Thursday, 5 October 2017

We've been busy - honestly!!

Well, it seems ages since I last wrote here - and looking at the date of the last post, it is indeed a long time since I last posted.
But, I've not been sitting around doing nothing; far from it infact.

I've just finished working my socks off during September as it was womb cancer awareness month and Womb Cancer Support UK has now finished it's 7th annual awareness campaign.

As always it's been hard work trying to raise awareness on social media; it has its good points but it can sometimes be very hard to break through and be heard above everything else that is going on.

Trying to get people to share FB posts or tweets can be very hard work, especially when you are doing something like this on your own. Putting the hours in can be tiring to say the least.

Aside from all the awareness raising, I have also been doing more craftwork. Trying to find the time to indulge my creative side has been hard over recent years as the womb cancer support & awareness work has increased but this year I have been determined to make some more time for myself.

I've been able to make and donate a lot of handmade items to various good causes and am looking forward to sending off another parcel of goodies soon.

I am also doing a couple of craft fairs here on the island in the run up to Christmas to raise funds for our local dialysis unit campaign. As always all money raised goes to the good causes concerned.

We are into October already, have no idea where this year has gone. Don't think we've had anything resembling a Summer here; just hoping we don't have a bad winter!!

Will post again (hopefully) before I do the Christmas Fairs and show you what I've been making but if you can't wait until then why not pop over to my FB page and have a look there.

Until next time.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

8 years!!!!!

8 years ago today I was admitted as an emergency to hospital over on the mainland. I had been very unwell for several months but was too scared to go see a doctor. In the end, the doctor came to me as I was close to dying and my hubby called them out.
Sitting in the corridor of the hospital A&E dept. on a Bank Holiday Monday I was cold and alone. I had never been in hospital before and knew that they would be keeping me in for some time.
After about 8 hours I was finally seen by someone and after routine tests, blood pressure etc. I was taken up to the ward.

The following morning after a sleepless night, I was told that I was severely anaemic and had I left it another 24 hours I would have died because of lack of oxygen getting to my brain.
In the end, I was kept in hospital for 2 weeks. I was on IV diuretics for several days and had 6 blood transfusions.
I had ballooned up due to water retention - it seems that being that anaemic alters your body chemistry and you retain fluid to make up for the lack of oxygen rich blood. In the 2 weeks I was in hospital I lost 45kg in weight and by a week after coming out of hospital I had lost a total of 61kg in all. My GP called it a full body trauma!!

The reason for the severe anaemia was over 35 years of extremely heavy bleeding. My periods had never been "normal" ever since they started at 10 1/2 years of age. I would bleed for weeks at a time and then stop. The weeks eventually became months.   
I put up with it all because I was scared that if I went to the doctors they would tell me there was something seriously wrong - like cancer!
Six months later, whilst being investigated for fibroids (which I was told was the cause of the heavy bleeding) I was diagnosed with womb cancer - and the rest, as they say, is history!

Knowing what I know now, and believe me I am amazed at how much I have learnt about this issue, I am amazed that no one in the hospital ever considered the fact that I might have cancer. I didn't know it at the time, but unusual or unexplained bleeding is the most common symptoms of womb cancer. No one, the Consultant, the various ward doctors etc. ever mentioned it. I was having blood taken (ironic since they were pumping it into me as fast as they could and it felt like they were taking out just as much for various tests!!!) and they were testing me for underactive thyroid, overactive thyroid, diabetes, heart issues, kidney issues, liver issues - everything gave back ok. I asked them to test my hormone levels on several occasions but they didn't deem it important enough to do!!
Had they done so, I am convinced that the cancer would have been picked up but they didn't.

So, 8 years on here I am. I no longer have cancer (I think, I've never actually been given the all clear - but that's another story!!)
I am living with the long term side effects of the treatment I had - hysterectomy, chemotherapy and external radiotherapy.
My quality of life is virtually zero and I often sit and think maybe I should have not bothered calling out the doctor all those years ago.

Kaz 😊

Monday, 27 March 2017

Making my own womb!!

Well The Womb Project has got off to a good start. The website is now up and running and I've also got a twitter account set up to help me connect with other organisations.

I've also been busy making some wombs as part of the project.

My first attempt was very basic but I'm quite pleased with it.

You can check out the other ones over on the website or the FB page.

If you are interested in helping to raise awareness of gynaecological health issues then please join in. We want to raise awareness of everything gynaecological related - from gynaecological cancers, fibroids, endometriosis, to FGM, period poverty and menstruation taboos.

Look forward to seeing you.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

The Womb Project

I have always been concerned about environmental and animal rights issues – I remember joining Greenpeace as teenager to help save the whales. I am also against discrimination of any sort and will stand up against human rights abuses and injustices of any kind.

Since being diagnosed with womb cancer just over 7 years ago and starting Womb Cancer Support UK almost 6 years ago I have become immersed in raising awareness of womb cancer and recently that has branched out to include various related gynaecological health issues like menopause issues, menstruation taboos, FGM, etc.

I see it as all being inter-related and therefore I think it’s important to try and raise as much awareness of all these issues as possible.

I came up with an idea one night, whilst trying to get to sleep, and the following morning The Womb Project began.

The idea is based loosely on The Uterus Flag Project that I came across a couple of years ago.

I want to use creative arts to raise awareness of the many gynaecological issues that are faced by women around the world.

The womb is what makes us women – it is the centre of who we are. It is where we come from and where future generations will come from.  In cultures around the world the womb is seen as sacred and is believed to have spiritual energy.

The Womb Project is still in its very early days and I’ll be totally honest with you that I have no real idea where it will go or even if anyone will join with me in raising awareness.

The initial idea is for women (and men if they want to be part of the project) to create a womb using any creative mode they feel drawn too. Knit or crochet a womb; carve one from wood; sculpt one in ceramics or make one out of papier mache; paint one; draw one – whatever media you want to use.

Many women have been affected by gynaecological health issues – endometriosis, fibroids, PCOS, gynae cancers, infertility, miscarriage etc so I want them to also share their story. Send in images of their womb as it is being created that will be shared initially on the FB page and then on a website that I will be setting up. Then when their womb is complete I will share images along with their story.

I believe with all my heart that we as women need to talk about these things. We need to share our stories and help empower each other. Together we are stronger and through The Womb Project I want to bring women together from around the world to talk to each other .

A big idea?  Yes it is and maybe it won’t work and no-one will participate but at least I will have tried to do something to highlight what is happening.

I have come across some wonderful organisations in recent months who are doing great work in raising awareness of women’s health issues and empowering women around the world. I would like to draw as many of them   together in one place and highlight the amazing work that is happening.

I shall be using the FB page (and later the website) to showcase these organisations and their work and hope that some of them will be part of The Womb Project too.

Please be part of TheWomb Project and help raise awareness. Join us on our FB page and get creative.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

February is Cholangiocarcinoma month.

Its that time of year again - February is cholangiocarcinoma month. Not sure what it is let alone how to say it?

Don't worry, you are not alone. Before 1st November 2013 I had no idea what it was and it took me a couple of weeks to learn how to say it.

It's actually bile duct cancer, a type of liver cancer. Quite rare with around 2,000 people diagnosed each year. sadly many are diagnosed at a late stage as its quite a difficult cancer to diagnose and can often be confused with other illnesses.

Cholangiocarcinoma is pronounced "kol-an-gee-oh-car-sin-oh-ma". and before 1st Nov.'13 I had never heard of it. That was the day that my Mom was diagnosed with it. She was stage 4 by then and although she was given 4-6 months she actually died 5 weeks later.
I turned to the internet as many of us do and found AMMF who are the UK's only cholangiocarcinoma charity. They were, and still are, a great source of support for me and helped me understand a lot more about this rare cancer.

Since then I have been fundraising for them by making and selling my handmade jewellery; raised over £1300.00 so far  and now I make and donate the items direct to AMMF and they pass the items on to others who are holding fundraising events for them.

Please pop over to the AMMF website and help raise awareness of this awful cancer. There is very little research or knowledge about it but AMMF are doing all they can to change that.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.

Kaz xx

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Goodbye to 2016

So another year ends. For many of us it has not been a good year, for some of us it’s been another bad year. Here’s hoping that maybe just maybe, 2017 might be a better year.

Personally, I doubt it very much. My health is not improving despite it being over 7 years since I was diagnosed and it looks unlikely that it ever will. Learning to “live with it” as my GP suggested is proving very hard!

Around the world there is so much despair and grief – wars that are destroying the lives of innocent people; climate and environmental issues that are pushing our planet beyond the point of no return.

Everywhere you look there are people fighting each other – if not with guns then with words.

There is so much intolerance and hatred in this world – much of it fuelled by politicians who only seek to further their own cause and care nothing for others around them.

The voices of good people often get drowned out but now, more than ever, those of us that care must keep shouting, louder and louder.  We must make our voices heard.

We have seen at Standing Rock that when people come together, good things happen. There is more in this world that unites us than what divides us.

So I wish you all a happy, healthy and peaceful  2017 and hope that you will join with me in making our world a better place for everyone who lives on it.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Angry! You bet I am.

I am angry.  Angry about a lot of things.  Angry about things that I feel powerless to change.   Angry that other people don’t feel as passionate about things that they should be angry about and are instead more concerned about which so called celebrity is dancing or eating  grubs on tv.

I could put my anger down to being menopausal but I know it’s not that. I’ve been angry for a long time quite simply because I care.

I cared about whales back in the 70’s when I joined Greenpeace and I cared about the Amazon Rainforest when I joined Friends of the Earth.

I care about so many things – there is so much injustice and cruelty in this world that I can’t help but care. Sadly it would seem that not enough people care otherwise these things wouldn’t be happening, right?

Sometimes the anger boils over into frustration. What can I do to change things? How can I make it stop? Why don’t other people care as much as I do?

Children and women seem to bear the brunt of all the bad stuff happening in the world whether it be in Syria, Aleppo,  Yemen, the refugee camps in Calais or austerity Britain.. The most vunerable people are the ones who suffer the most because they are the ones least able to escape or change things. That makes me angry.

We live in a society that demonises people who are different – whether that be a different religion, different sexuality, different colour skin. That makes me angry.

We turn the other cheek and ignore all the bad things that are happening in the world because it doesn’t affect us as individuals. That makes me angry.

It is coming up to Christmas – a season supposedly of goodwill to all. Yet we’ve just had Black Friday where people have been literally killing each other in order to buy stuff that they don’t need just because it was on sale. In the next 4 weeks people will be spending money that they don’t have on stuff they don’t need – and come 25th December they will be over-indulging on the food and drink and that makes me especially angry when there are people living in places without access to clean water and children in many parts of the world are going hungry.

The over consumption of goods and food is very often the driving force behind a lot of what is wrong in the world these days. We live in a materialistic society where the bigger the tv, or car or the newest mobile phone or ipad you have the better person you are; at least that’s what the advertisers make you believe. In reality, if you fall for it all, it just shows how shallow you are and how little you care about anyone else or the world around you.

If you don’t care about what is happening in the world then you are part of the problem.  That makes me very angry.

I will continue to be angry because by being angry I can hopefully be part of the solution. I will continue to care and I will continue to highlight all that is bad and wrong in this world.