Category Archives: Health

An Airbrush for Life….

If you could, would you?

“Of course,” some may reply.

Mmmmm, I’m not so sure.

I was applying my make-up this morning, seriously considering that if I have to use many more primers, plumpers or smoother-outers I’m going to have to start the night before, when the thought of a concealer for life came into my head, then, even better, an airbrush.

My mind quickly started rifling through my memories, selecting those for the eraser of all things bad, the sad stuff and the cock-ups.

But none of our actions happen in isolation. If, along with the bad stuff, some of the high points of your life went too, would you still go ahead?

I know I wouldn’t.

My tough times have taught me about personal strength, the power of forgiveness ( of myself and others), the kindness of strangers and that the love of family and friends is the most important thing in my life.

And as for my high points, I wouldn’t swap one of them for all the air-brushing in Hollywood!!

 

 

 

 

What’s In A Name??

I believe you can find humour in any area or event in life and my cancer journey has    been no exception.

My husband and I were discussing the surgical procedure with the consultant when he mentions that I will have a dye injected prior to surgery that will colour not just my boob area, but the rest of my body as well, blue for an amount of time.

“Ha,” laughed my husband, “Papa Smurf.”

I shot him a look ( one of those husband/wife looks) as the surgeon continued in a sober fashion.

“Well it will have the effect of making your wife look a bit “corpse-like”.”

I looked back to my husband with a new-found respect. I think I’ll take Papa Smurf on this occasion.

“Corpse-like!!!”

So the day of surgery came. We walked on past the newly built, state of the art building where I will go for chemo and radiotherapy. I glance over at the beautiful bronze statue of Florence Nightingale in front of the door and then up at the building’s name.

“Cancer Unit”, writ large!

Not even a “The.”

Had they run out of funds or was the Minister in charge of naming buildings off that day!

I shudder and walk on. A lovely nurse greeted me and cheerily gave me my programme for the morning.

“Now, you will first go to Mamo and then round to Nuclear.”

Nuclear??

Turns out to be Nuclear Medicine. I think the Naming Minister was off that day too.

About 30 seconds after being deposited in the waiting room another lovely nurse comes to collect me. They must have thought I would run away and they mightn’t have been too far off the mark!

“I have to ask you, for legal reasons, are you pregnant?”

I laugh……heartily. “No.”

Lovely Nurse then gowns up and dons a pair of gloves before injecting this obviously hazardous material into my right tit!!

Because of various taping and markers I am not allowed to get “fully” dressed ( no bra) before me and two-hung-low walk back, through the hospital, to my ward.

Cheery Nurse is bustling about the ward when I get back and I ask her if she finds a sudden increase in the patients need of Valium, post Nuclear visit.

Oh, how she laughs!!

 

 

Being Afraid

I am just thinking back to a much earlier blog where I discussed being your own “best friend” because, right now, I would tell my best friend, my loved one, in my situation, “It’s okay to be afraid.”

I am.

I’m not afraid of dying ( I don’t think that’s my path at this time), but of living with the next bit of the journey; chemo……and the rest.

I cry for a bit, feel crap for a bit,  and then remember my amazing family and friends and how much they believe in me and how blessed I am to have them.

I can choose to lie down under this and let it beat me or face it head on, doing the best I can to follow the guidelines and advice and come out the other side, stronger than before; like thousands and thousands of people are doing every day.

So, I have pulled on my big girl pants I’m back in the ring!!

 

 

That Pollyanna “thing” again…..

How many times, especially this last year to eighteen months, with all that is going on in the world, have I bemoaned what has/is to become of mankind?

I have lost count.

Where have all the decent folk gone?

Answer – wait until you need them and they are there.

Don’t give up on the world or the people in it. There is more to be “Glad” about than you may thInk right now.

Life isn’t about stretching from one high point to another, but about finding worth in the twists and turns.

I always appreciated the goodness of the people in my life, but now they are carrying me through what could be termed a low point, sharing their strength, their love and compassion, allowing me to find the worth of where I am now.

Thank you.

And so, It continues………

I am quite good at some things.

If you tell me “X” is going to happen, that it will hurt, but that by time “Y”, I will feel better and that A,B and C benefits will then cut in; then I am good at coping with “X”.

But, in this, I am not unique. In fact, I think most of us are the same.

When we can touch the sides, mentally, with most problems, we can cope with the discomfort of the journey.

I come unstuck when I don’t know where the bottom is or which way is up.

My surgery was over. I have done very well and was feeling positive about prospective dates in my diary.

My phone rings on Friday evening.

The surgeon wants to see me on Monday morning.

For roughly five minutes I panic, really panic.

Then I laugh to myself.

My panic will change nothing for the better. It WILL absolutely have a bad effect on the rest of my weekend. So……I stop.

As simple as!

“Really?” some may ask, doubtfully.

“Yes, really,” I can reply.

This cancer will not rob me of one single second more of my life’s energy than I can possibly help, and I CAN help this.

So I look forward to meeting the lovely “Mr. M” on Monday morning and leave those cards until they are dealt.

I’ll be grand!!

And so, Life turns another page….

“It’s breast cancer Becky.”

I gulped, so did my friend, whilst she held my hand and assured me it would be okay.

The lovely doctor talked on, but I didn’t catch a lot of it. Her tone was gentle and comforting.

“Have you any questions Becky?”

“Yes…..am I going to die?”

“We don’t even talk about that at this stage. Honestly, it will be fine Becky.”

“Do my daughters need to get checked? Can this affect them?”

“No, they are not at any increased risk.”

That was it, I was all out of questions. I picked up all the helpful publications and nodded agreement as to what was going to happen next.

We left and went to replenish our coping mechanisms with tea and cake.

“How come I haven’t lost any weight Stella?” I asked as I snaffled down my hot, buttered scone that could feed three adults.

“I don’t think it always works like that,” she answered sagely. “How do you feel,” she asked.

Five weeks later I still feel the same. Honestly.

Grateful !

Grateful to all those women that went before me, without my luck, and allowed tests to be performed on them , with the hope of helping others like me; to all the millions of people worldwide that have helped fund amazing research into curing this disease and to the doctors, nurses and specialists who dedicate their lives to helping folk like me.

I am so grateful to you all.

There is no “Why Me?”.

Why NOT me?

But I didn’t need this to know I am blessed; blessed with incredible family and friends, who cradle me in their kindness, their love and their humor.

I’ll be grand ! xx

I Hate Grapes.

After months of putting-off, and one re-booking, I was really looking forward to my appointment with the kinesiologist (Alex) that came so highly recommended. As usual, I was going to be far too early so I stopped at a local convenience store to buy a magazine.

I didn’t have a fixed idea about what this lady was going to be able to do for me, except that I wanted to try something new, something that may help unlock certain problem areas in my life and allow me to move forward.

Well, move I did, but not forward.

I finished paying for my thick, glossy copy of Vogue and headed out of the shop…..and then it got me!  As I lay on the floor, reeling from both shock and pain, with kind people gathering round, offering many helping hands, a man stood up with something in his hand.

“There you are love. You slipped on this,” as he proffered the remains of a grape.

I hate grapes. I always have. Good for your health? I don’t bloody think so.

With voices asking for the manager to call an ambulance, I sat there wondering at the irony of it all. Here I am, attempting to shed feelings of angst, stress, fear and anger, to allow my life to progress in a positive direction and I wind up sprawled on a floor, my knee and hip throbbing, hoping I can manage to drive my car home. If there was a meter capable of measuring my stress level at that moment I think it would have exploded.

Could I possibly have sub-consciously tried to prevent myself getting to the appointment? Self-sabotage? Me?

I couldn’t accept that so, with the help of two very kind men, I hobbled out to my car and drove to see Alex.

It was everything I had hoped for. She was wonderful; kind and caring and I happily arranged for my next appointment.

But the thing is, I want this change, more than anything and not even a grape is going to stand in my way.

Cold Comfort

As I approach the counter a mixture of dread and excitement are doing battle within me. The old favourites, chocolate covered and sugar-coated, are there. I place my coffee order and hear a voice saying, “No thank you.”

It takes a second for me to realise the voice was my own. Brilliant, another small victory. Like anyone trying to break damaging habits I am learning to take it a day, and as with now, a confrontation, at a time. As I am confronted with my old problem areas I prepare for those old feelings with my newer and stronger desire to improve on where I am now.

Not exactly mantras, just healthier mental processes, run through my mind, coupled with a realisation that these calorie-laden, body and soul damaging confections are not a “warm pair of arms to comfort me”, as I have often quoted as explanation in the past. They are cold comfort, temporary solace and a ball and chain around my ankle, never letting me fly, to become all I want to be.

I am not trying to say that losing weight is going to cure all ills in my life, but just dealing with an old issue such as this has already given me courage, and repaired my somewhat shaky confidence enough, to enable me to look at other things that need work.

Stuff, whatever your stuff is, is never an answer, but it is usually easy; at least easier than dealing with all that ails us, until it becomes the most pressing issue of all.

The inanimate lump of sugar, fat and flour lies on the shelf and, for this trip at least, I win.

Where Is Our Positivity Button?

Seriously.

Yeehaa, I am dieting again. Big shock I know. But…..big shock, it is working. I mean really working.

My “positivity button” is switched to on and things are going well. I feel great.

Then, as is my way, I got to thinking. Where the hell is this bloody button? I mean, why now? What stars are in alignment that makes this work for me right now. I suppose it’s a bit like kicking a hornets’ nest, but what happened at that very moment, that very second, when I just knew, accepted and actioned something that has tortured me for so long?

Wouldn’t we all love to know why the simplest, healthiest (physically and mentally) and often the most beneficial choices, cause us so much trouble.

I understand the strength of positive mental attitude, but I would love to find and understand its spark. The why and the how.

Or is this all part of being human; the human condition?

A friend told me I have a habit of over-thinking things so, with that in mind, I am just going to enjoy this current frame of mind and get my one size smaller clothes out of storage.

Bring it on!

I Am Staggered….

As I have just read on FaceBook ( so it must be true, every last word of it!!) of a proposed “Erotic Festival” to be held at Narrow Water, Carlingford, in beautiful County Down, Northern Ireland, the ancestral home of the Hall family since 1670.

I have checked and, yes, this is an article from The Belfast Telegraph so, again, it must be true.

“The former Lord Lieutenant of county Down and one of the venue’s trustees, Sir William Hall, has voiced outrage at the prospect.

Sir William said: “Lewdness and lasciviousness will be the theme of this occasion.” (Belfast Telegraph)

Oh but you needn’t worry Sir William. Apparently organisers have said that sex acts will take place only within the privacy of a tent!! So there you go, nothing to worry about.

“John Larkin QC has said, “Sex toys will be on sale, talks will be given which may purport to be serious but the real object is the giving of sexual titillation and gratification to the participants in the festival.

“Nudity and acts of sexual intercourse will be prevalent.” (Belfast Telegraph)

I must stress that according to the article none of the Hall family are involved in organising this festival. The organisers are in fact, Bliss Ireland.

I swear to you, I am staggered!!

I feel like I have gone off into an alternative dimension. I am no prude, by any stretch of the imagination, but I would never have imagined any such event taking place in this country, and certainly not in my lifetime. I’m starting to get a picture of thousands of people turning up for a look-see, but all in disguise!

This would be a very good time to own a fancy-dress shop.

But on a more serious note, the people of this area of our beautiful country have had to live with the constant association to a huge terrorist attack in 1979.

Now they have to get used to being associated with hosting the country’s first “Erotic” Festival and an industry that perpetuates the subjugation of women.

Oh lucky them!