Hold onto your hats, it's going to be a bumpy ride! Thank you for stopping by and joining me for a while. I've recently been juggling (as all mums do) more balls than I am comfy with, and just when I felt like a professional juggler - BAM!! I get hit with this - BREAST CANCER!! I'm hoping that writing this blog will serve as some sort of therapy for me, to get me through this 'rough patch' ahead.... if it's interesting, entertaining, thought provoking or helpful to anyone else out there then that's an added bonus. If you like what you read, please visit again or click the "join" button below, and feel free to spread the word.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

The benefits of housework...

I've been meaning to write this post since back in September, when it was announced on the radio and in many newspapers that doing housework and gardening can help protect you from developing cancer.  At the time I was undergoing radiotherapy and quite frankly felt outraged at this news!!!   My initial reaction was "how bloody ridiculous!!!"

OK, at the time I didn't actually read any of the articles claiming this, I just heard the headline and a brief overview on the radio.  Which I'm sure many others did too.   I'm 38 years old, have 2 children under 10, at the time of my diagnosis was working part-time in an office, doing the school runs (walking & driving), doing housework etc; all the usual housewifely and motherly duties - I was leading an 'active' life, yet I got breast cancer.   

I really feel that telling women they reduce their risk of getting breast cancer by doing housework and gardening is misleading and quite frankly, dangerous.  Women are likely to think well I already do those things, therefore I need do nothing more to protect myself.   Surely most women do housework and gardening?!!  OK not so much the gardening, in this house anyway, but are we really becoming a nation of slackers just sitting around?!   Not the women I know.     

Plus, if we are saying women need to be cleaning more, for those who are already rushing around like headless chickens, working AND running a home whilst raising children, this message is only adding more STRESS to their lifestyle.   Stress (although not proven) in my opinion definitely increases your chance of getting cancer.  Stress reduces your immunity, thus letting those nasty little cancer cells thrive.

My oncologist says EXERCISE, exercise is the key.    Regular exercise will reduce your risk of getting cancer (or in my case, of it recurring).    I realise that what these articles are encouraging is building exercise into your daily routine but surely it needs to be more than hoovering & dusting, or a spot of pruning and deadheading!!   Having now read one of the offending articles, they do say that exercise can be anything that leaves you slightly out of breath.  Does housework and gardening really fall into this category? I guess that depends on how fit you are.

Personally I think the strong message to women should be EXERCISE for LIFE and DE-STRESS.    Find an exercise you LOVE DOING and keep doing it, for your long term health and happiness.  Whether it be running, jogging, walking (fast), zumba, weight training, swimming, cycling, yoga, pilates or belly dancing!  whatever you do, it should be enjoyable though.    I have always kept a clean home but I haven't always kept a regular exercise regime - if I had, would I have got breast cancer?

On another note, please support the Stand Up to Cancer campaign.   Channel 4 and Cancer Research UK have joined forces to raise lots and lots of lovely money to help speed up the advances being made towards a cure for cancer.  Tomorrow will be an entertaining yet emotional, no doubt, night of TV on Channel 4.  Think of me and donate some cash!  FIND OUT MORE HERE

Sunday, 7 October 2012

No more treatment!

 I am delighted to say that I have now completed all my treatment!!  September was Radiotherapy month and now I can put it behind me.    The treatment itself wasn’t bad at all, if you don’t think about the risk of possible long term side effects.   I now have one slightly pink and tender boob, but am told I’ll be on the mend in about 2 weeks time.    The radiotherapy keeps working for 2 weeks after the treatment has stopped, so the soreness could get worse before it gets better.   I’m used to wearing my ‘comfort bra’s’ or indeed sometimes going braless – oooh racy eh?! Its about racy as I get at the moment!!

A friend of mine says I’m likely to get depressed now that the treatment is over.  Largely because I now have time to sit back and reflect on all that has happened, my survival instincts and adrenaline to get through each day of driving to the hospital and treatment are no longer required, so I can see how this might happen.    But I’m determined not to start sitting around feeling sorry for myself.   Instead I am going to sit around feeling how lucky I am!! ;)   On the first day of my 'new life' I did the ironing and watched a ‘chick flick’, without feeling guilty at all.  Yes, I have quit my office job – it wasn’t an easy decision to make.   I had a gut feeling that I didn’t want to return to it, but simply put – I felt obliged to go back, and of course the extra money is always useful, but a lot of hassle goes into earning it and then it’s gone in a flash!   My company had been so good to me during my illness, not putting pressure on me, paying me more than they are legally required to do and expressing their concern for me.  But when it came to crunch time, I just had to go with my gut and fortunately, we are in the financial situation where we can scrape by on one salary.  My DH is a very hardworking and ambitious fella.   He has done a grand job of providing for me and the kids ever since I stopped work in London 8 years ago.    Don’t get me wrong, I do not expect him to be the only bread winner forever.  But for now, while I get my strength back and whilst my children are still young (6 and 8) I’m going to enjoy having TIME for myself and for motherly duties, instead of rushing around like a blue-arsed fly in a permanent state of guilt and exhaustion.    This is one good thing that has come from my cancer journey.      

The chemo has left me with aches and pains and extra flab around my middle, so I am going to slowly but surely improve my fitness and loose some weight.  I've joined a weekly yoga class, the first one last week was really enjoyable.   I need to loose a stone, so I’m going to do “speed walking” (I don’t do running) and Zumba – which is perfect for sweating whilst having a laugh.

Having a laugh – that’s high on my things to do list too!  This year has been so full of stress, fear and pain that I cannot take any more and it’s time to change.   It’s all a state of mind you know.   I’m rather into complimentary therapies and during my trips to the hospital last month I took advantage of some free therapy sessions in the cancer support centre.   I had a free Indian Head Massage, which was AMAZING and very relaxing, and a free Hypnotherapy session which was a rather strange experience but interesting too.  I also had 2 BodyTalk sessions.  This is a tricky one to describe, so click here if you want to know more.  But basically I left with a feeling of lightness and brightness, mentally speaking.   The lady also taught me a technique to use at home, which involves deep breathing, placing hands in certain positions on my head and tapping on my forehead and chest - which sounds rather bizarre doesn't it - yet it leaves my mind feeling more focused AND it makes me laugh (I realise I look ridiculous), so it must be good for me!!   I'm sure that using these complimentary therapies, plus yoga and other exercise will help me get back in shape mentally and physically and hopefully regain my sense of humour!   That's the plan anyway, I'll just see where it takes me.