To see oursels as others see us?

Going Nowhere....
I have had some really uplifting feedback this week . In particular the blog from Jayne Cox who  is woman I have met on twitter on jaynemcox,  a coach for women especially those with confidence issues and she asked me to be this months WOW woman. It stands for woman of worth and I guess any other complement is in shadow of that. She asked powerful questions and my answers to those make, I think,  a moving blog. A local journalist too did a very perceptive piece about my story and our important work. She entitled it "when the helper needs help". These experiences and others have made me ponder on self perceptions.

Because my reaction is the most telling thing of all. When my doctor was recently summarising my medical history she said "so you have recurrent breast cancer and severe asthma". I was shocked, really shocked. No I wanted to say that's not me, I've just had a bad spell, the cancer was very early, I will be fine soon. And then I reflected on her words and thought, well I guess that's why I am feeling as I am. Duh! I hear you cry but it's just that I don't see myself as a sick person and don't want to either. Tempting though it is to find an appropriate chaise lounge and demand peeled grapes ( or Percy pigs or mini poppadums even!) I much prefer to get on with life. But when the story in the Evening news came out entitled "When the helper needs help" I could see my colleagues wondering how I would react. She won't like that title ..writ large on their faces. But hey I took it on the chin.....the article is lovely and covers our One Day campaign. Happily the on line version has no photograph , a bit too much of a close up for comfort.

And there are other  perceptions that need challenged. Legionnaires disease has claimed three lives in Edinburgh this summer ( what summer ?) and many more have been unwell as a result. Others of course have been very anxious and the authorities deliver advice and reassurances. The one that always gets me is the one that seeks to reassure by stating those most at risk are those with underlying health conditions. And I have to catch myself feeling a little reassured for a moment until I accept my and many others reality. Hang on a minute there, over 2 million people live with long term conditions in Scotland. And almost 4,500 women are diagnosed every year with breast cancer alone . And their treatment even will meet with definition of a long term condition, not to mention the ongoing impact of living with a cancer. The imminent risk from legionnaires disease is passing thankfully but take a thought next time there is a public health risk before those with underlying health problems are  casually written off please. Their need and risk is greater and the appropriate advice needs to be tailored to them too, let's remember. OK I feel better having got that one off my chest!

So I am glad I got through this week and it's had some great highs but lows too. Not least the thundering headache I fought for a couple of days. As I traveled back home from work  I found myself fretting about how I was managing my well-being on my return to work. As I walked through the door I saw a bunch of flowers from a friend with an eerily timed message to take time to smell the flowers. An important reminder to do that and I know if I'm honest I'm not doing enough. Important note to self.

Reasons to be cheerful. It's simple I have such good people ; family, friends and colleagues in my life and I value them every day. The weather here has been so bad its having a serious effect on the cat. He is "getting " fat. The daily trying every door in case its not raining outside each one is his only exercise just now. Its the only thing that makes me laugh with regard to the weather.........Oh and Andy Murray is in the final of the tennis.....fantastic. We are meeting friends but aim to tape it and watch later. So no spoilers please!!!


  1. Audrey, I totally "get" the risk that public health threats pose to those who have endured a serious health crisis. That's why when I turn 60 I'll insist on getting the shingles vaccine (insurance companies in the U.S. will not pay for this vaccine for those under 60). In addition, I'll check up to see if my pneumonia vaccine booster is still good or if I need another one. Why take chances when we are immunocompromised?

    What a pleasant and aromatic surprise from your friend! That gives me some ideas on how to spark enthusiasm and cheer in those who are in the doldrums. Thanks for your encouraging post. Keep on keeping on. XX

    1. Good advice Jan and there is a strong need for all of us to self care. But isn't it wonderful when others care for us too.


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