Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Peach Postcard Update

In the last blog post I told you about the Peach Postcard Project that I have launched to help raise awareness of womb cancer.

Well, there have been some lovely postcards arriving and you can see them here on the Womb Cancer Support UK website http://wombcancersupportuk.weebly.com/peach-postcard-project.html

The project is open until he end of July so, if you have not yet submitted your postcard then please do so. We really do need to raise as much awareness of this cancer as possible.
It's the 4th most common cancer in women in UK yet there is very little awareness and no national awareness campaign.

Please share the link around and invite all your friends - I want to make this a global event as cancer doesn't respect boundaries and affects everyone.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

The Peach Postcard Project

As some of you may know I was diagnosed with womb cancer right at the end of 2009 and had a hysterectomy, followed by chemotherapy and then radiotherapy.

Womb cancer is the 4th most common cancer in women in UK yet there is very little awareness of it; I had never heard of it and neither had many of the women who come to Womb Cancer Support UK (WCSUK) which is the national support organisation I started in April 2011.
There is no national awareness campaign and apparently no plans for one either so its left to patients and survivors to do what we can to raise awareness.

WCSUK has done a lot of work over the past 4 years, not only supporting women who have been diagnosed but also in trying to raise awareness.

At the beginning of May this year I launched The Peach Postcard Project  It aims to use art and social media to raise awareness.

So far there have been 18 postcards submitted and the word is getting around about the project. Yesterday I sent a link to a lovely blog post talking about the project so hopefully there will soon be some more postcards arriving in the post.

Please join the project and help raise awareness of this cancer. According to CRUK almost 9,000 women each year in UK are diagnosed with womb cancer, that works out at 26 women each day. Women who are Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, Wives, Aunts and Grandmothers.

Friday, 29 May 2015

City life is not for me!

Recently had a couple of days on the mainland in Glasgow. Thought it would be nice to have a wee break so we decided to book a room in a hotel in the city centre for a couple of days.
Now as some of you will know my health isn't too good so we rarely go off island these days; just too much to manage but I figured we could do with a break so we went for it.

By the time we had got the bus into town, waited for the ferry and then crossed to the mainland, struggled up from the ferry terminal to the railway station to wait for the train (which was departing from the far end of the station due to station redevelopments) I was shattered!! Didn't help that there were no seats to sit on whilst we waited!!

Anyway, things went from bad to worse. The hotel room was cramped - not good for anyone with limited mobility. We couldn't change room as they were fully booked. The hotel was right beside the main railway station (Glasgow Central) and our room overlooked the main road and every time a bus went past, which approx. every 30 seconds, the whole room vibrated.
After we had checked in we went for a short walk around.

Reality check time - what did people do before I-pods and mobile phones??
So many people charging around, not looking where they are going, staring into tiny machines that seem to control their lives!

Crossing roads, walking into and out of shops, no one talking to anyone else apart from those of them who are talking so loudly into their mobile phone that everyone can hear them - apart from those who have their I-pad earphones plugged into their ears!!!!

Maybe living on this wee island for the past 13 years has meant that I've become accustomed to the slower way of life - things move very slowly here at times but it just seemed like people were charging about like the white rabbit from Alice In Wonderland - you could almost hearing them screaming "I'm late, I'm late!"

Sadly the weather turned wet and windy and the forecast for the day of our return didn't look to good and as the ferries are prone be called off at the slightest gust of wind we made the decision to come home a day early.

To be honest, I think it will be a long time before I go back there. To busy; too much traffic;  too noisy and full of people rushing about who don't even have the time to say excuse me or sorry when they barge into you when they were the ones who were charging about staring at their mobile phone!!

Much prefer the slower pace of life here on the island; where you can get on the bus and the driver knows your name; you can walk around town and stop and chat to people you know and where you can go into a proper cafe and get a decent cup of real coffee.

Yes, you can keep your city life and the hustle and bustle - its the quiet life for me!

Monday, 18 May 2015

Play Time!!

Decided to have a go with the juicer today so found a couple of large carrots and peeled and chopped them up and then put them through the juicer.

Have to say the amount of juice that I ended up with was about 1 tbs -which proves my point about juicing being a very expensive habit. I would have needed about a kilo of carrots to get a glass full of juice!!

So I was left with a pile of carrot mush! Didn't want to throw it away so transferred it to the smoothie maker and added an apple, some melon and some orange juice!

Tasted nice but just have to hope that it doesn't go through me too quickly!!!!!  Ho hum!!!

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Hit a brick wall!

Hello, been a few weeks since I've posted and to be honest I've not been feeling that great.
The black dog has been hanging around again and its been hard to motivate myself to do anything other than my womb cancer support stuff. That has to be my priority so when things get a bit tough that's what I concentrate on.

My health has also not been too good recently. The sleepless nights are making the fatigue really bad and that is making the cognitive stuff harder as well. Sometimes I can barely remember what day of the week it is!
The juicing and smoothie making has had to take a back seat as well as my bowels have been out of sorts and I can't risk making things worse.
So all in all, its not been much fun around here for a few weeks.

I've been doing a bit of research in natural treatments for scalp psoriasis, which I developed about 18 months ago. Its gotten really bad over the past 6 months and I think a lot of it is driven by stress. It kicked off just after Mom died at the end of 2013 and has got continuously worse since then.

I don't want to use conventional medication or treatments so am currently using coconut oil and tea tree oil. I melt the coconut oil (put some in a small glass jar and then stand it in a jug of hot water to melt it) and then add drops of tea tree oil. Let cool and then rub into my scalp. Thankfully I don't have it anywhere else apart from a small patch on my face at the side of my nose. I'm hoping that it doesn't spread.

Found a couple of really interesting websites - one especially interesting one was http://www.knowthecause.com/ which is about fungal infection and the link with many autoimmune issues - of which one of them is psoriasis! Going to be checking out some of the Youtube videos on that.

Am going to make an effort to get back to the smoothies and juicing and hopefully it won't affect my bowels too much!!!

If you want to follow my juicing/smoothie journey then check out my FB page here

See you soon!

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Taking things slowly!

Been a bit quiet of the smoothie from over the past few days as my bowels have been playing up a bit.
It's a result of my radiotherapy treatment for the womb cancer - might have been almost 5 year ago but sadly I seem to be one of the unlucky ones that have been left with long term side effects.
Usually manifests itself as sudden bouts of diarrhea that I get the day after going out of the house. I rarely go out these days (for this and other reasons!) but when I do it takes so much out of me that my body seems to throw a strop and I get payback, good and proper!!!
So the thought of drinking smoothies wasn't something I was willing to do so I stuck to my usual salads and cooked veggies for a couple of days.
Often, well meaning people suggest eating some thing stodgy to counteract the diarrhea but that just sends me the other way and I get very constipated and then I have problems with the epi gastic hernia that I've got - the one they won't operate on of because of the bowel adhesions from the radiotherapy!!
Now you can see why I have been taking this juice and smoothie thing slowly - I can't afford to make my situation worse by doing the full monty and drinking then every day. In fact I can't afford it literally!! The expense would be enormous!! Its already added about £5 to my food bill a week and I can't afford that on a long term basis so smoothie making is going to have to be restricted to maybe every other day or something like that.
Mind you, I discovered that the MagicBullet is great for making homemade hummus!!

Friday, 27 March 2015

Juice Fest

Well, I've been playing around with the Magic Bullet for a few days now and I'm quite getting the hang of making juices and smoothies.

Sadly I am a bit limited on what fruit and veg I can use; we live on an island off the west coast of Scotland and the range and quality in our local supermarket is not very good. There is a new TescoExpress opening next month and I am hoping that they will have some better quality stuff in there.

I did a couple of juices but found that you get very little out for the amount of veg you out in so have decided to stick with smoothies for now as at least you are getting 100% of whatever you out in there.

So here are some pics of my healthy creations.

Pear, celery, cucumber and spinach juice
Banana, date and almond milk smoothie

Banana and mango smoothie

Cucumber, spinach and kiwi fruit smoothie

Banana, pineapple and mango smoothie

Kiwi and banana smoothie

Doing another shop on Tuesday and hoping to get some grapes and some kale to add to the selection of fruit and veg.

Sadly it will only be 1 smoothie a day for me as its proving to be an expensive habit. However, at least its getting loads of vitamins and nutrients inside me and they taste nice aswell.  

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Happy Birthday Mom

Today is not a good day.
It would have been Moms Birthday today but sadly she is no longer here.
She died on 5th Dec 2013 as a result of Cholangiocarcinoma.

Never heard of it? No, neither had any of the family until Mom was diagnosed with it just 5 weeks before she died.
Took me about a week to be able to pronounce it!!

It's actually bile duct cancer - a rare and aggressive type of liver cancer and sadly by the time most patients are diagnosed with it, its too late to do much.
Which is what happened with Mom.

There is very little known about this type of cancer and there is only one UK based charity - they are called AMMF http://www.ammf.org.uk/

As I said, today would have been Moms Birthday - she would have been 79 today. It's a hard time for the family, especially as it comes so close to Mother's Day.

In an effort to try and turn something negative into something positive I am running an online auction via Facebook to try and raise some funds for AMMF.

You can see the lovely items that are available to be bid on here https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153021907458394.1073741837.78739178393&type=3
Please pop over and have a look and maybe consider bidding. It is for a very good cause.

I'll let you know how much is raised in the next blog post. xx

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Let the juicing commence!!

Well, I have taken the first step in trying to improve my health. I've bought a juicer.
Well, its not a proper juicer, can't afford one of those heavy duty fancy things, and besides I didn't want to splash out loads of money and then find that I didn't like the juice.

So, I've bought one of those magic bullet things. Still £70 which is a lot of money for me but at least it will give me a chance to try it out.

Did a shop yesterday and got loads of fresh fruit and veg - I eat a mainly raw food vegetarian diet anyway but bought extra stuff so I could have a play and experiment with different combinations.

Have just made my first juice - used 2 carrots, an apple and about third of a cucumber. Bit disappointed with the amount of juice I got so I can see that this is going to be an expensive project.
However the resulting juice was nicer than I expected so not too disappointed!!

Going to keep a recipe book of all the combinations I try and see which I like best. Also going to need to keep a costing on them because I can see me spending a fortune (that we don't have) on fruit and veg.
Living on an island means that my choice of where to shop is limited. We only have 1 supermarket, a small Co-op and the quality and range in there is poor. Therefore my choice of juices is also going to be limited.

But never mind, at least I've taken the first step. Have to say that I don't think Hubby will be joining me in my juicing experience. He's just turned his nose up when I offered him a taste of my first concoction claiming he wasn't hungry!!

Right, off to see what else I can juice!!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Small steps!

Been thinking about getting a juicer for ages now but with money being tight I didn't want to splash out too much money on a fancy machine and then find that I didn't like drinking the juice.
Plus I have a feeling that they may well make my bowel problems worse so.

Anyway, finally took the plunge and splashed out nearly £70 on something called a Magic Bullet. It arrived this morning and have just opened the box and washed all the pieces and read the instruction and recipe book.

Just one problem - have got no fruit or veg in the fridge to give it a try. Shopping day is usually Tuesday but had to wait in for the parcel so tomorrow we'll be heading off into town to see what fruit and veg we can pick up from the local supermarket.

Living on a small island we have a very restricted choice of shops so its going to be a bit hit and miss as to what we can get and the quality isn't always very good and don't get me started on the lack of organic food available!!

However, hopefully tomorrow we shall be able to give the machine a run and see what we can come up with.

I already eat a 75% raw food vegetarian diet and we eat very little processed food so hopefully adding in juices won't be too much of a change although as I said I am slightly worried about the effect it will have on my bowels. The radiotherapy has left me with long term bowel problems and although not as bad as they were, they can still have a serious effect on my day to day life, especially if I get stressed out or drastically change what I eat.

Am now searching around for simple and tasty juice and smoothie recipes. I have a feeling that the food budget is about to rise so we have to restrict the juices/smoothies to one a day.

If anyone has any favourite's then please let me know.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Non-Mothers Day!

Well, if you are in UK then you can't have escaped the fact that today is Mothers Day. People all over the country are giving flowers and gifts to their Moms and those that are Moms are receiving them with open arms.

But please spare a thought for the many women for whom today is a day of tears and broken hearts; women who are not Moms, women who can never be Moms and women who were Moms but only for a brief moment in time and not forgetting the women who have lost their own Moms.

Today is a day that some of us would rather not exist because it re opens wounds every year and reminds us what we have lost. Sometimes it is very hard to explain to others.

How can you describe to someone what it feels like to have that aching yearning in your heart for a child that you can never have?
How you can explain what it feels like to mourn the child that you carried but lost before you had the chance to hold it in your arms?
How can you make people understand that although you are grateful that the treatment for your cancer saved your life, you hate the fact that it robbed you of your fertility and the chance to have a child of your own?

Please also spare a thought for those of us that no longer have our own Moms with us. Those of us that have no one to send a card or a bunch of flowers to. No one to say "Thank You" to, for all the things they did for us and taught us. Those of us still deep in grief for the Moms we have recently lost or those who will never get over the grief of loosing that special person.

If you are one of the women I have mentioned above then I am sending love to you today in the hope that you will know that you are not alone. I know your pain because I know exactly what it feels like. xxxx

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I'm having a bad day - again. Seem to be having a lot of bad days lately.
Combination of the dark, dreary days and the upcoming of what would have been Moms 79th Birthday on 21st March. It's been just over 15 months since she died and it's still a raw emotion.

I can feel the dark cloud descending over me like a heavy blanket.
I used to get these feelings years ago but never knew what it was but since being diagnosed with cancer and subsequently diagnosed with clinical depression I now have a name for these feelings!

I now know all about the "black dog" - he comes to visit on a regular basis. But rather than let him in to take over my life I make him sit in the corner and ignore him. I am in control here. I can't stop him coming, not yet; but I can have him here on my terms.

Another issue that has been getting me down is my health. At almost 5 years since my treatment ended I had hoped that I would be back to normal - (whatever that means) and be out doing all the things I used to do before cancer struck.
Things like walks along the beach; going camping; walking around the island.

It's hard accepting that its not going to happen. Even walking downstairs to get the bus is hard work - hence why I don't go out much.

Trying to adjust to a new "normal" is hard and its made even harder when chronic fatigue is added into the mix. People telling me that I just need a good nights sleep is not helping either - hence one of the reasons why I don't go out much.

Having to listen to people telling me that they got over their cancer and resumed a normal life within 3 months is not going to make me feel any better; neither is people telling me that I just need to get some exercise or to loose some weight!!

It's not about feeling sorry for myself or expecting others to feel sorry for me - sympathy I can do without. A little understanding wouldn't go amiss now and again but that seems to be asking for too much from some people.

Things need to change and only I can change them. Its going to be a hard task but its something I have to do. I survived cancer but for that to mean anything there has to be a reason for surviving it.

I just need to find one.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Good intentions and all that!!!

I had decided at the beginning of the year to make a concerted effort to restart regular posts here but as usual, lots of other things got in the way.
However, I am determined to give it another go.
It is now the end of the first week in March and the weather is still miserable here on west coast of Scotland. However, we've been lucky as usual in that Bute hasn't had anywhere near as much bad weather as the rest of the country.

As some of you may know if you've been following my albeit somewhat erratic blog posts, I was diagnosed with womb cancer at the end of Dec 2009. I don't class myself as "in remission" yet - that will be on 12th July when I finished my treatment.

Sadly, my health has failed to improve since I finished treatment (surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy) and I've been left with chronic long term side effects. I've spent the last 4.5 years hoping that things would get better but have now had to admit to myself that they won't. Even my GP has told me that my health is the best it's going to get so I just have top accept it.

Accepting that I can no longer go camping or walking around this lovely wee island that I now call home has been hard. I have long term health issues that mean walking to the bus stop is hard so I rarely go out of the house these days. Its become easier to stay indoors rather than struggle to go down stairs and go out into town. (We live in a first floor flat!)

Added to my physical health problems have been the emotional problems that I have been trying to deal with since Mom died in Dec 2013. Her death came suddenly; she was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer) just 5 weeks before she died and myself and my brother and sister have found it very hard to deal with.

It's Mothers Day next Sunday - the second one without her. Then the following week it's her Birthday - she would have been 79 this year.

She will always be missed. Love you Mom.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Winter has arrived!

After what has been a very mild end to 2014, the weather has turned decidedly wintery up here on west coast of Scotland and we've had out first snow fall of the winter.

This was the view out of our window yesterday morning when I opened the curtains.

Ok, I know it doesn't look like much but we don't get very much snow at all here on Isle of Bute as we are right at the end of the Gulf stream. What we do get a lot of is high winds, especially south westerlies and that's when the ferries go off.

So over the past few days we've had strong winds, hailstorms, rains and snow. Such a difference to Christmas day when it was lovely and sunny and we sat on the bench down on the shore for an hour.

So for now we wrap up warm and keep the wind up torch close to hand incase the power goes off.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Doing something just for you!

At this time of year, people all over the world are making New Year resolutions, many of which will never be kept beyond the first week in January.

Things like eating healthy or cutting down on the alcohol or getting more exercise are always high on the list of promises we make to ourselves as the clock ticks closer to midnight on 31st December every year.

Why is it that we choose this time of year to decide to make changes?
Why not the middle of April or the last day of September?

When was the last time you decided to do something for you? Something that wasn't planned, just done on the spur of the moment.
Something that bought joy to you; lifted your spirits; made you feel happy?

Most of us live such hum drum lives that we often forget about the little things that can make us smile.

The smell of freshly baked bread; a few flowers picked from the garden; listening to the birds singing; watching the stars in the night sky.

When was the last time you did something that made you smile?
Make time in your life on a regular basis for something that brings you joy and happiness.