Friday, 13 July 2012
Just Pufflin along, then the phone rings...
You know in that moment when you notice your mobile phone has three missed calls in a short space of time, that there is something wrong. And there was. Someone very dear to us had had a heart attack. Your own heart stops too for a moment until more details emerge. Then as the details emerged we were reassured that it was a mild one and with the right care and rehabilitation all will be well. Thank goodness. And as I write she is home and doing well. Yes that's right, she. Did you assume perhaps that it was a he, as I said a heart attack?
Because women do have heart attacks and often underestimate their risk. What is important is that all women are knowledgeable about potential risks to them and the impacts on their health and know how to modify their risk where possible, whether that's breast cancer, heart disease or conditions like diabetes. And the good news, in a way, is that keeping active, keeping your weight down, not smoking and watching your alcohol intake will help reduce risk of all those conditions. We also need to know the signs and symptoms in order to be diagnosed early. As in breast cancer, so it is with heart disease, an early diagnosis is important for good outcomes. Here are the factors to look out for at BHF Heart Attack Symptoms.And here too is our TLC campaign. Knowledge is power remember.
Comparing heart disease with cancer also raises the issue of cardiac rehabilitation. It is now built into care, every person following an event like a heart attack, is encouraged to take part in cardiac rehabilitation. This is aimed at re-establishing emotional and physical well-being, understanding the need for both. How much of a reality is this for people recovering from cancer? I suspect it's the lucky few who get a programme of care at the end of active treatment. The evidence base is certainly building for women with breast cancer of the benefits of physical activity. Without this so many of us will not return to full health with all the related impacts.We need more evidence to understand fully what people need to do post a diagnosis of, and treatment for, breast cancer and then ensure they all have the opportunity to take part in it. As in any illness of course some of it has to be down to ourselves to do those things to manage our way forward and to care for ourselves.
And I do write that with not a little sense of irony. Recognising that since I have gone back to work I have been less able to care for myself; to walk, to relax, to have time to smell the flowers. And I confess yesterday I set off to work without any make up on........yes that's right, no make up!!! I nearly checked myself straight in to see the doctor. That is a very serious sign in my world. My family are highly entertained and alarmed in equal measure. And the conversation in the office was, if your partner noticed would they dare say anything ( mine was out at the time). The consensus was ...damned either way. Sorry guys!
Reasons to be cheerful: So glad to have a happier ending to this week. Long may that continue. I am off soon to a lovely part of the Lake District. I hope it ,at least, doesn't rain . It will be great to see family and have a bit of time to not only smell the flowers but also look at the hills too.( not planning to climb any!). Close to home the local sea bird centre has asked people to look out for pufflings that may have been washed out of their burrows by the floods.So I am on puffling alert too!