Wednesday, 19 October 2011

A game of two halves-and a brthday too!

It was a game of two halves this week. Mojo was peeking out the clouds and busy week ahead but some real moments of celebration to look forward to. And it really did start well with successful meetings and in particular a reception hosted by the Lord and Lady Provost of Edinburgh to recognise breast cancer awareness month and the work of the breast service and research unit at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh. The TV cameras were tempted along with the knowledge that both the Lady Provost and I have been patients of the unit too. It was such a moving evening and a great opportunity to value those who have really made a difference for so many.

As always it was about the people. And everyone had a story of involvement-some of them really sad and some a celebration of life too. As again Mike Dixon was key contributor I was able to say he had seen a lot of me this year (in all senses of the word). It raised a laugh and helped me acknowledge the reality without being too heavy. A delicate balance and as the week went on I realised that there was a price to pay.

I returned from work on Wednesday after hearing some really sad and challenging stories of people’s experiences and impacts of breast cancer. I was exhausted and knew I would have to rest the next day or not survive the week at work. On Thursday as I read about a 28 year old woman struggling with treatment for breast cancer I realised I felt overwhelmed. Seeing a young person robbed of their well-being and potentially their future is so wrong… I think that emotional impact as well as physical tiredness was having an effect. A walk in the sunshine helped and as I walked I reflected that all along I have said the fact I worked for a breast cancer charity helped as I could turn a negative experience into helping others etc etc. But last week was the point I acknowledged that sometimes it’s really hard to be so close to your own demons whatever they are.

And I know my team have felt the sadness I have for those we work with and care about-its not an easy job even without my experience. But it is a job that makes a difference and how fortunate are we to have that experience. So I am not complaining but I understood that my weekend away was so important.

I was visiting family and in particular the new baby in the family. I just loved having time with him and that reminder of new life and the joy it is to share it. Therapy indeed. So I was thinking what would be on the bucket list in relation to that?  
Reasons to be cheerful: having the day off today to enjoy time with the family to celebrate my son’s birthday. Woo hoo! Nice treats planned and also a bit of karaoke thrown in. His entire band will be there so I doubt I will have much opportunity to do a solo…. but I am a very willing backing singer. One thing I know now is how important it is to celebrate and birthdays are special days to treasure. Make sure you treasure yours too.

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