T*ts up

I’m not good at asking for help.  It makes me feel vulnerable.  So if I ask for something it’ll mean I’m pretty desperate. I don’t know where it came from or why I find asking for help so difficult, I am fiercely independent, to my detriment at times.

I decided to write about this ‘event’ this week because of the sheer importance of it. Boobs. More precisely, boob checking!

It was about six weeks ago when I first felt a lump, I thought it’d go, I’ve had them before. I kind of forgot about it until someone told me about a radio DJ that was dying from breast cancer, same age as me.

So I made an appointment. I had an urgent referral to the breast clinic which was the Thursday just gone. I didn’t mention it really but I didn’t hide it either, work knew, some friends knew, it didn’t feel like a big deal.

I’ve tried to work out why I refused any support or why I didn’t ask for any support to attend the appointment.

I think actually that I am a victim of my own ‘mindfulness’. Something that I have practised for the best part of 3 years, living in the moment, not worrying about the future, concentrate on now, don’t stress about what you have no control over.

I’m fine I said, It’ll be fine, I’m fine to go on my own.

The nurse calls me in and cops a feel. Normally when I have had cysts before they are fairly reassuring straight away, she made some noises that it ‘could’ be a cyst but she seemed to be investigating for a long time. We need to send you for an ultrasound and a mammogram, we may need to do a biopsy, she said. I stayed in the hospital gown. There is something extremely vulnerable about hospital gowns isn’t there? I go to a tiny room with six other women who look absolutely terrified. The statistics tell us that one of us isn’t going to get good news today. Nobody really talks, most of us look at our phones.

I’m really beginning to wish that someone was with me, I have only just realised that in the next thirty minutes my life could change, I could be told I have cancer and I am here, on my own.

Stupid.

The mammogram was done, I must be lucky, it’s my third and I don’t find them to be painful at all, though there’s nothing flattering about being semi naked having your arms up and your boobs squished into the shape of toast into what looks like two vertical petri dishes while the young glamorous nurse takes pictures of you while instructing you to ‘put your chin up’.

I then go back to the small room and what seems like a VERY long time I get called in for an ultrasound. When I have had these before it’s always been a nurse but she calls in a ‘doctor’. I am immediately alarmed. Doctor?! Hi, he says and introduces himself, I take no notice of his name, I’m wondering why he is here. A doctor!! This is huge he says, this cyst is a big one. A cyst, I say. A cyst? Does that mean I’m ok? Oh yes he says but it’s a big one! While I am engaging my brain to become relieved I’m not going to die yet he asks the nurse to ‘pass the syringe’ over and as she does he says ‘not that one – the bigger one with the large needle’…. Erm, what are you doing?? I say! Just taking the fluid out he says. Is it going to hurt? Not really, he says. I lay there as a needle is put into my boob and into the cyst and 30ml of liquid appears in the syringe. It didn’t hurt, much.

I get up and thank the staff for their amazing empathetic and professional care, I go off to work promising myself that I am going to look after my body so much better from here on in (btw 21 days off the booze!) whilst also reminding myself it’s ok to ask for help sometimes, it’s ok to ask for support, I don’t need to do everything on my own.

Our NHS are bloody brilliant aren’t they, we are so lucky, it’s not perfect and it’s so under funded but when the resources are there its amazing.

I do have one gripe though, during my appointment the nurse kept referring to ‘women nearly 50’ and ‘menopause’.   I have no idea who they are referring to!!

Anyway you females out there, check your boobs please!!!

Happy Sunday xx

 

daisy

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Love wins! 

It’s been a bit of an odd week. Some disappointments. Some adjustments. Still no closer to knowing when my house is ready. Still no bed! The result was a tiny weep with mum as we drank an Americano at the park.

An arm around my shoulder from mum made it better. Then throughout the week I indulged in that love around me to pull myself out of feeling a bit sorry for myself.

The most thoughtful present from two young colleagues in work, a belated birthday present of a crafted work of my family. Made me cry again though! A family visit to watch my nephew play football. His proud face looking towards us after scoring a goal. A friend’s husband who ferries her over one evening so we can catch up over sauvignon  (and the friend of course!). An apology that makes it all ok again. Watching the ladies tennis final cuddled up on the sofa while the rain drizzled. Meeting the older nephew after school and devouring his freshly made chocolate brownies. Then having an early tea with him and my son at the local Italian.  A dash around the charity shop and finding a chunky mirror that I just ‘need.

 
So despite the low mood and the tears that started the week off there was so much else in it to make it good. It’s amazing writing it all down because sometimes you don’t see it all when things seem dark.

Love wins!

Happy Sunday everyone xxx

Speak up! 

I’ve never really been one to be quiet. As a toddler I’d be organising who sat where at an imaginary tea party and as a teenager I’d  march up to anyone who dared to be horrible to my little brother. Teachers included. Mouthy some may have said. Protective and learnt  survival tactics l say.

 
When I took my A levels at 23 and the English literature lecturer asked if anyone would like to read a part… my hand was always first up. The young ones looked at me mostly with amusement and that look of ‘teachers pet’ as I got into the swings and throes of Pride and Prejudice.

This week I’ve noticed that lots of people think but don’t vocalise their thoughts. I was at a  meeting where the majority of the room felt it wasn’t productive (ie a complete waste of time) but everyone got up and said thanks. 

And left. 

Saying nothing. 

I said something. I couldn’t bare to see the waste of resources and time and not say anything. I had several emails and conversations with other attendees who were livid, angry, despondent.

Yet they said nothing.

Why is it so hard for so many to put their hand up, to ask a question, to give their opinion. Why do we sit quietly even if we  know the answer? Why don’t we risk asking a question even when it’s really important to us?

I think a lot of people are scared, lack confidence or are too self critical to speak up.

Frightened to get the answer wrong.

Silent.

Isn’t that worse than not saying anything at all?

Happy Sunday everyone xx

Backwards and forwards.  

During a very nice, relaxing Spa day with a beautiful friend on Friday I did a couple of things I haven’t done in ages. I READ at least half a magazine and I had a back massage!! Bliss! I love Psychologies magazine. Expensive but every page is worthy of your time and I get inspired to get on and do at least one thing after I’ve read it.


One article this week made me think about how we are often focussed on what we haven’t done and on what we should be doing next.  We don’t stop sometimes and think about all of our accomplishments big or small. I often berate myself for the bigger things like not yet having written *that* book to the smaller things like why I haven’t I replanted that hyacinth yet!  Or I’ll be giving myself a hard time for not running even though I’ve walked 4 miles that day.

So thank you to the magazine I’ve been able to concentrate on some things that I’ve accomplished rather than concentrate on everything I haven’t done. I’m not going to list them all because it feels a bit self indulgent but what I do feel proud of is still being able to smile and laugh and love. I drove to work so happy this week and met a colleague where I instantly of course start telling her how guilty I feel for being happy.  Slap yourself around the head right now was her helpful advice!! Then she hugged me.  One of my biggest accomplishments is finding and living a happy life after losing Tes despite the forever pain. And going forward I look forward to getting some of those things I haven’t done yet but I will really try stop berating myself for sometimes watching two episodes of Game of Thrones  rather than painting the front of my house!

It’s great to have ambition and goals but we also need to remember what we’ve done to get where we are now.

Happy Sunday x Dwys x 

What’s your role?

​I drove to work this week listening to the radio as usual, there was a woman speaking about role models, she said everyone girl should have a role model.  It made me think about the importance of influencing each other and also I have to say I feel that boys need as much as ever to have positive role models particularly when we look around at the males currently dominating our media.

 

What is a role model?

 

Are you one?

 

Am I one?? I thought to myself. 

 

Taking on the position of a role model isn’t an easy task. If people look up to or admire someone that role model has to constantly be on their best behavior don’t they.  Look at David Beckham this week… a few emails with a few expletives (I have to be honest I haven’t seeked out the full story) – he seems to have gone from an untouchable unquestionable respectable man to one now viewed with suspicion and mistrust.  He’s not allowed to be human.  


Role models are not allowed faults – which to be frank is absolutely ridiculous.

 

A role model to me is someone real, with imperfections and weaknesses but who also is striving to be the best person they can at that moment.  A role model is someone who wants to encourage other people, who resists jealous and envy, someone who generally see’s the best in someone and wants that someone to succeed.  A role model tries to be kind and compassionate not just to who they know but who they don’t know either.  A role model treats children with love and devotion and know that animals are an extension of the human race to be cared for and cherished.  A role model is a decent and good friend, withholds malicious judgement and is inclusive.  A role model is someone wanting to do all those things while accepting that all those things aren’t always possible, but keeps  trying.

 

I don’t find myself wanting to be like anyone else.  For me that breeds jealousy but I do know that I am drawn to people I view as positive role models, from Mrs Thomas my kind primary school teacher to a friend who put a pair of trainers on for the first time, to a woman who despite enormous loss found a way to happiness, the group who stands up despite adversity for what they believe in and especially the encouragers in life where resentment doesn’t exist.

 

I think we can all be role models and by acknowledging yourself as a role model it gives you some responsibility because there’s no choice –  we do all influence everyone around us.  It may sound nonsensical but if you’re a role model anyway, isn’t it worth trying to be the best one you can be?

 

Lots of love and a happy Sunday x  x

Choose life!

I got to see Trainspotting 2 this week. It’s totally different to the first but just as powerful. I just wanted to talk about it for ages afterwards and mull over the characters and the way their lives had evolved. It particularly resonated with me because the characters are now my age. I’ve grown up with them! 

20 years.  It’s a long time and yet seems a short time. In my 20 years I haven’t ended up in prison or taken a concoction of drugs like my trainspotting friends!! It has made me think about what has gone on though. Two beautiful children, new jobs, loss, house moves, relationships, divorce, pets, coming out, holidays,  break ups, love, graduation, furry friends, learning to run, rows and making up, self acceptance, old friends and new ones… …. twenty years. 20 years!  What will the next 20 bring? I hope for calm and fulfilling, exciting and relaxed, healthy and beautiful.  I imagine it will be again nothing as I expected because although we try our best to have some control over our future we don’t.  

We can try to control some of it.. how healthy we are, how we make an impact today, how we approach life today.. but tomorrow will bring what it wants and that has made me think about trying to stop worrying about what I’ve got absolutely no control over. Most of us worry about things we can do nothing about and it’s probably time to stop!! 

To help me be a bit more thankful for what I’ve got right now and stop worrying about the inevitable unknown of tomorrow I’ve downloaded the app gratitude garden. It encourages you to write down three good things from today. It keeps them all so if you’re ever feeling a bit negative you can go back and remind yourself about the good stuff too!  

It’s worth a go! Anything to help with those irrelevant and unhelpful anxieties.  Concentrate on what we can change and not on what we can’t.  
Happy  (non worrying) Sunday 
Lots of love xx 

I want. I need.

As I did a quick dash around the local supermarket last week I encountered two  mums with two children in different aisles.  The little ones were demanding sweets and the other a magazine. I want this magazine said the young girl with her brown hair tied up, looking longingly. No. Shouted mum.  I need this said the two year old blonde boy pointing to some purposefully brightly coloured  packets of sweets. Mum tells him loudly that  he’s stressing her out.  He starts to cry.  Both mums look so fed up and really tired.  I caught second mums eye and gave her a smile while making a joke that it’d be bed time soon. She looked grateful that she wasn’t being judged for her short fuse. 

I continued with my mad dash picking up some reduced rocket and thought about that wanting.  I want this.  I need this. We see it all the time.  And we’re also doing it all the time aren’t we?  We’re doing exactly what we did as kids but on a far greater scale.  We want. We demand. We want a new car. We need new clothes. With this we’re working all hours to pay for the new house, the extension, that holiday we need because….. .. we’re working so hard!

We’re designed to want. When I looked at the two kids and worse when I looked at the two stressed out women I thought.  Enough. Something has to give. Why are we doing this to ourselves? Working ourself so hard just to get what we’ve been told we supposedly need. But how do we stop? 

I’m not sure! It’s a hard habit to give up… being constantly on the go and having a life that revolves around want. It’s almost addictive.  And then there’s guilt for daring to do nothing.  Doing nothing is actually really good for us you know? It lets your mind wander, imagine and rest. 

I’m hopeless at it. More than ever the last few years I’ve busied myself.   So. I’m going to make a few changes… beginning with going to a yoga class because I don’t see myself having enough steel or determination to have an hour and a half away from life without some help! 

It’s a start. Not sure I can change drastically from wanting but I’m going to try to be less about what I want and concentrate more on what I have!

Lots of love,
Happy Sunday xx