It has been a while since i've here, so what's been going on?
Well, quite a bit really, after my last post things went downhill for a while, and I had a few weeks of feeling quite sorry for myself, which is quite confusing as I have never felt like that before. I think that I felt that I had no one really to talk to about how I really felt, no one to share my fears and worries with. I had that with my two "cancer friends", but they are no longer here for those frank chats about hopes and fears and all the shit that comes with cancer. I have friends and of course Shaun and my sister, who I could quite easily sit down and talk to, but I never feel that I want to burden them with such worries. So work very kindly gave me some time off, but did express that they thought it was time that I saw a counsellor. Yikes, this is something that I have avoided for the last 7 years, but they have been so good to me, I felt that I owed it to them to do as they asked.
I had heard of The Hummingbird centre from a colleague, a drop in centre in Rugby for people affected by cancer, so after a quick Google I found the opening times and details, took a very deep breath and walked through the door. I couldn't have had a warmer welcome, Helen the founder, soon had a cup of coffee ready for me and I was welcomed to the fold. After enquiring about counselling, I was told that they would be able to help me within a couple of weeks. I walked out knowing that I had found a very safe retreat.
Over Christmas we enjoyed an amazing family holiday, cruising the Caribbean, taking in Jamaica, Mexico and Grand Caymen, it seriously was a holiday of a lifetime and just what we needed. The down time gave me a chance to put things into perspective and try to make some plans for the short term future. I'm still too scared to think long term. For me, I have scans very 6 months, and that's the bite sizes I live my life to for now. So first in the agenda was to go down to a 3 day week at work, changing that life/work balance into the favour of life, rather than work. Instantly I made the decision and said it out loud, I felt so much better, like a huge weight had been lifted. Now, ten weeks into a three day week, I love it. I don't feel like im sinking - at home or at work, I feel that I can cope with what each day throws at me and i have time to fit in the things I want to do as well as the things i need to do. The most amazing thing is that I have even managed to get birthday cards bought, written and posted on time which for me is a great achievement.
So in the new year, I also started my counselling sessions, after the first one, I walked out with my chest puffed out, standing tall and feeling very proud of myself. I realised for the first time that seeking counselling isn't a failure, in fact I think it shows strength. For the first few, I didnt speak much of cancer, but of things in my life that had worried or upset me before, but the cancer had just magnified the problems. But these were the things that kept me awake at night, and maybe I worried about these things to save myself from worrying about the cancer. I still go to the hUmingbird Centre most weeks as I have met some lovely people there and its a great place to be. All of the people sat around with coffees and cake, know just how I feel and I know how they feel. We can help each other with that, with how to cope with chemo, what foods to avoid or eat more of. Its just a safe place to be for a couple hours a week, where we can swap stories, fears and hopes. That's good for me, a couple of hours a week where I can share my story and try to offer help, guidance and advice to others, but also to learn from them to and listen to their stories. Its not all doom and gloom though, it seems we nearly all have dogs so we chat about them, we all love cake, so we all eat that and we have a good laugh.
Keeping busy is the key to survival, it is for me anyway, keep busy and don't think too much, and certainly don't google too much! I bake - a lot, it is my therapy. Im doing 2 treks this year for the Air Ambulance Service, on in The Peaks in May and one in The Lakes in Sept, so to raise the sponsorship I am baking cakes and selling them to colleagues, which is fab as I get to bake as much as I want, but don't have to eat it all! I love the work I do for our local Air Ambulance, knowing that indirectly, all of the actions that I do between the hours of 9 and 5 on my 3 days a week are helping to save lives, to keep families together, it makes me very proud of myself and my colleagues.
I am also on the committee for The Strawberry Festival, and upgrade of last years Strawberry Tea Party that was initially my friend Gails idea, but was held in her honour after she so sadly passed away 5 weeks before the event. These events are amazing, last year we raised £10000 for Breast Cancer Care in an afternoon, serving vintage afternoon teas, there was face painting, a Pimms bar, massages and treatments and an amazing raffle. It took some planning and organising, but we gave a great afternoon out to a lot of local people, and this year we want to do it bigger and better. I want to be involved with this, I know as a cancer patient, how valuable these events are. I know that if events like these had not been running for many years then I would not be here now. These events have helped raise the funds to support some of the research needed to get me where I am today and we need to keep on raising these funds to get us nearer a cure. I read a lot about the research that is going on, and it really is an exciting time, there are major breakthroughs being announced almost weekly now, but this can only happen with the generous donations that the public make, whether personally, or indirectly, by coming to an event like ours and buying entrance tickets, raffle tickets, teas, cakes etc, and having a great time doing it. So if you are in or around Rugby on Sat 25th June, please come and join us at The Rugby Lions Ground on Webb Ellis Road from 1pm. Afternoons like this need to be supported and supported well, there can not be many of us going through life that haven't been touched in some way by cancer. I for one would not like my children to have to live through their own cancer nightmare, the more we can do now to help fund the research will hopefully pave a away for a cancer free future for the next generations. I go into each Christmas, each birthday wondering if this is to be my last, I worry about whether I will see my children marry, will I get to see my Grandchildren? I think i will rock as a crazy Granny and it scares the crap out of me that I may never get the chance, so hopefully, if we all do our own little bit to help fundraise, one day we may just get there. With a little bit of luck and a bit more research I will be here for many years doing my bit. its the least I can do.