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 the opportunity to learn about what the patients have really valued.

This week has witnessed the emergent Bristles of Breakthrough -the males in Breakthrough, including our Chris our CEO (yes there are a several brave men who do sterling work in the very female environment of Breakthrough!) joining to support the Prostate Cancer Charity and growing moustaches to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer. It’s really great to see this generosity of spirit within the organisation. These are challenging times but it’s important we don’t lose the collective good will that needs to be the lifeblood of charities. Equally Bowel Cancer UK has launched an important campaign this week highlighting that women too can get bowel cancer (but under estimate their risk). As charities our health messages often are linked (eg health improvement, early detection) so we should support our common and unique messages whenever we can. After all getting breast cancer doesn’t stop you being at risk of other cancers or heart disease or diabetes. Indeed the risk factors will often be shared. So well done bristles of Breakthrough, my Dad died of prostate cancer and today is his anniversary so be sure I will be sponsoring you. And also well done Bowel Cancer UK for your important work.

That said I feel a sense of relief that I finally plucked up courage and did the other cancer screening (bowel and cervical-sorry if you are eating!) and all have come back negative. Phew, I think I can only do one thing at a time. It’s a busy week ahead with over night stays in London and Dundee (now stop it!). As ever my life’s ironies don’t fail to impress. I was due to be at the Breast Cancer Audit meeting on Friday but instead I have my return clinic visit and my first mammogram since the surgery. Gulp. So I finally plucked up courage today and got new bra’s. Tempting fate aside, it was a fragile Audrey that asked for help in John Lewis and bless those wonderful people who helped me out with real sensitivity and kindness. No holding me back now I hope.

Reasons to be cheerful: Seeing colleagues and friends of course. And also I have discovered zumba! The joy of dance and music. My daughter has often said she wants to become a celebrity so she can go on strictly come dancing. I do know what she means but I think zumba is the closest to it I will get. Frankly I couldn’t manage the heels but you know just once in my life I would love to look like Flavia in a jumpsuit!
So twice a week in a vain attempt to achieve that I emerge from the class smiling, hot, sweaty and completely zumbered! I recommend it.


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    Occupational Medicine


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