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Friday, 26 June 2009

Race For Life - 21 June 2009

I walked the course at Bournemouth in the morning and it was a lovely experience. My sister-in-law couldn't do it as my neice had been throwing up all night, but two friends from work (Sue and Nicki) did it with me and a friend I have known since I was 2 or 3 years old (Maria), which is a while ago now - no I won't say how long ago.

I did the Race last year as well, and at that time I didn't think I would be around to do the next one, but I am already planning my third. My team are known as the Patches Posse; Patches being a bear I made in a bear making shop in Southampton for my birthday in 2008. Nicki had gone round at work and got people to give some money for a birthday present for me as I was at home recovering from having my hip replacement. Sue thought a bear would be the perfect thing, knowing that I am a bear of very little brain type myself. She took me in to make the bear and I had to think up a name for her when I registered her birth, and as she has patches on her the name Patches seemed to be just right. She has her own trainers and outfits, and has a bit of a passion for shoes. She is very lucky there because all the shoes in the shop fit her perfectly, whereas with size 9 - 10 feet I have the opposite problem!

It is great that I can do these things and to have good company as well, what more can you ask for? The weather was perfect as well, not too hot or windy. It is good to have goals to work towards and despite my prognosis I don't see why I should give up on that.

I need to get around to planning what I am going to do this summer. The great thing about working in a college (administration) is that I am only contracted to work during term time. I will probably do some temp work for Sue, but as it is possibly going to be a good summer I want to get out and about a bit more - last summer was a bit of a wash out really.

There is a walk over on the Isle of Wight that I did with my mother on a couple of occasions, which I would like to do again. I also ought to do more walking out on the Forest. It is amazing how much I take the New Forest for granted having lived here all my life. When we used to go to visit a school friend of my mother's in Somerset we used to stop on the way, and on one occasion my parents had to stop my brother and I from climbing into a field. We really didn't have any concept that you couldn't go wherever you like in most places. We were used to just going out on to the Forest and not having to worry about it being private property. I very rarely go down to the sea either, and I live in a town right on the coast!

I must remember to get out some of the walking books that I have, as I would like to go to the Cotswolds this summer and do some walks there. My mother came from there and it is an area that I feel very drawn to, as though I belong there. The main problem with getting round to doing these things is that I am on my own and have noone to go with. It makes me rather reluctant to go out and do things as I am always the only one going so there is no excitement of planning it with anyone.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

I was just on Cancer Chat (Cancer Research UK) and a lady posted a message about how angry she was at the moment, and felt ugly, fat and tired all the time, while her ex-husband has a new lady and looks great. This was my response:

And why shouldn't you feel angry? You have every right, but I know what it is like to be stuck in angry mode when you are really a nice person, it happens to me periodically especially if I get frustrated about something. That said, if those around you can't accept your mood at present then that is more their problem than yours. But try not to let it last too long! Can your hospital or GP refer you to a counsellor, or do you know someone else in your position that you can talk to? Forums like this are very good for venting your anger on (within limits, of course!) as we are in the same position as you. With the best will in the world no one can really understand what it is like to have cancer until it happens to them. You don't say if you have early stage breast cancer, or mets.

I know it sounds like a contradiction but try taking some exercise - it really can make you feel better and gives you more energy. You don't have to do anything over the top, but with the summer coming and the long evenings try taking a walk. It takes effort to do it but if you don't try it you will never know if it will help. I have mets in my bones and had to have a total hip replacement as a result, and I am over weight and not a fitness freak by any means, but in my situation it is either curl up and die, or go out there and make the best of it. Walking helps to strengthen my bones, and at one time I even wondered if I could be able to walk without at least a stick ever again. I'm doing the Race For Life at Bournemouth in two weeks, for the second time. Maybe some exercise will help you to pound out your anger as well, but by walking rather than snapping at people. How about beating up a Teddy Bear? They are very forgiving, and are designed to give love and support in any way possible (but strictly no ripping bits off!).

Do you do paid work? If not, how about volunteering in a charity shop, or some other organisation just to get you into some sort of a more positive groove. I volunteer at the local Museum, something I have been meaning to do for years, and then recently I actually thought of it when I was walking by, so I went in and just did it. I 'work' in the shop and am also helping to prepare an exhibition. I have had problems with depression for many years and have low self-esteem etc, but now - to hell with it. If others think I'm not good enough, that IS their problem. My motto at the moment is Life for the moment, not for the future. I have given up worrying about the future, especially as they don't give me any hope for having much of a future, and in many ways that has been very liberating.

It sounds rather as though you need some quality ME time. Does your local hospital do a "Look Good, Feel Better" session that you could book to go on? It is an afternoon with professional make-up advisors, organised by a charity to do what it says on the tin, and you are given a bag full of beauty products with top brand names, and it is free. I'm not really into make-up and gave most of the products to others but it was nice to spend some time with other women who are also going through cancer treatment. Try http://www.lookgoodfeelbetter.co.uk/site/index.cfm to find out more. They do a confidence kit which you can order for £2.50 to cover postage.

Also try Breast Cancer Haven, http://www.breastcancerhaven.org.uk/ . I have not actually been to one but I have just ordered their Haven at Home pack, which is free. They have centres in London, Hereford and Leeds. I am interested in trying a day at the London Haven. Their approach is very similar to that of the Penny Brohn Cancer Centre in Bristol where I have been for a Taste of Bristol day. Penny Brohn http://www.pennybrohncancercare.org also does a free Started pack which includes a CD with relaxation techniques. I knew about the Bristol approach before I had cancer because of a friend who had stomach cancer 5 years ago. Their Taste of Bristol day in now free, and with a three course lunch included in the non-price! If you live nearby these places are worth a try, or at least check out the web sites and see if they have things that can help you.

Relaxation, imagery and meditation really can help you deal with your situation, and the ME time I mentioned could be as simple as using the Penny Brohn CD relaxation technique every day so you can focus on you, and helping yourself to heal. It is important not to forget yourself and your needs, and not put everyone else before you. Your sons sound as though they are old enough to be a bit more independent and not rely on mum to cook clean and scrub for them - they need to learn how to do that for themselves, and if they do take on more responsibility they will be helping you, and freeing up your time for that ME time that is so important.
I hope some of this is of help to you, by the way, great name ((((hugs)))) Vicki!