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

Standing still

When’s the last time you stood still for more than 30 seconds?

When’s the last time you stood still for more than 30 seconds outside?

And closed your eyes and let the sun glow through your skin and feel the warmth on your cheeks?

Not often I’d bet.

We are much more relaxed and have been normalised by being slave to our morning alarm, rushing breakfast, getting to work with seconds to go, having half conversations with people because we’re too busy, shouting at drivers who get in our way. It’s far easier to throw down a sandwich and rush a text when a call would be so much nicer. We do three things at once and live to work rather than the other way around.

We’re sleeping less due to the stress and then feeling impatient while doing more the next day. There’s no wonder most of us are exhausted. Rushing around is a far easier state of mind than taking a moment for yourself. A real moment. Not one with the phone or tv.

I tried it this week. It was 6pm and I was at the end of my normal 12hr shift of dogs work drive family food dogs kind of day ….and as I walked along the path towards the field bathed in sunshine I realised I didn’t know how I’d got there. I couldn’t remember the walk. So when I got to the field. I stopped. The dogs looked at me funny. I looked to make sure nobody could see me! Then I stopped. I turned towards the orange rays and closed my eyes and stood still. I felt momentarily silly however this was replaced quite soon with a feeling of calm and serenity. I stood there for about a minute. Eyes shut. Just taking it in. The warmth, the peacefulness, the quiet, the me!

When you take a moment to be still and you find it difficult it’s surely telling us something. To take more moments?

Happy Sunday xxx

Confessions.  

Do you ever say you’re going to do something and you don’t?  Do you ever have good intentions and when the time actually comes you just can’t be bothered?  This was me this week when it came to Yoga.  And I felt so bad because I had written it in my blog!!!! The first thing I said was – I have to go, I’ve written in my blog that I’m going!!!

 

This was in fact the second week that I said I was starting back at Yoga and didn’t make it.  The first week I was too tired.  The second week, I was ….. err….. too tired again!!!!!  The reason I’m too tired is because I’m not giving myself enough time to sleep so I barely scrape through the 6am start to the finishing line.  So the thought of then donning on some lycra and carrying my yoga mat to a community centre three miles down the road versus a lovely large glass of Sauvignon with First Dates hotel (you don’t watch it?! You must!!) and a packet of Prawn Cocktail crisps wins. Every time. 

 

I get so annoyed with myself when I say I’m going to do something and I don’t as it’s something I rarely do.  The talking to I give myself in the middle of the night when I feel the crisps on my hips and my over active mind that really could’ve done with being Omnified by the yoga instructor is even more annoying.  I often give myself a hard time – about so many things and I just can’t get out of that habit, I think I know why I do it, it’s just a matter of stopping!

 

Feel like I’m waffling a bit….

 

Anyway so I guess it’s a Sunday and if you’re religious in any way (I’m not) you could take this as my confession that I said I was going to do something and I didn’t.  I’d apologise but I’m sure you are a forgiving bunch and anyway I’ve berated myself enough for it already.  One of the main things i’ve learnt is I need to be a little bit more forgiving of myself!!  We’re so hard on ourselves at times aren’t we.

 

So…. TOMORROW I’m going to Yoga ok!!!!   And if I don’t go I (almost) promise not to be hard on myself (as I write that I know that’s not going to happen… but I’ll try). We could all try being a bit kinder and sympathetic to ourselves sometimes couldn’t we!

Happy Sunday xx 

Dwys x 

Sleeping with the trees

I love trees. Aren’t they amazing? They’ve been around for hundreds of years, they look so intelligent and worldly wide. Trusting. They’re particularly beautiful at the moment. Leaves of tangerine orange and tanned brown, some a sunshine yellow. I stood under this pictured tree on Saturday and watched the leaves occasionally fall delicately, dancing to their soft landing.

I take so much more notice of things than I used to. I couldn’t imagine saying I loved trees as a ‘cool’ silk cut smoking teenager!  It’s crazy how long it takes sometimes to appreciate those things that are out there. For free! 

I use my love of the outdoors in perhaps an unusual way when I feel anxious, particularly if it happens during the night. Since Tes I’ve struggled to sleep much more than five hours, usually no more than about 3 without waking fully. Fortunately I’ve never needed a lot of sleep (Tes was the same actually), so I’ve spent many a night annoyed that I can’t sleep. Many a night berating myself that I’ve eaten too late or drank too much wine. I’ve spent many an hour wondering did I send that email at work or have I got enough staff in? Sometimes I just notice my heart rate and that’s it. The more I notice the louder it gets. Once I’ve been through all that, it’s ages before my mind can become quiet enough to consider sleep.

So. This is where nature comes in. I’ve started my own little meditation mind map. It takes some of the principles of mindfulness but instead of concentrating on what’s going on now (that heart rate!) I picture myself going on my favourite walk with Lolly. I break it down to the tiniest of detail. To putting on her collar and noticing her coarse chocolate brown fur and her mismatched paws, her dark inquisitive eyes. Then I focus on my steps along the track taking notice of all the familiar spots like the heron normally standing proud down the side of the bank and the broken branches crushed into the moist grass under my feet. I hear the river swell and there’s always a breeze sweeping through my hair. I rarely get half way around my imaginary walk. Why? I fall asleep! 

I thought I’d share this because lots of people suffer from sleepless nights and it’s worked for me so who knows imagining your favourite place might work for you. Or it could be used as a simple self guided meditation. If you can’t get to the beach why not imagine it instead! It’s good for our overactive minds to have a break!

Thanks for reading, have a lovely Sunday and hopefully a peaceful night too 

Dwys X X 

A piece of peace.

International Peace day happened this week on the  21st September.

Hmph I thought.  Not much peace in my life at the moment.  Waking up at 5.30am unable to go back to sleep mulling over various solutions to current life problems. Cancelling dinner plans because of having to work late.  Not running because I couldn’t be bothered and I’d rather a glass of wine due to all of this paragraph.  A proper self indulgent poor me moment.  

I sat down to write this blog and I thought what does  peace mean to me?  I often think peace for an individual is about solitude & time for yourself.  Sometimes I worry I’m not getting enough peace! Now adays you’re almost looked at as some kind of odd bod if you spend much time alone.  Buddhism encourages times of solitude (I’m not a Buddhist by the way but I do enjoy much of their strategies on life – as an aside I did go to one meeting with someone I shall not name many many years ago, during one mantra I turned to said friend and said ‘does it sound like they’re singing I want a chicken korma to you’.  Our fits of giggles were pure nerves at the time but it didn’t go down that well, understandably!)

 As I was saying Buddhism encourages solitude because if you are ease with yourself then there is nothing to fear from being alone I guess. A great place to be.

I am digressing rather a lot in this blog – as I said I thought about this word peace and what it means to me.  

I did eventually get my a*** out of bed early Wednesday morning and ran (slowly) 7k with my pooch.  Despite being out of breath I felt happy inside.  On Wednesday at lunch time my mum called over and a favourite song of hers came on the radio.  She turned it up loud (so that’s where I get it from!) and we both danced in the kitchen until the end.  The pooch joined in.  My son did not.  That moment of getting away from it all just for those few minutes gave me a free mind.  I immersed myself in a film at the cinema one night, as I chewed on my cola bottles and crunched at the pop corn and laughed out loud, my mind was feeling very stress free. Peacful. 

 I think my point is that peace can come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.  Yes it can be solitude, it can be time on top of a mountain, it can be yoga or meditating but all that is not always possible in our busy lives.  

How do you find peace?

Peace for me is when I’m at ease with myself whatever the situation, dancing, laughing, walking etc etc. Anything that gives my brain a change of scene to one free of worry whether that’s a  few minutes or a couple of hours. 

It’s so important to give your mind a break from the daily grind. As the saying goes.. dance like nobody’s watching.  It feels great! 

 Happy peacful Sunday everyone xxx

 Ps  I’ll be panting my way running 11.5KM around Llyn Alwen from 9.30am!!! Wish me luck! X


The best things in life are….

free….. as the saying goes and there’s another…..money can’t buy you happiness.

I read an interview with an elderly woman the other day about how she had led a positive and happy life, she said it was important to remember the things that make us happy don’t generally cost money.

Like everyone else – money does indeed buy me happiness when the H&M catalogue has just landed through my door and I see those red shoes that I NEED!!!!  However…. it got me thinking about what we can do for free that makes us feel good about ourselves.

This is what I came up with this week as I took notice of those things that happened to me that make me feel happy and healthy but cost nothing….

Drinking water, lots of it

Saying hello and thank you

Walking miles in the mountains

Hugs

Picking blackberries

Running with friends at dusk

Lying down and watching the clouds

Telling the people you love that you …. love them

Kisses (with mutually agreed participants of course!)

Spending proper time with friends/family (putting your phone down!)

Getting up close to animals – dogs/cows/hedgehogs whatever….

Meditating.. when I remember to do this even for a few minutes a day I feel much less stressed

Looking.  Really looking at that beautiful view

Letting your mind wander  (harder than it sounds!)

Paddling in rivers on hot sticky days

Have you got any more?

You may think I’m over egging it but so many of us are skint and living to, or beyond our means….we think if we could only have that we’d be happy……..but there really is so much out there already, for free, making today a better today.

It comes from within and the only cost is a little imagination.

Happy Sunday everyone

X lots of love X

Dwys x 

 

free

 

Happy (almost) International Happiness day

                                              daff 

 Did you know it’s International Happiness day on the 20th March? Well it is and I’ve taken it as an excuse to look at what’s made me happy lately. After the dark days of a few weeks ago it’s been good to face a literally brighter world. The grass is actually greener, the rare bits of blue sky are bluer and even the frost seems to glisten more. 

 It really is in the mind how you feel but sometimes your mind can take over and that has to be ok. I watched a fab Ruby Wax TED talk today (if you don’t know TED talks, google now – lots and lots of inspirational videos on there). As you probably know Ruby Wax was diagnosed with clinical depression over ten years ago, she simplifies our stress and anxiety with the fact that when we were cavewomen (ok she did say man but hey) – you literally did fight or flight…. or you were eaten by a really big hairy animal. Nowadays most of us choose not to fight so when that car cuts you up or your colleague makes a sneering comment, we no longer pick up our spear (it’s tempting) …. that’s where she says we stumble as we’re left with the fight and seemingly nowhere for it to go.

But there are places for it to go and that’s what we can do to keep healthy and happy, we exercise, we run, we meditate, we box, we play football, we do quizzes, we ride bikes or horses or quad bikes (yes mum I’m thinking of you there!). We tap dance, we act, we swim and we walk. We exercise our bodies and we also need to exercise our minds, to keep happy. 

 I was thinking as I drove home about what makes us happy. I saw a home made banner waving gently in the breeze on the corner welcoming someone home and that made me smile, someone had made that banner and wanted that person to know they were loved and had been missed! It struck me in a world where we are faced with frankly miserable terrible news via the media, hour after hour, we can miss what makes us happy. 

 So this is what made me happy this last week – if you want to, add yours to the comments either on my blog or on my facebook page for International Happiness day! Here go mine…. 

 1. a rabbit in a field – it’s soppy but it was cute and caught my eye as I drove past (hope it was ok!)

 2. some daffodils growing near Tes’s bench, a poignant place but it reminds me of the day friends gathered together to make it look pretty and I love the stunning view of the mischievous river 

 3. my own very seedlings – I am the worlds worst gardener with the most enthusiasm and this year I really will remember to feed them and water them and thin them out and plant them into bigger pots, I will, I will, I will! 

 4. home made broccoli and blue cheese soup, I was feeling all germy on Monday and this made me feel so much better (basically it’s onion, celery, garlic, broccoli and blue cheese – you can add cream oh and I get Tescos value blue cheese which is ace for soup and makes a cheap but yummy dish) 

 5. while home and being poorly I finally managed to watch Julia and Julie which is completely crazy as it came out in 2009 and Ive been wanting to see it since then – if you haven’t seen it, WATCH it (I’m definitely thinking of you here Mrs Lowe!) 

 6. Saturday, Wales and the rugby. Need I say more! 

 7. Mothers day, as tough as it was, after my sobbing as I chatted with Tes and drew hearts on the raindrops of her gravestone, I returned to a frankly fabulous afternoon with my nearest and dearest. My love of cheese meant that almost every sandwich was a version of cheese… cheese, cheese and chutney, brie and cranberry and a few ham ones thrown in for the carnivores, oh …. and of course there was cheese and pineapple. Swilled down with some gorgeous Pinot Grigio from my son and a Mothers day quiz hosted by yours truly (great way to find out your sister in laws most embarrassing story – splinter in the bum story anyone?) – all turned out well

 8. A card through the post, not just a card but with two little gifts and it’s not even my birthday! And another gift in work hanging on my door which said – if life gives you lemons then drink tequila… on that note I fear I’ve bombarded you enough with happy stories so may I wish you a fabulous International Day of Happiness. x