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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Dear Tes

I havent written to you for a while on here.

I saw this sculpture that was shared with me online by a friend … it initially took my breath away…. I’ve never seen anything that conveys what it’s like to lose you with so much honesty, passion and painful truth.

I look at it and it’s how I feel in a mirror image. A strong exterior.. but with a huge hole of grief right in the middle that spreads into every other part.

Recently I feel it most when I’m walking on my own. In the woods. I feel the leaves crunch under my trainers. I look at the height of the trees where a branch occasionally cracks under the weight of a hidden squirrel or a busy crow. I’ve learnt to fill my mind. It helps. But this is usually the quietest part of my day where I can’t always dull the ache in my stomach anymore.

I miss you and yet those words seem so weak and pathetic because of course I do. We all do.

I dont know why sometimes for days and maybe like now for weeks the cloud hovers. It’s not pelting down large rain drops or particularly black. It’s just above my heart making it harder to find anything really interesting or worth bothering with. It’d be so easy to get under the duvet and stay there but I don’t. I have always feared what would happen if i did. I wouldn’t. I couldn’t.

I was asked this week how I’d coped after losing you. I answered in a rather convoluted way because there’s no quick answer. As usual I feel guilty as i speak. For just being able to say that I found a way.

I finish the question by saying I never wanted to survive your loss by just.. surviving. There’s little point in that. I’m living. It’s bloody hard at times but I’m living. There’ll never be a day that I wish you weren’t living it with me too.

Love you Tes. In my thoughts and my heart. Every second.

Mum x

Love to you all too this Sunday x

(Sculpture – Melancholy, Albert Gyorgy, Geneva)

Your way

When my cousin got married on Friday she had planned (or maybe not planned ..) it entirely around the day she and her husband to be wanted. We didn’t get a postal invite, there was a Facebook group set up! There was only 30 seats in the tiny exquisite beautiful room bathed in blue sky and warm sunshine. There wasn’t an usher in sight or a wedding booklet. No singing or long speeches. No seating plans. No formal sides to sit on. No dress code. No cars with fancy ribbon. No veil. No colour scheme. No walking down the aisle. No standing around for endless photographs. No formality.

I hear later that my cousin walked to the shop without her shoes to get herself a bacon bap an hour before her do, that she played football on the beach with her kids and that when her sister got there to do her hair with ten minutes to go it was still wet!!! Still, she turned up looking absolutely stunning.

The Facebook group did say “you may have to watch us get married through the window” which I thought was a joke!! I had the honour of doing just that with our Grandad who couldn’t manage the steps inside. He probably said the funniest thing of the day when after driving an hour to get to the venue and then another half an hr managing the steep steps down to the building … during the ceremony he said to me.. louder than perhaps he realised… “I don’t know why they didn’t just get married in the Blue Lion!!”

The ceremony itself was beautifully simple. No child had to be on best behaviour and we giggled and laughed along with my cousin as she tongue-twisted around the complex Welsh words which after 15 minutes did pronounce them man and wife.

There was no photographer but a friend with a camera, my cousins eleven year old daughter also took some amazing photos as she caught pictures of the guests relaxed and unaware. Friends and strangers mingled with flutes of champagne in the garden and the bouquet was thrown and caught by the bride’s twenty year old niece, so cute!

As the day went on the wine flowed, the kids searched for insects and played hide & seek. Aunties danced in the garden along with the bare footed bride, the cake was cut, cousins gathered around the pub tables laughing out loud loving this rare time we have together, kisses and hugs were abound as we all became not just tipsy on the sauvignon but tipsy with love at this beautiful, unpredictable, informal, pretty wedding.

So, congratulations you two for doing it just the way you wanted.

I think we should all take a leaf out of their book.

Life is for making your own rules and doing it …your way!

Happy Sunday x x x

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

Assumptions 

I should have known better!

I saw her walking towards me.  We don’t know each other that well but we say hello and sometimes exchange a few words about the weather.  That morning the wind made my cheeks burn a little but the sun also made a strong appearance meaning I could leave my hat at home for a change.

As she approached she made no eye contact. Like I wasn’t there. We passed each other and she barely saw me. She was gone again.  Weird, I thought.  Rude, I thought. Then of course I wondered what I could have possibly done to her. Because it had to be that.  Despite hardly knowing her.  I must’ve done something. 

It was two days later when I found out her mum is really poorly. 

We’re always learning things aren’t we and that was a reminder to me that sometimes I need to remember to simply ask, are you OK? Not walk on and chat to myself about how this is obviously my fault. Not helpful to anyone!

We make assumptions all the time. Sometimes we need to dig a little deeper and the next time a colleague is in a mood or that child next door is being ‘naughty’ or a friend is being distant.  We need to be brave and think what’s going on for them and if the chance comes up, ask. Are you OK?

Hope you’re all OK this morning and if you’re not that’s OK too xx

Dwys x

What’s the rush?

On Friday I got up at 6am and yet still somehow only scraped myself with seconds to spare for my 8.45am meeting. A few things happened – I lost my Bourjois blusher, a real disaster. I saw the line up for Festival No. 6 on Instagram and noticed KATE TEMPEST is going to be there which distracted me. I then couldn’t find the nail clippers. Plus there was my hair. This week I had decided to go au natural. I imagine it’ll dry into light glossy bouncy curls.  Despite spending an imaginary lottery win of money on non frizzy miraculous promising products, I still wake up as if I have been through a spin dryer.

Then there are my two favourite four legged friends Lolly and Lula. Neither like the car and today they were coming to work.  Lolly decided to make herself the weight of a boulder and refused to get off the bed as I made my exit and Lula ran 3/4 mile up the road. I ended up shouting at them and they then gave me those puppy dog eyes then I nearly cried because I felt mean…. and it was only 7.15am!!!!!

So, my point is we’re all in a rush most of the time for various reasons.  As I drive through the next village at 20mph I notice in the mirror a large vehicle almost on top of my poor Fiat 500. I can’t see the number plate. The driver is clearly frustrated with me for sticking to the speed limit. There are various reasons why I stick to the speed limit – firstly when you live basically an hour from a major supermarket and H&M you really don’t want to be losing your licence, secondly there are always kids around this particular road, thirdly it’s busy because of a large factory near by, fourthly my cousin was knocked over in this village many years ago and that sticks with me.

So the man in the big four wheel drive continues to try to edge me along, to go faster.  As we leave the 20mph area and it increases to a whopping 30mph he overtakes me. Of course at the next set of traffic lights I catch him up.

I’m no angel in the car and have been known and probably will still get cross at times and forget my speed occasionally. After I lost Tes though I became a much calmer driver, I guess big events make you see the smaller things in life like getting to the next set of lights a few seconds before isn’t that important.

I keep trying to learn from what I see and as I saw this agitated angry man desperate for me to go faster it reinforced my want to rush less and experience more.

Happy *unrushed* Sunday!!

Dwys X

Yes, I can!

It’s strange how life can be full of little coincidences.

 I was thinking this week about something mum used to say.  I believe it comes about for those of us that perhaps ‘achieved’ a bit  later in life.  Like my mum, I left school with barely any exams passed (I could sew a great skirt and jacket though!!) and later on went back to do A-levels, a degree etc.  There’s something about doing things that way around that can leave you feeling like…..a bit of a fraud.

 

Mum said to me when she was in one job that she thought one day she’d be ‘found out’.  What do you mean?  I said!  Well – that they might find out that I actually can’t do my job, she said.  I found this really bizarre.  Mum was amazing at her job. Brilliant in fact.  Yet she doubted herself.

 

Then weirdly this week I was listening to the radio and they played a theme tune, I tried hard to remember it, I knew it was something to do with animals! They confirmed it was Peter Davidson from All Creatures Great & Small!! Bizarrely as he was talking about his life (somehow I’d zoned into radio 2 this day!!) he was saying as an actor he always thought he’d be ‘found out’.  Despite being an actor for 40 years he was still waiting to be ‘found out’……That he wasn’t good enough.

 

I wondered whether perhaps a lot of us feel like that?  And why?

 

I always try to learn from those around me and I’ve tried hard not to feel like a fraud and have confidence in my work but there’s one or two areas that I do this.  Lately I’ve noticed that I’m always putting myself down about my running!  Even now I want to type… I’m not a good runner. 

I wouldn’t run with anyone for years because I thought I’d be too rubbish.  Consequently because I didn’t like running on my own I didn’t run for years.  Even now I’ll ask if anyone wants to come running with me but I’ll always say ‘I’m very slow so no need to wait for me’.  Or I’ll tell them I’m a bit old for running really or that I’m hopeless because I don’t run as much as I should or that I don’t run very far etc etc etc!!!  At the Llyn Alwen race a couple of weeks ago I was busily muttering to myself about all of this and I suddenly said – why do I keep putting myself down about this?!!  A woman shouted at me from behind and told me off – you’re here she said.  You’re doing it, you’re out of bed and you’re here.  That’s nothing to put yourself down about, she said.

 

And she’s right!

 

So from now on I’ll be making a conscious effort to stop telling myself and everyone else that I’m not that good at something.  It’s hard because being Welsh and being British we’re so used to being a little self damaging aren’t we! I’m a bit rubbish at that, I’m not good at this….. I’m not sure I’m going to start shouting how good I am at everything but I might just tell myself that I’m not doing a bad job… hang on let me try that again….. that I’m doing a good job in getting my trainers on in the first place, that my body isn’t too bad (argh done it again) – that my body is doing a great job as I’m here fit and healthy and basically….. I need  to be a lot less self critical!

 Do you put yourself down? 

Perhaps it’s about time you stopped!

Have confidence in the fabulous person you are!!

Happy happy Sunday everyone X