Friday, 5 February 2016

Adult colouring.

No that doesn't mean colouring naughty pictures you filthy animal but colouring books designed and in depth enough to engross an adults attention. 

I first got into the craze during my inpatient stay in hospital, we had the colouring crew (very cool) and we'd pass the days and evenings by colouring. On nights where my insomnia was bad I'd colour until I fell asleep. 

I currently work from 4 books; Harry Potter, The secret garden, animal kingdom and animorphhia. 

I like to use Marco Raffine pencils but have been experimenting with Fabre Castell Pitt Pens. 

Here's a couple of my completed pieces.  

Cheetah from Animorphia

 Scarecrow from The Secret Garden, 

I've found colouring helps me to be mindful to not focus on things that are causing me stress or distress and brings me to a calm place. You don't even need to spend a fortune toget started. I paid £2.50 for Animorphia on Amazon, and £17.99 for a pack of 72 pencils which may seem extreme but they were recommended and I recommend them too, they have lasted a lot of colouring hours and have lots of life left in them and the sharpen beautifully and don't break easily.  

Monday, 1 February 2016

Happy New Year

It's still okay to say that right?  I know it's been a long time since I posted but I've not been very well. 

After my last post I attended a 5 day course with Back Up, for people with spinal cord injuries.  Doing things like abseiling, zip wires, canoeing, and a truly amazing coastal push together wth learning wheelchair skills, I can totally pop am awesome wheely now, as well as get up kerbs and learning how to go up hills, zig zag style to make it easier.   It was an awesome time and I made some new friends.  

In August, I went away wth another organisation called Shine Cancer Support, camping for a few nights although I only made it one night as I had an asthma attack and ended up in A&E in Poole at 3am. 

After August I started to go downhill, my mental health was suffering, I'd been diagnosed with depression and agoraphobia earlier in the year but now it was really starting to take hold, until October when I ended up as an inpatient in the local mental health services, until discharge just before Christmas.   I also had an operation in between so had a week off although always had someone sitting with me in the hospital. 

After my inpatient discharge I started day patient services at the local day hospital in December, and I've been there every day to now.  Hopefully at my review tomorrow will let me know when I might be discharged.  

I did have a very nice time at the Back Up Ball in November, I only had limited time out so could only stay until 10 but I had great fun.  

I'm starting to feel more like myself now and know things are improving.  I just hope they continue to.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Neglected blog!

So it seems I've let my blog slip a bit. Oopsy, things got a bit chaotic, I was rather poorly this time last year with new medication and then I was diagnosed with a b12 deficiency which knocked me for six.  But I managed to attend Shine Camp last year then had my b12 deficiency duagnosed. I was also having lots of issues wth pain control and in October was referred for a place on a pain management course. I had my assessment in December and in February had a call asking if I could attend the next week for a month well I jumped at the chance, but I shall fill you in on that another day. Since then things have improved all round, I've even started my own business, I'm now an independent distributor for Forever Living and loving it. 

Monday, 26 May 2014

Sarcoma Awareness Week

You probably know I was diagnosed with Sarcoma last year

June 23rd is the start if sarcoma awareness week, the aim of the week this year is to ease awareness of symptoms wth GPs who may only ever come across one patient with sarcoma in their career.

Currently the average sarcoma is the size of a tin of beans before a patient sees a specialist compared to a grape or smaller for other cancers. 

So the golf ball project was established asking gps to refer patients to one of the sarcoma specialists if a patient has a lump the size of a golf ball. 

All you have to do is fill in the form found on the link below and take the pack to your GP. Simple really, it's free and you never know who you may help.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

No Makeup Selfies

The recent trend of the no makeup selfie on Facebook has left me feeling raw. Posting a picture of yourself with no make up on is not raising awareness of cancer. Likewise with the secretive underwear colour, or where you put your handbag, quite frankly it's all a load of crap.

None of those things help someone become more aware of the symptoms of cancer, they don't inform someone how they should check their breasts, skin, testicles or vulva. It doesn't tell them that they should be aware of pains amd swellings elsewhere in their body, or a change in the colour of the whites of their eyes or disturbances in the vision. No one likes to talk about toilet habits, but you should be so aware of what is normal for you, you need to know your body. 

Obviously, not everyone wth symptoms will have cancer, but it is far better to go speak to your GP sooner rather than later, where you can be referred on and treated sooner if it is cancer. It is well known that cancers dagnosed in the early stages have better survival rates. 

Raising awareness and support come from actions and words. The recent pancreatic cancer "I wish I had breast cancer" advert was shocking, but it highlighted the horrific 5 year survival statistics, and went on to inform people of the symptoms.

Direct those with cancer to charities, services and groups that can provide support, charities like Shine Cancer Support, that has local and virtual networks for those in their 20s,30s and 40s with cancer. Cancer is isolating, and can throw life plans into disarray, it can be hard to talk to those around you, but talking to someone of a similar age is invaluable. 

I was 27 when I was diagnosed, I had had symptoms for over two years bit ignored them as I thought my GP would tell me my pains were all down to sitting on chairs far too small at work and that I should be more aware of my posture. Even when I was having my tests for the malignancy I thought "it's ok, I'm young, it won't be cancer" the truth is, cancer does not discriminate by age, sex or race, nor is it only skin deep. It can effect anywhere in the body, literally. Mine was in the nerves. 

Around 0.35% of cancer research funding budget is spent on Sarcoma research, and when you think there are over 50 types of cancer it really is horrific to think about that so little is known about those cancers. We  need to raise more funds so that adults and children with these cancers stand a chance. Just because they are rare does not make them any less worthy of research.  

Pancreatic cancer is one of the biggest killers yet has a spend of around 1% of the research budget. 

I'm all for raising awareness and supporting  of cancers obviously, but please do it in a manner that is informative, or is helpful in the fight against cancer. A photo won't help save a life, but giving information to inform someone how to check and be aware or helping to fundraise for a specific type of  cancer might just be the difference that is needed. 

You could save a friends life by arming them with information to help them save their own life, that in my view is more important that posting a photo with no make up on. 

Use the links below for more information on different cancers.  Please let me know in the comments if I've missed something, I know I will have done. 

Saturday, 8 February 2014

New beginnings

Last weekend I was privileged enough to meet more than 20 other younger cancer patients in their 20s   30s or 40s as part of a fabulous weekend of activities.  Each of the participants has experienced a cancer diagnosis at some point as a young adult and as such were all on the same wavelength. 

One of the sessions I attended focused upon work, after 15 months off sick I am getting to a place physically and mentally where I want and can think about returning to work. I had been in a quandary for a while about what I want to do, unsure if I want to return to what I trained to do or if I want to break  off and do something different.  Cancer changes your priorities and so much about teaching just doesn't seem important to me. One of the activities in the work session was helping people in our small groups see through their question. Well, my peers suggested a pros/cons list, careers questionnaires and then trying out those suggestions. 

In the last week I have completed my pros/cons list for staying in teaching where each point was rated 1-10.  My pros for staying in teaching scored  a mere 60oints  the cons, 140 points. I will repeat in a month, but it seems pretty conclusive, teaching is no longer important to me.  I have looked online at jobs, amd I have found jobs that excite me in the ways I got excited about applying for teaching posts. 

So today we start a new beginning, I'm not Thirteen the Teacher, but I'm Thirteen, a daughter, a partner, a friend, a leader, a swimmer, a singer, a listener, a survivor.

Don't be labelled by your job, you are not your job, you are so much more than it. I feel often we are led to think success is determined by your job, by the label, doctor, nurse, teacher, solicitor. But are we really "successful" if we have achieved those positions? 

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts" Winston Churchill 

"Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome"  Booker T Washington 

Every day  leads to a new tomorrow, another opportunity to start something new, but don't wait until tomorrow to start living. 

    The celebratory I've completed my first 1km walk since surgery! 

Friday, 31 January 2014

The price isn't premier, unless you use a vending machine

Last night (Thursday) I stayed in a Premierinn. Cost me £30. Rooms are always clean,my know what you are getting yet I still feel a bit cheated.

I have a mobility disability, and therefore booked a disabled room, as they are better equipped for my needs.  I arrive at the hotel and proceed to go to my room. Right at the far end of the hotel, far away from reception, the main lift, restaurant and refuge point.  ( I cannot remember if there was a refuge point at my end of the hotel... I hope so!)  please note, not all disabled people use a wheelchair, some of us are able to walk some distance but too far puts us in a lot of pain. This was one of those occasions. 

I hate drinking water from the bathroom, I just don't think it's right, so the only option fir me is to boil the kettle and leave to cool. At 11pm, I desperately want a drink, but the kettle won't cool in time, my only option is the vending machine (right by the main lift) so off I pop... £1.50 for a bottle of water... That's more than 5% of the cost of my room! That's insane on any standards. 

My next gripe is a bit more serious,and something I did have to file an accident report form for. Connecting the twn beds is a metal bar, only it would appear this bar was only connected to one of the beds,I caught my foot on it, sending me flying and hurting my back. Not very impressed, it's lucky I was ok, as I managed to do it once in the dark, and then once packing my things away and doing the idiot check. ( making sure you have everything) 

Oh and the onsite restaurant didn't open until 6, but when you are hungry after travelling, you just have to eat. So I found the local harvester where the food was superb, and the service impeccable too. 

So, while my room was cheap, the little extras certainly were not. 

Everything might be premier, except the room prices.