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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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

Meant to be

Up until 2pm on Saturday nothing had really grabbed my attention in terms of what I might write about this week for my blog.

I’m feeling a bit better than I did last week but it’s been a slow improvement this time away from ‘the fog’.

I did though pick up my new ‘toy’ which is my Orange Crush mountain bike last Sunday. I’m not one for fads but I had to admit to myself that buying a fancy new mountain bike after having only been mountain biking seriously once was a bit extreme but I know in my bones I’m going to get use out of it.

I was quite nervous getting on it! I know they say ‘it’s like riding a bike’ but if you haven’t ridden a bike for a while it’s well – like riding a bike when you haven’t ridden one for years!! Wobbly!

I bought some cycling trousers from Aldi and kept trying to move the padded bit to the side when I then discovered there were two padded bits, one for each cheek!!! I put my new pink and black helmet (matched my jacket!) on and off we we went towards the canal on what was luckily a beautiful autumnal warm gorgeous day.

I do love getting to know a different part of where I live. Having lived in this area all my life I had never taken the whole path down to the aqueduct via the canal. It was absolutely stunning. We had to stop at one point to take in the view and that says something living in Wales! A blue and cream canal boat bobbed at the side of a bench where someone had planted roses all around it, the bench looked over a vast panoramic skyline, slightly hazy but with strong emerald and rusty colours of trees swinging quietly in the wind. Below the trees, the river Dee was quite spectacular due to the recent rain and with beautiful force went on its journey as far as the eye could see.

We continued onwards, passing a few people and a few dogs, but not many. We were heading towards a cafe that we’d discovered, it was actually a cafe inside a boat and as I cycled I mulled over, what would it be? Almond slice or a scone with cream and jam!

We eventually got to the cafe, the October sun by now was pressing down on our skin and when we stopped I had to loosen my jacket to cool down. We queued and I finally decided on the scone, I wasn’t disappointed.

We’d stopped next to an elderly woman and her dog. I am addicted to dogs. I can’t pass a dog without comment or a pat on their head. We asked if the woman minded us sitting next to her on the long wooden bench. No, she said.

It wasn’t long before we made friends with the beautiful golden Labrador who reminded me of a lovely dog in my life years previously. He had the most handsome face and he looked hopefully at us for a crumb of the scone but his owner rightly wasn’t keen on him developing that habit. He sat with his head on my blue and white trainers, a trick that many dogs like to do, if you move – then they’ll know it!

We got talking to the fair haired, slight woman and I noticed she had a thick gold wedding ring on her tiny hand, for some reason I knew already that she had been widowed and that this dog had come into her life because of that. In the fifteen minutes or so we spoke it transpired that after saving all their life for their future her husband had died suddenly over 3 months, before he retired and 5 months after she had retired. They had been together for 50 years. This had happened 8 years ago. Her dog was 8 years old.

As we were leaving, the woman who was now in her 70s looked at us. Really looked at us. Don’t save for the future, she said. Don’t put your money in ISAs or banks. Live your life now, she said. You really need to live your life now, she said.

I left her, feeling a little sorry – not in a patronising way – just that she had made all these plans and in the matter of months they were taken away from her. I also left her feeling that sometimes, you bump into people for a reason. I felt like I was supposed to meet her this day. I was meant to hear what she said. It was meant to be.

I hope I get to meet her again some day.

Have a lovely Sunday x

Dancing in diversity

I’ve figured out the answer to world peace!!

On Friday night I was invited out to an all women’s ‘disco’. It’s actually called the ‘shit lesbian disco’… which comes apparently from the fact a lot of the those types of events historically have ….. well… been a bit shit!

This one certainly wasn’t.

800 women filled this alternative music bar and it was magical. From the second the friendly organiser ticked our name off her list and we were offered a free shot from a woman with the happiest smile that was impossible not to respond to enthusiastically.

Making my way to the cloak room the line of women did not sit silently. We chatted easily and the woman who took my jacket sat on the floor cross legged as she labelled it for my collection later.

The staff running the bar were oozing energy. There was no frustrations at queuing just an opportunity to dance gently whilst waiting to be served.

And so to the music. Three women. Two laptops.  One music deck  (no idea if that’s the correct description!). Two of the women alternately chose a track and every time just got it so right as the crowd responded whooping as they danced. Later the tracks stopped and made way to the most amazing wordsmith who’s narrative was mesmerising and it was impossible not to listen to every letter within every word. The band then took their place debuting their new EP filling the room with rap, drums and guitars that compelled the crowd to stay and move their bodies in appreciation. The music then returned and everyone just continued. To dance.

This room was brimming with culture, diversity and more importantly love and acceptance. From the sari wearing DJ to the traditional dress of the wordsmith, to the women in heels and those in trainers. Women with make up and those without. Women in dresses and women in jeans. Black women. Muslim women. White women. Chinese women. Women with red hair and those with pink. Women holding hands and women just there for the music.

And that’s world peace in one room.

Music. Love. Acceptance. Dance.

Simple.

Happy Sunday everyone 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

Where’s me?! 

I read a few words that got me right there this week. It was simply a few words by someone that described the desperate  need of wanting  her old self back.

This time of year can sometimes magnify loss. I still love Christmas but of course I still want Tes to be in my Christmas. The Facebook annual review is doing the rounds. Mine was full of favourite pics.  They made me smile. There was none of Tes and for that reason I couldn’t post it. I was actually a little envious of some, that doesn’t happen often. 

So…. wanting your old self back when you’ve been through trauma is natural. I remember sitting with a nurse before the surgery had even opened 2 years after losing Tes and saying those exact words through tears and gulps. I want me back. I want me back. 

I didn’t want to be this person that found every day so tough.That smiled when I wanted to cry. A person that worried  about everything all of a sudden. An angry person. A person without patience.  A person who couldn’t  laugh. 

That day changed me. it was a mixture of the help I got and the fact I admitted that I wasn’t ok. I wasn’t ok. 

Did I get the old me back? You’re  changed forever after some experiences and losing a child has to be one of them.  I recognise parts of the old me but I have a layer of sadness and ‘hiraeth’ (only that Welsh word fully covers it) that I wear like an invisible coat. Every day. I can feel it.  

But…. There is also the new me. Some of it is a pain because I don’t have the same drive to please or be liked which has made me a little bit selfish. I find it hard to be around unwarranted  negativity or meanness and end up taking a big step backwards from those situations.  I strive to be happy.  I overwhelm myself with trying to do it all… but I’m also loving trying to do it all. I’ve become really  good at having some time  for me…..now and again I even go back to bed for an hour after walking the dogs because  …. I want to! It might just be an hour here and there of proper doing nothing but it’s more than I used to give myself. I’m more relaxed about work. I feel way less stressed than ever before. Of course these things may change again. The old me and the new me will probably always keep changing. 

So for those wanting the old you back….. there’s bad and good news. The old us doesn’t really exist to have back. Every day we’re a new me. With that new me we can make it what we want it to be. It may take time and even help but if you’re on that journey I’m sure  you too will eventually find the new you that makes you happy too, in a different way but nonetheless in a new way. 

Lots of love to you all xx Happy Sunday xx 

Shut up?!

I was reading an article about a woman who writes a popular blog yesterday. She talked about the fact it came with the territory that because she writes publicly she’s also abused and ridiculed on occasion. Shame isn’t it? No wonder so many people say to me they wish they could write but they feel they can’t. Of course they could. 

Everyone has something to say but the problem is … can you get over the difficulties.  Are you prepared for someone to throw a comment back at you that you wrote 6 years  ago!?  I am. But it can be difficult.  

Write about being a positive person… .. then dare to feel down for a few minutes and you may well get someone questioning you about it! I tend to respond with. .. I’m human!! Just like you!

Anyway the point is this kind of attack is designed to take our voice away. Particularly women’s voices. How many fear to voice an opinion on Facebook or Twitter or even real life because you could be ridiculed or you feel a thousand eye rolls ? How many want to write but can’t because they think they’re not good enough.  How many are worried of the reaction from others?
I say be comfortable in your skin and confident about what you have to say.


Say it. 
Write about it. 
Talk it!
Particularly women. Women need to.. not shut up!

 

If you write a blog about parenting and it’s joys it doesn’t mean you won’t feel like locking yourself in your bathroom for 4 days because you just want some peace! if you’re passionate about being healthy and then find yourself tempted by a cream horn (oo remember them – are they still going?) ….then that’s because you’re human!

I’m not sure if this makes sense but I’m more aware and have experienced the lows and fortunately the highs of writing or voicing  an opinion.  I suppose what I’m saying is I’d like to try and encourage you to have yours. 
Stand up and be proud of what you’ve got to say.  You’ll never be remembered for being quiet!!

Happy happy Sunday.  it’s lovely to be back properly xx