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Showing posts from January, 2013

For Auld Lang Syne

  " For auld lang syne, my dear, For auld lang syne, We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet For auld lang syne!" I am no good at good byes. And they are fast approaching. Now I concede whatever had happened in my life I may always have found them difficult but I believe that the day nearly 19 years ago I was diagnosed with cancer makes them harder for me. It opened up that vulnerable place and I just was never able to shut it up again. So with some big goodbyes approaching, a trip to see Les Miserables at the cinema was very  risky but I really wanted to see it. Off I tripped with my colleagues and of course "I dreamed a dream" was my undoing. A scene of a mother dying and not being there to care for her child my nightmare. But it's also such a powerful story of love and redemption that my heart was lifted too. A bit of a cathartic release lets say! It's the theme that's at the core of my vulnerability: not being there for my children. I

To make us well

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I have lived with the experience of cancer for almost 19 years now. Of course at times it has been a background light only and at others it has been omnipresent. So when I stated bravely a couple of weeks ago that's it behind me again now, I should have known that these journeys are complex. That often the moment you believe you have stuffed it back in the Pandora's box, it bares its teeth. And it's not the cancer as such that has reared it's head ,but the impact of it all. Mostly it's the reminder I have not fully regained my strength. Nor fully embraced my vulnerability....As I picked up the prescription of antibiotics and steroids for worsening asthma, and then returned to work, I did momentarily note the irony. Then got back to being as busy. So I am coughing still but better and in part thankful to my condition for the reminder to allow myself time to recover, in all it's light and shade. I have just listened to "If it be your will"

What stops care?

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I started my nursing career in Edinburgh, mostly within the historic buildings of the then Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. Its roots were as a charitable hospital and as such was proud and confident of its superiority.The Nightingale wards offered a really great opportunity to monitor patients but little opportunity for patients to sleep.  The wards were the domain of the Sister (yes sexism was alive and well) and the hospital the nurse managers (even the matron had met her demise-Hattie Jakes had hung up her starched cap). You knew where you stood and frankly as a student nurse that was in a pretty shaky position. You did a lot of learning by doing (yes ,thrown in the deep end ) and team dynamics and local leadership were the things that helped you sink or swim. The good old days? I do recall being reprimanded for talking to patients and sent to clean the trays instead…mmmm. And in other wards my memory even now is the love and compassion shown to others and how

To live with joy an a' that....

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In some ways as 2013 begins I feel poised on the brink of change more than any other. As my last blog described it feels like a time to leave the cancer experience more firmly in the past. Yes! I say this in the knowledge that life with cancer can aye have twists and turns but it's a milestone none the less. I start a new career building on the things that I believe I am best at, make the difference I believe in and bring me joy. And that's a few short weeks away now. The excitement sits alongside some fear and yes sadness too for those I will miss from my role in Breakthrough. But ( perhaps this is a sophisticated form of denial...)  I know I will always feel a connection to the cause and its people ,as well as the organisation I set up here in Scotland. It will ever be in my heart because of my complex attachment so it's not goodbye, it's just a different engagement. As I describe the  areas I want to focus on in the future, I know they are interconnec