Friday, 6 April 2012

Hit by a truck?

I was admitted quickly this week and before I knew it was sitting in the ward trying to distract myself. A neighbour was clearly unwell and the conversations I overheard made me realise how much. And also how distressed she was. The nurse was deeply caring and supportive and it was almost my undoing. I put on my iPod ( thanks again Karine, the beauty of the voice and lyrics a welcome distraction), partly because I felt like an interloper but also to try to focus elsewhere and stop my mind travelling down a road.  My family visited that evening and I asked for help to,change into nice PJs and comb my hair before  they came, knowing how I looked would impact. It did  and they were relieved by the efforts. But that evening my sons girlfriend had a nightmare linked to others she saw in the ward and the evident  impact of cancer on them. It reminded me that my instincts when they were younger, to keep them away from my treatment was right. When I had my ops my children stayed with my parents and I kept them away from oncology treatment too, helped by friends and school times. But I tried not to hide them from the truth so when my daughter asked to see my wound I showed her. Her reply I still remember: "it makes you feel all wobbly inside " ,was her 9 year old reply. Indeed. And this week , 17 years later, the surgery has helped me put that impact -and the more recent one- behind me. One of the nurses this week said that I looked like I had been run over post op......not wrong , one tyre was over both my boobs and the other over my thighs. .....and it was one big truck! But I know it's going to be worth it. I read an article this week about the importance of truth and authenticity for leaders of teams. My experience resonates with this. The most effective teams have a high degree of this, and it needs to be worked on. The same I guess is true of families. Our instinct as parents is often to try to protect. And that's not wrong but children sniff out inauthenticity a mile away. So it's finding a truth that does not scare more than necessary that's needed too and thats not always easy or possible. Any parent dealing with a cancer diagnosis will have these dilemmas and they need support with this as much as with side effects of treatment. This week our Breakthrough  scientists discovered a genetic link to oestrogen and breast cancer in younger women, really building our knowledge to understand this better and offer opportunities for identifying high risk and tailoring treatments in the future. http://www.breakthrough.org.uk/media_centre/index.html . It gave me sense of hope again from this  work, so less parents need to face such challenges in the future . An output from the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Generations Study and all the more encouraging for us all as a result. Thanks to all who have made this possible. Reasons to be cheerful are at simplest I am out the other side and on my way to recovery.  Karine Polwart very kindly sent me her DVD after seeing my earlier blog and I love it and recommend it.  I also read a blog ( thanks @Ellen27) that said what do the photos in your mobile phone say about you. I had a look and it's family, friends too, the cat and my daughters dog and beautiful scenery. I would sum it up as love, beauty and flowers...thanks to all of you who bring those into my life!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the mention Audrey and I hope that truck has driven off into the faraway distance.

    The more I ponder it, the truer it seems that the stuff you snap carelessly - family, scenery and cats - is the stuff that matters most.

    And truth... it's vital and the hard bits are part of life. It suspect it's how you tell the truth that matters most. Your instinct about smartening yourself up for your family for instance. I remember when dad was dying seeing him unshaven for the first time in my then nearly 40 years was profoundly shocking.

    I hope some Easter warmth makes you feel better soon.

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