watch it squeeze out life as the malignant dependency grows. 

I feel lucky that my health stopped alcohol fizzing up my nose or passing my lips and dulling my mind.

I prefer hugs from Mr H.

Be drink aware
"There is a sliding scale of drinking too much but it starts at a much lower volume than most would expect. Understand your drinking by clicking here