Showing posts from November, 2011

Audrey Birt's breast cancer blog: Time to think and surviving?

Audrey Birt's breast cancer blog: Time to think and surviving? : Although I missed the opening of the Christmas Market in Edinburgh I have managed to get along to it. The smell of cinnamon, mulled wine ...

Time to think and surviving?

Although I missed the opening of the Christmas Market in Edinburgh I have managed to get along to it. The smell of cinnamon, mulled wine and pretzels is wonderfully evocative of Christmas already. I do cheese I admit (and not just the kind that goes in with the potatoes at the stalls). The kind of cheese that gets Christmas baubles for the new family members engraved with their names and in considering buying the Michael Buble Christmas album. I know, but if it lifts the dark days of mid winter and makes someone happy (and me!) why not? And this year I would recognise all my emotions are close to the surface. My grumpy fuse is shorter than usual I confess, my vulnerability makes me over sensitive to hurting feelings at times too and of course tears aren’t too far from the surface on occasion. Like many of you I’m sure, its not the big occasions that evoke tears often, it’s the simple things that touch me. Kind words and gestures and well-timed hugs are the best. But not ever the An


From London to Dundee via Edinburgh (or Embra as they say in Glasgow), I am sure there could be a song in that. It’s been a week of train journeys really. I even managed a pre Christmas get together with colleagues that may be a record in its previous-ness to the season. But enjoyable all the more for it. The aforementioned Movenmber's are making meetings a bit challenging….that is to keep your face straight! I love the way it has changed some of my colleagues into either dodgy seventies cops or dastardly hero types! Next weeks board meeting should have a whole new dynamic too. The trip allowed me to catch up with colleagues and good friends too-I realise how much I have missed that of late. In the week that Breakthrough Breast Cancer has published new risk factor guidelines (see our website to download them from the publications section) I have also attended two meetings where the potential of reducing risk and improving outcomes post-treatment through

New bras and zumba!

I survived the first week back from holidays and it was a week of a whole range of experiences. One highlight was the Scottish Health Awards. Its always a really moving occasion when mostly it’s the unseen and unsung heroes who are nominated by grateful patients. The hankies are at the ready by all there, as each award is received much emotion. Whether it’s the neonatal team doing skilled and life saving work, the fab general practice team or the radiographer from the western isles and who has been on call for 11 years (apart from holidays) you see the evidence that great people serve us well around the country. The gratitude and modesty exhibited at these rewards reminds me how rarely we thank people in our culture. It’s important we remember that we learn as much from feedback on what we do well as well us understanding where we go wrong. The Breakthrough Breast Cancer Service Pledge does that powerfully. The feedback not only helps teams identify improvement goals but also offers

I'm Fine, i'm fine!

I seem to have spent the last week telling people I am fine. Maybe some of the assertions of fine-ness have become more shrill at times if I’m honest. I have gone from Mrs Angry of Edinburgh to shaking with anxiety -each of them unexpected. The anger was related to an issue which is now resolved but I felt furious at the time. But more than that it awakened my vulnerability that was unexpected. I recognised each made the other worse and so got support from a colleague to resolve it. It was good to recognise that and also to get the support. All good learning for the future and probably untypical as my fierce independence can unnecessarily make my life harder at times. At a dinner I attended I received some moving comments about how impressed they were with how I am dealing with my situation and how passionate that makes me about the cause. I have become fairly used to talking openly and can forget the impact on others of my recent diagnosis of breast cancer. I did deliberate about m