Showing posts from November, 2012

Compassion and holding snakes lightly.

" Compassion is a muscle that gets stronger with use ." Gandhi If I say I am currently wrestling with the urge to open a packet of Percy pigs I was foolish enough to buy, my regular readers (ha!) will know all is not on an even keel. It's better than last week though, having survived a full on -and if I'm honest-emotional week. On one day alone I went from carer of frail member of the family to chairing a key meeting in the afternoon with a considerable drive in between. That morning also included taking her to see the GP who was kind and competent but the star for me was the receptionist. She had gone out of her way to be kind and respectful in the face of frailty, with a strong dash of practical competence. I thank goodness for her...not just for my family but the many families she helps. I was reminded of that when I attended the conference on person centred care the next day. Some key questions were posed like how do make make compassion reliable? And also i

What doesnt kill you makes you stronger?

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger! A Scottish homily that reflects the stoicism in our culture. But is it true? Considering my recent decision to swallow brave pills and take a big step, it is certainly influenced by my recent illness. I know I'm not alone in making a decision following a cancer diagnosis-to make a long held wish a reality. And the knowledge that you have faced the hard stuff and survived is a powerful affirmation of for me at least at one level its true. But it's also influenced my health and that too affects my opportunities and decisions. Does one cancel out the other? I suppose that can only be weighed up be each of us. But the truth is for many a cancer diagnosis affects their employment, income and housing fundamentally so whilst it may be counter balanced by a bold decision for quality of life for some. For many there will be no choice, no long held ambition to realise, just a tougher reality to adapt to. And physically there are oft

A week for a big decision.....

" Dont ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive" This has been a week for a huge decision. Not one that snuck up on me of course. It's been building for some time. As you know I have had the reminder , for the second time in my life, that life and health is our greatest treasure. And now I am mostly recovered from my recent illness it's made me think...what next?  Now, not in a," what if I am going to die sort of way ". More of a ," how do I want to live ?"And the answer is there are some things I still really want to do in my career and there is some balance I would like to achieve in my life. In order to do that, I need to make changes.  I came to my role in Breakthrough to set up the charity in Scotland. I was fortunate to recruit a great team who shared my desire to be the best we could to represent the people affected

Settling arguments of breast cancer screening?

So at last we have it the results of the much heralded (in my world at least!) breast screening evidence review. It has been anticipated by the breast cancer community, in the hope that finally this is the one that settles the arguments. So does it? The UK breast cancer charities have looked at the outcome and feel , yes, this is good news for women. The review has shown that breast screening can save lives-around 1300 a year in the UK, that’s around 130 here in Scotland. But there are some downsides to screening reported in the review. The data suggests that 1 in 5 of those diagnosed through screening is over diagnosed. So some women are diagnosed and treated for a cancer that is at such an early stage it may not have caused them harm in their lifetimes. The problem is we don’t know at the moment which cancers will grow and become harmful so all women in this situation will be offered treatment. But let’s not forget that also means 4 in 5 women who have a cancer diagnosed throu