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Showing posts from 2022

Letting the light in.

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  My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary. - Martin Luther -             Celebrating my daughters Race for Life-a jewel to treasure this week!  I read this quote this week and it made me pause. There is no doubt that music has been an important part of my life. I’m a singer songwriter fan and also very much enjoy those whose voices are the instrument too, not necessarily together as that can be a hard ask! I notice, however, when I’m most stressed and anxious because of life and it’s travails I can’t listen in the same way. Somehow I takes up too much room in my head. Perhaps my brain is too overwhelmed by making sense of things or just getting through each day.  At other times it’s been reading, my usual solace, that has left me. I have found I can’t concentrate or as soon as I dip my eyes I’m asleep but not now thankfully. I’m enjoying every form of reading but I need to be selective. I don’t do sad just now, nor da

Find the jewels

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  Find the jewels  Find the jewels she said Sometimes they are buried  I thought. And I’ve little energy for hunting.  At times I find myself  storing hurts instead. A missed opportunity,  a song unheard. Too many moments lost in what’s not happened  trying not to long for what has passed.  But the jewels are there  often in full view. A new bird finding the feeder.  The dogs joy at our homecoming. And for this afternoon The gentle snore of the cat permeating the quiet afternoon  light, creating a soothing rhythm.

It’s a cat and dogs life….

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  A week off chemotherapy helped me have space to fit in a short trip to family in the south Highlands of Scotland. As soon as you arrive the freshness of the air starts to soothe. It’s so valuable to switch off from the tyranny of blood tests, treatment, assessment, endless medication and so on.  For a few days it was beautiful scenery and beautiful people. The pain was-is-still breaking through but less so. I can feel and see the concern on others when I struggle but I can no longer protect them from my worst times as they are too evident. My drugs get increased again and slowly I’ve improved a little. The steroid injection has started to kick in too. My body is less guarded and I’m relaxing a little more. So I’m sleeping-a lot!  The other day after a busy morning on a webinar I spoke at, I snuck upstairs to change into a soft denim look jumpsuit ( like a posh onesie tbh). Getting changed is always a challenge so I rewarded myself with a wee lie down. Several hours later I awakened w

When people don’t understand the impact of pain-it hurts.

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                                                                     The Mood Moose  Who knew how good a pain killer Naproxen is? Take note but protect your stomach! I’ve been on it since the start of the spinal growth caused me pain. It helped. So much so it was a while, until I started to lose power and mobility I realised I might need more help. Since then my cocktail of drugs has changed and varied but naproxen maintained. When I was told to stop it as I started chemotherapy ( I didn’t know till the day before) I thought ok some tweaks of other things and I might me ok? I talked to a GP, we made a plan. The steroid holiday got me through the first day and a bit, by Sunday I was whimpering in pain by the evening, during the night and first thing in the morning. Monday morning came I contacted the GP. We topped up pregabalin and I asked re topical gels. Ask oncology- they told me to ask GP-. I asked the pharmacist-they told me to ask oncology. Wednesday I asked oncology, explaining m

I love spring….

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  I love spring.   The hopefulness, the renewal of life, the colours, the surge of energy that even we humans can feel, leads to a sense of optimism. To be honest I’m in need of optimism when it seems my spring and summer is likely to be consumed by further treatment for breast cancer, while adjusting to new drugs for rheumatoid arthritis. A powerful cocktail but not the kind you would order for fun. There’s no jaunty umbrella, frozen fruit or champagne in this one. I’m trying to arrange things to look forward to but it’s hard to know what might be possible and when.  So to cheer myself up I ordered a copy of the book Preventable by Devi Shridhar. I know how to have a good time! It is fascinating and well written    and captures the reader and in my defence I’ve long had an interest in public health. What is so interesting is how much a recent event like this has changed our lives and relationships too. It seems like another time we sat in lockdown, uncertain and fearful and yet even

Fifty shades of yellow….

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  Surgery number two is done. The wound is 50 shades of yellow - pause to take arnica-and healing normally in-spite of its raw red reminder of what’s passed. But with surgery for breast cancer I find, it’s the recovery from the anaesthetic that challenges me. And this time it’s two anaesthetics in just six weeks and don’t I know it. I’m on day 8 of a headache, treatment for a sinus infection, nose bleeds and wabbit on a grand scale.  A fabulous Mother’s Day lunch in the garden was great fun and the family really made me ( and their Dad) feel loved. The sun and signs of spring have helped us lift our heads too. I recommend recuperating in the Spring, new life can be so uplifting and hopeful. Spring’s optimism convinced me I could go to a short concert with a theme of peace at St Giles. It was beautiful, especially the song for Ukraine and a bit too much in triggering pain and fatigue. Ah well, I’m still learning.  And I’m now rationing news as the war continues in Ukraine witnessing the

Wabbit and crabbit…

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  Recently our grandson had to come home from nursery early. He’d had vaccinations and h temperature was up. He announced as he walked back in the door….”I’m ok, I’m just a wee bit wabbit.” My heart melted with this announcement. Partly because wabbit spoke to how I feel too -the perfect word. As well as delight at his use of the Scot’s word. It was the reminder too of how Scots permeates our day to day language and how uplifting ( and very cute) it was to hear him use it. We’re a land of many languages- reflecting the many influences on our island nation. He may even learn Gaelic in the future, it’s a language taught in his future school, something I could never even have contemplated for my children or for me as a child.  In a time when we are seeing a sovereign nation ( Ukraine) being violently invaded by Russia, ripping out it’s very core , its made me grieve deeply for the people and it’s touched that Scots part of me that feels an affinity to a country that was finding its feet a

Talking gratitude, storms and shhhh!

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Do you know this saying? It says  - “life isn’t about waiting for the storms to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain”.  Now I admit to liking the odd quote that can tell a truth in verse or image that opens up a new way of thinking. And in this week, post op, the storms have been raging in this part of the world, both real and metaphorical. So it strikes me that not only have some of these actual storms come with a red warning, I’ve also been reminded that dancing is not my strength either. I’m glad no one reminded me of this quote or my reply might have been brief and to the point ( you know, two words, second one….).  Ten days post op and I’m healing and some pain receding. At times I’ve been able to marvel at the body’s ability to recover and at other times I’m reminded that our bodies are complex ecosystems and one wrong move and the repercussions are widespread. This weeks smorgasbord of symptoms has included severe nerve pain, bladder infection and the old favourite, co

The Kingdom of the Sick

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  The Kingdom of the Sick Well it’s official, I have another cancer in my left ( reconstructed breast). I’m still taking exemestane and having regular zometa infusions to help prevent    the return of the cancer but nonetheless I’m back to hospital on Thursday 10 February for a wide local excision. So I left the breast clinic with a pen drawing on my boob of the planned excision and trying to puzzle that this time the tumour is triple negative this time. This means none of the hormone based treatments or herceptin work to treat or prevent the triple negative tumours. It’s complex to understand but for more information see  https://breastcancernow.org/information-support/facing-breast-cancer/diagnosed-breast-cancer/primary-breast-cancer/triple-negative-breast-cancer My bone scan was clear which was good news and I get the CT for an all over check up, on Wednesday. It’s the day before the operation but at least there will be some preliminary results. So this week is busy.  As I was plann

Tae a lump

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  Tae a lump…. I’m not sure when I noticed you. I do remember thinking I will wait until after Christmas to mention it. But you know that feeing when you have a hole in your tooth or even an ulcer on your tongue, you have to constantly revisit it. As you avoid calling the dentist your tongue tells you how foolish that is. Exploring every tender point at every time you are trying to avoid thinking of it, yet the tongue- the traitor-finds it everytime. Making a mockery of denial, so does my hand. In the shower I check it out, in bed I notice it’s contours, applying my favourite moisturiser I feel it clearly. I’m confused and yet at the same time my heart is sinking in recognition that this is serious.  Of course it is, you cry. But you see I’ve already had breast cancer four times and I have had two mastectomies, one reconstruction and a whole lot of grief since 1994. To be fair most of my diagnoses have been in the last 10 years. Just when I thought I was safe from breast cancer, jus

In a month when you can be anything-be kind.

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  January. In a month when you can be anything, be kind! … please When I was a wee girl, I’m told I used to cry at the end of the Christmas holidays. Perhaps I didn’t want to return to school? I don’t remember the reason but I do remember that I didn’t want to holidays to end. I wanted the Christmas/midwinter/Hogmanay celebrations to go on. Was it about Christmas? I did regularly go to church and Sunday school, at that time and admit to being captured by the Christmas story. But I was never the one who got to be Mary in the nativity, I was more of a third donkey type! I loved the carols, the special services, the hope and optimism. They settled around might heart like the tinsel on the tree. They lifted the mundanity of winter in our wee village. And Hogmanay whilst whisky fuelled adults were sometimes unpredictable I savoured the fun, the gatherings ( even parties) and the cheer from visitors and family who too were freed from daily grinds. Winter in Scotland was grey, austere, cold