Showing posts from 2015

Owning my story

I wish I had a pound for every time someone has told me I'm strong in the last few weeks. And I know I am-in the sense they mean- but sometimes it's used in a way that makes me want to ask for permission not to be strong sometimes! "Strong" evokes an impression of rippling muscles and a stiff upper lip. And anyone who knows me knows that's not me! Definitely not the rippling muscles sadly and I'm the person who can't watch sad films or even adverts. I bubble at a sad story at the best of times. Show me an emotion and I'm in it! OK it may be true that when I was nursing, I could hold it together to provide care and support in the moment but when I got home the slightest sad story and all my withheld emotions would flow. I have cried reading out poetry and I have moved others and myself to tears speaking at events in Scottish parliament even; so I'm an old hand at emotion. More and more I'm willing to show my vulnerabilities at time

Christmas thoughts and empowerment pants!

It's Christmas Eve and I'm writing this in the early hours with a storm making its presence felt outside. But I write from a place of peacefulness despite all that this month has brought. Because with the news that I have breast cancer again has brought some very lovely messages of love and support, some truly special time with family and friends and more to come. I'm feeling very blessed. I know this is a hard time of year for so many; mid-winter weather, the awakening of loss, the media stoked expectations of a perfect Christmas which is rarely reality and all of life's pressures and illnesses that somehow seem inflamed by a date on a calendar. I was reminded of this sitting in the breast clinic this week when the nurse assistant said to me , it doesn't feel Christmassy yet does it?   After sitting in the waiting room where fear is omnipresent, tension is palpable and the Christmas tree in the corner seems wanly overworked, I couldn't imagine fee

The Scanner

I wrote this to express my anger at poor practice but the process has really made me think about whether being kind is just a bit of icing on the cake or whether its actually a core skill. I found myself defending the person, saying maybe they had a bad day, it was busy, you know how it goes. But the truth is this attitude stood out as it was so different from the care and compassion I expereince with the breast team. There is such fear around in those experiences, that kindness and soothing are as important as knowing how the machine works. The lady following me had sat with me at lunch and she cried almost constantly; her fear so present about what was ahead of her. Yes the scan was a small part of her journey but any bump in the road with leave you bruised and fearful for the next stage. So please anyone reading this, my plea is just be kind, it's not just's part of our healing. The Scanner  Put your things there Climb up onto the platform The machine

Its how the light gets in....again

I started writing this blog in 2011 when I was diagnosed for the second time in my life with breast cancer. And as I sit down to write this I find myself poised to write about something I didn't expect to at all. Perhaps I should have.   I wanted to write a blog then for a few reasons "I suppose for me this is also about finding my voice in this fairly unique situation I find myself in and using that voice to share and shed my own burdens. And also the love and laughter that these times can evoke." Blogging has been in some ways quite life changing. I rediscovered a joy of writing, I have connected with fellow bloggers across the world; laughed with them, raged with them, grieved for them too. And as my health improved and the cancer receded, I have blogged about many other things, enjoying the freedom to explore my thoughts around person centred care, about leadership, even about politics. But this weeks news is bringing the blog right back to its

"The ways of truth and love have always won". Gandhi

" We need a systematic approach to foster humanistic values, of oneness and harmony. If we start doing it now, there is hope that this century will be different from the previous one. It is in everybody's interest. So let us work for peace within our families and society, and not expect help from God, Buddha or the governments." Dalai Lama It's been hard this last few weeks to have the words to describe the myriad of emotions that have affected me. In some ways I envy those who purport to have certainty in what should be done to respond to the terrorism we see affecting so much of our world. And of course it had an impact on me because as a European, terror came very close to home. I have no easy answers to share, no wise idioms to make it all ok. I understand some the complexity of the factors that have brought us to where we are now; I know that we in the UK have played our own role in that, like so many others in the West. I know too that some pow