Posts

Showing posts from 2017

A Hogmanay Poem

Image
A moon, almost full shines it’s glory O’er Auld Reekie this Hogmanay  A grainy expectation, a city holding her breath  for the bells 2017 ye were a richt nichtmare fur so mony o’ us  2018 aye hopeful we share oor wishes wi a shrug whit can we dae? Ma resolution is  take dae whit a’ can tae be a bit kinder in life Oh aye, an tae ma sel’!  Guan yersel in whatever you’re resolutions are this Hogmanay  And cross we’r fingers for better times

Stories we tell ourselves at Christmas

Image
I’ve never been one for those letters at Christmas generally. Sometimes I’ve shared new addresses with some news or a special event like my sons wedding but avoided the " Tristan got straight A’s in his exams " type annual note accompanying the Christmas card. I’ve always been a tad cynical about the one sided view of life because rarely do we share the hard times on these notes. We're less honest maybe about the family driving us to drink, of working too hard, of exams bombed, of needing to go up a dress size or whatever else keeps us awake at night. Like every falsely glittered Christmas advert we want to enhance the positives in our lives and hide the bulging credit card behind the curtain of our own denial.  But this has been a hard year and I found myself thinking if I shared the news of the year it would be a great way to kill the Christmas spirit and so of course I haven’t. But I have learned over the years that this blog is one of my ways to process my

Even if your voice shakes

Image
In the last month or so we have seen more references to the abuse of power than has perhaps ever been seen before in my lifetime. The #metoo response to the Harvey Weinstein revelations has shown the extent of sexual harassment and abuse in our modern society. If you have read any of these posts you will,like me, have likely been deeply affected. Alongside that the shocking statistic that in just one day in the UK this year 95 women and 90 children were turned away from refuge. This is an endemic problem which we aren't dealing with. I have found myself disturbed and upset and yet honestly I was not surprised. I too had experience something aged 18 and never reported it. At the time I saw it as a sleazy move that I managed to escape from. I learned from then how to avoid a similar situation with that individual. I didn’t recognise it as an abuse of power at the time but it was. I didn’t realise either that I was unlikely to be the only one, I just wondered what I had done

Running in my dreams

Image
I had a dream that I was running last night. Now don’t misunderstand me, it wasn’t running along the beach at St Andrews,  chariots of fire style or getting to the finishing line in a race, no it was just ordinary running, like for the bus maybe. Or perhaps just for the hell of it to shake off some cobwebs or after the dog on the beach ( usually saying give the dog it’s ball back, Cara!) . For that moment I could run with the wind in my hair, smiling, enjoying the rush. Later in the dream I played paldies or hopscotch,if you’re not from round here. I was jumping up and down joyfully, feeling a child’s delight in the activity. Then a friend reminded me from an adult place to remember I wasn’t supposed to do any impact activity and I landed with a thud. Out of the dream back to reality. Running is in the past for me as is jumping on pavements to some long forgotten rhyme. Walking slowly is my current status and whilst I’m grateful still to do that, I’m still mortified that snails o

The one when its not cancer but still a bit shit!

Image
Last time I felt as shocked as I did last Monday, was when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer. Even as you think you are preparing yourself for difficult news, nonetheless it's never quite enough. And the thing for me is, I was still hoping that something conservative as a treatment option could make a difference to my back and my walking. You know maybe if a kept up with the Pilates classes,if those exercises the physio gave me could work and that I would actually do them four times a day,perhaps a wee steroid injection? Or even a telling off to lose more weight and get to the gym even was a possibility in my back pocket.  What the neurosurgeon did actually say after a brief examination and looking at my scan was, that surgery could help to take away the calicified prolapse that was pressing on my spinal cord at T11/12 but it carried a 50% risk of spinal damage which would leave me paralysed and without bowel or bladder function. Well  "f***  that" was my first

no more war...

Image
So this week I had the confimation that the back and leg pain I’ve been dealing with of late is the result of pressure on my spine and needs more investigation urgently. No one seems to think its related to previous cancer diagnoses but its plummeted me back into the world of scans, appointments and uncertainty. I’m an old hand at this game of course so I’ve got those wonder woman pants looked out, ready to tackle what’s ahead.  I’ve been asking people- who I thought might know- what should I do? Do I lie about on a chaise longue? Or should I be keeping as active as I can but try not to make things worse? I’ve stopped the exercises from the physio I was going to until we have more detail but I’m honestly in the dark as to how to approach this.  I am drawn to contrast this with a breast cancer diagnosis when frankly most of us get a barrage of well intended advice on pretty much everything. And then of course we are told relentlessly to fight it. Every war analogy dusted off so

But what if?....living with breast cancer

Image
It's almost 10 years since I took up the post of Director for Scotland of Breakthrough Breast Cancer ( it's since merged to become Breast Cancer Now). My role was to set up the charity in Scotland and I found myself very drawn to the role. It was a huge decision to apply not least because it meant a long commute but I felt compelled to do it. I'm sure my own diagnosis with breast cancer almost 14 years previously was linked to the strong pull; unfinished business. But it also made me, uncharacteristically, superstitious. “What if it comes back if I take this job” I asked a nursing friend. “Well it might come back, but it won't be because you took this job” was his wise reply. It was the reply I needed to make the move.  I dived into that role with energy, enthusiasm and a deep sense of purpose. I even embraced the wearing of pink at times, something of a challenge to a wardrobe that tended to the black side of the colour spectrum! My background was nursing, where I