Sunday, 19 February 2012

Good to feel more positive again!

I would like to say that my time at home with my leg in plaster has been nice and relaxing, but really it has been quite busy and the days have run away with themselves – the routine is get up, washed and dressed, breakfast and take painkillers – doesn’t sound very much in itself but on one foot it takes much longer!  Aim is to be up and dressed by 10am.  By the time I have prepared myself for my hospital transport to arrive to take me to radiotherapy (including making and taking lunch with me), and answering the phone that’s half my day over.  The rest of the afternoon is spent in the waiting room at radiotherapy in front of their TV and near to the coffee machine (I have my own space!)  – I have my 10 minute appointment and then it is back to waiting again for pick up by hospital transport usually around 4pm.  By the time I get home I am tired and most of the tiredness is because of waiting around and having to sit in one place while doing it – I am so pleased I managed to get a smart phone before Christmas because at least I can go on Facebook, Twitter, emails and play games instead of being forced to watch the Alan Titmarsh show every week afternoon! I am getting around a bit more, and can sweep up (a bit), and do the washing up and clean down the sides – haven’t attempted a bath yet though.  I must say though I couldn’t do without my housemate and son because they pick up the slack with more complicated housework and tasks then I can currently manage.

February is marching along and soon, very soon, my cancer treatment is going to end. In fact on Tuesday next week – although I suppose I can’t really say it’s finished until the five years up!  After being a little fearful of radiotherapy I have been pleasantly surprised and yes compared to chemo it is a “piece of cake”!  That is not to say, however, I haven’t had any reactions  - I now have a “heat” rash across the affected area and I do get a little tired but to be fair I am not sure whether that is the radiotherapy or the having my leg in plaster!  The rash is not itchy but apparently I need to be prepared for it over the next ten days or so.  I know people who have had no reactions at all to radiotherapy and others who have had much worse so keeping fingers crossed that this is all I am going to get.
The next steps after radiotherapy is to carry on taking my pills, see the consultant in about four to six weeks, a further follow up three months later, then six months where a mammogram will probably be done again, and then a scan.  Have been told that they only do a scan before the year is up if they have concerns – it’s more harmful to do scans then not.   So once out of plaster I am hoping I will have new home, a new start and a plan in place for a healthier lifestyle.  Life seems more hopeful and positive again but I do expect to still have a roller-coaster of emotions as I move from a breast cancer fighter to a breast cancer survivor and as I know now I am prone to depression have to be careful not to allow the journey I have gone through to go down that path again.

What is good is that I am actually feeling so much better in myself – my mind feels less foggy, my energy levels are much higher, people say my skin looks good, my hair is growing (new nickname for me is “chickpea”) and my eyelashes are coming back.   I just feel so much happier in myself too – perhaps it’s also because I can eat well again (although my appetite is still not back to normal)!  Apparently it takes a good year for all the chemo and its poisons to leave your body but the fear of reoccurrence will always be with me.
The only real concern I do have is my son.  He has grown up so much in the last months it’s amazing to see, but he is angry and sometimes you can feel the tension within him.  In all other respects he is a normal young teenager going through all the normal teenager angst and growing pains but the stresses he has gone through over the past years are taking their toll and looking after me even more now has caused its own worries and frustrations for him.  Last week I had a visitor from the Young Carers Association and Daniel has signed up for this.  I am hoping that he will meet other young teenagers in the same kind of situation as him, outside of his school friends who will have a little more understanding of what he is going through and if he needs/wants to, to speak to people who are trained to work with children like him .  He will have the opportunity to go out on trips to adventure parks, up to London and to take part in workshops over the holidays. It’s up to him how much or how little he wants to be involved but it really good for me to know that he has some treats to look forward to which I cannot provide for him..  They will even help me with anything that has an impact on my son – so if we do have to move soon they can get people in to help us pack so my son doesn’t have to do it all!  I wish I had looked into this sooner …..

Since my last personal blog: A Step Backwards or Forward, which I must admit was not as positive as most of my blogs, and expressed some self-pity (not necessary a bad thing to release your negative emotions) I have had a lot more contact with friends and colleagues and as from Wednesday next week as I am going to be housebound for at least another three weeks without any daily trips to hospital to look forward to, some of them are coming to visit for catch ups.  My Aunt and her friend from Gravesend came to visit on Friday (bringing with them a dish which is Sunday lunch today!) and it lifted my spirits so much and also gave my son a chance to air some of concerns to a family member which I know he and I found very helpful.  I like to laugh, I like to gossip, I like to find out what other people are doing and these moments are very precious and appreciated.
In three weeks my plaster should come off and I will get a Moonboot (cool!) , then maybe I will be more mobile again and can then think about going back to work as well.  It’s just so good to feel positive again!

 The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.     E E Cummings
Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ~Howard Thurmon

"Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats." ~Voltaire
"If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it." ~Mary Engelbreit

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Is there a cancer personality?

While doing some recent research for my blog on adreline, stress and my breast cancer I came across the theory of “the cancer personality”. I thought I would like to share this debate with my bloggers and colleagues and get some other views.

Danzae Pace ~ Stress is the trash of modern life - we all generate it but if you don't dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life ~

Maureen Killoran ~ Stress is not what happens to us. It's our response TO what happens. And RESPONSE is something we can choose ~
Author Unknown ~ Stress is like an iceberg. We can see one-eighth of it above, but what about what’s below ~
What do I think? I don’t really know what to think, and as said in one of my recent blogs, many professionals and people with cancer (as I do with my breast cancer) do think there is a correlation between stress and cancer but as yet is not proven.  To actually have a cancer personality though is a totally different thing altogether and lower down in this article it explains what some of those personalities are.  It seems from the study that it is how we deal with life stresses that matters the most and I have some sympathy with view.  I also recognise a lot of what has been said could include my own personality in the equation and I wonder if you do also.

I also do see the contrary argument that the belief in a "cancer personality" or that personality influences cancer development can serve to stigmatize those with cancer and add to their psychological burden. Are happy, well-adjusted people less likely to get cancer? Obviously not and there are also many other factors also have to be taken into account.
It is an interesting debate and Dr Ryke-Geerd Hamer is a very highly controversial character and many of his theories have been dismissed.  Below the article I attach just some of the differing views on the Internet.

“One of the most recent studies (1981) on psychosomatic cancer therapy comes from Germany. Over the past ten years, medical doctor / surgeon Ryke-Geerd Hamer has examined 20,000 cancer patients with all types of cancer. Dr. Hamer wondered why cancer never seems to systematically spread directly from one organ to the surrounding tissue. For example, he never found cancer of the cervix AND cancer of the uterus in the same woman. He also noticed that all his cancer patients seemed to have something in common: there had been some kind of psycho emotional conflict prior to the onset of their disease - usually a few years before - a conflict that had never been fully resolved.
X-rays taken of the brain by cancer Dr. Hamer showed in all cases a 'dark shadow' somewhere in the brain. These dark spots would be in exactly the same place in the brain for the same types of cancer. There was also a 100% correlation between the dark spot in the brain, the location of the cancer in the body and the specific type of unresolved conflict. On the basis of these findings, Dr. Hamer suggests that when we are in a stressful conflict that is not resolved, the emotional reflex center in the brain which corresponds to the experienced emotion (e.g: anger, frustration, grief) will slowly break down. Each of these emotion centers are connected to a specific organ. When a center breaks down, it will start sending wrong information to the organ it controls, resulting in the formation of deformed cells in the tissues: cancer cells. He also suggests that metastasis is not the SAME cancer spreading. It is the result of new conflicts that may well be brought on by the very stress of having cancer or of invasive and painful or nauseating therapies.

Dr Hamer started including psychotherapy as an important part of the healing process and found that when the specific conflict was resolved, the cancer immediately stopped growing at a cellular level. The dark spot in the brain started to disappear. X-rays of the brain now showed a healing edema around the damaged emotional center as the brain tissue began to repair the afflicted point. There was once again normal communication between brain and body. A similar healing edema could also be seen around the now inactive cancer tissue. Eventually, the cancer would become encapsulated, discharged or dealt with by the natural action of the body. Diseased tissue would disappear and normal tissue would then again appear.
According to cancer Dr Hamer the real cause of cancer and other diseases is an unexpected traumatic shock for which we are emotionally unprepared. The following list shows some of the relationships between conflict emotions and target organs for cancer.

Adrenal Cortex: Wrong Direction. Gone Astray, Bladder: Ugly Conflict. Dirty Tricks, Bone: Lack of Self-Worth. Inferiority Feeling, Brain: Tumor Stubborness. Refusing to Change Old Patterns. Mental Frustration, Breast (Milk Gland): Involving Care or Disharmony, Breast (Milk Duct): Separation Conflict, Breast (Left): Conflict Concerning Child, Home, or Mother. Breast (Right): Conflict with Partner or Others, Bronchioles: Territorial Conflict, Cervix: Severe Frustration, Colon: Ugly Indigestible Conflict, Esophagus: Cannot Have it or Swallow it, Gall Bladder: Rivalry Conflict,
Heart: Perpetual Conflict, Intestines: Indigestible Chunk of Anger, Kidneys: Not Wanting to Live. Water or Fluid Conflict, Larynx: Conflict of Fear and Fright, Liver: Fear of Starvation ,
Lungs: Fear of Dying or Suffocation, including Fear for Someone Else, Lymph Glands: Loss of Self-Worth associated with the Location, Melanoma: Feeling Dirty, Soiled, Defiled, Middle Ear: Not being able to get some Vital Information. Mouth: Cannot Chew It or Hold It, Pancreas: Anxiety-Anger Conflict with Family Members. Inheritence, Prostate: Ugly Conflict with Sexual Connections or Connotations, Rectum: Fear of Being Useless, Skin: Loss of Integrity, Spleen: Shock of Being Physically or Emotionally Wounded, Stomach: Indigestible Anger. Swallowed Too Much,
Testes and Ovaries: Loss Conflict, Thyroid: Feeling Powerless, Tumor (in location): Nursing old Hurts and Shocks. Building Remorse, Uterus: Sexual Conflict

5 stages of cancer of how tumors are formed within the body:

Phase 1 - Inescapable Shock / Emotional Trauma
This initial phase occurs approximately 2 years prior to the cancer diagnosis. This is where the individual experiences an "inescapable shock", affecting deep sleep and the production of melatonin within the body. Melatonin is necessary for inhibiting cancer cell growth and is the primary hormone responsible for regulating the immune system. During this phase a part of the emotional reflex centre in the brain slowly breaks down, creating a dark spot on the brain (viewed by X-ray). Each part of the emotional reflex centre controls and is connected to an organ or part of the body, and when the emotion centre begins to break down, so too does the organ or body part it is connected to.

Phase 2 - Stress Suppresses The Immune System
During this second phase, the immune system is suppressed by elevated stress hormone cortisol levels. The immune system also receives subconscious messages from the affected emotion centre of the brain to slow down, and to even stop working altogether. An individual experiencing "inescapable shock" often feels like they have died "emotionally" on some level, and the immune system receives these messages as a subliminal signal or command to give up the fight to live also. This causes somatids to react. Somatids are tiny living organisms (necessary for life) that live in our blood. Different types of somatids are specific to and inhabit different organs of the body. In a healthy organism, where the immune system is functioning properly, these somatids are limited to 3 stages in their life cycle - somatid, spore, double spore. When the immune system is impaired or suppressed, somatids pleomorphise (or change) into a further 13 stages (16 altogether).These further 13 stages are pathogenic (harmful) to the body and include viral, bacterial, and yeast-like fungus forms.

Phase 3 - Stress Causes Cell Glucose Levels to Rise
Over time, elevated stress hormone levels cause adrenaline levels to be depleted within the body, causing glucose (sugar) levels to rise within normal cells. The main purpose of adrenaline is to remove and convert glucose from cells for energy for the body, just as it is the main purpose of insulin to transport glucose (sugar) into cells. When the adrenaline reserves are depleted, glucose (sugar) levels increase sharply within cells - leaving little room for oxygen. This is why so many cancer patients are weak and lethargic, because they have no adrenaline left (or very little) to convert the glucose in their cells into energy for the body and their cells subsequently have very little room left to accept oxygen from passing blood.

Phase 4 - Fungus Enter Cells to Feed on Glucose
During this fourth phase, pathogenic microbes (virus-bacteria-fungus) that have pleomorphised and established themselves in a weakened part of the body, enter normal cells to feed on high glucose levels. This fermentation of glucose causes "mycotoxins" to be released (a highly acidic waste product), which 1) breaks the Krebs Cycle of the cell (a process that uses oxygen as part of cellular respiration), and 2) breaks the Electron Transport Chain of the cell, meaning the number of ATP molecules drops dramatically. (ATP molecules provide energy to the cell.) This lack of oxygen and cell energy means normal cells mutate during the dividing process - creating new rogue cancer cells. The body's tissue and cells become highly acidic (low pH) due to the waste by-products caused by these viral-bacterial-yeast-like fungus. Over-acidification of the body also occurs due to fermentation of excess stress hormones in the body, poor diet (low pH value foods), and lack of exercise. Viruses, bacteria, yeast, mould, fungus, candida and cancer cells thrive in a low pH acidic environment.

Phase 5 - Fungus and Cancer Form Symbiotic Relationship
During this fifth phase viral-bacterial-yeast-like fungus form a symbiotic relationship with newly created cancer/tumor cells. Yeast-like fungus is symbiotic in nature and feeds on the high levels of glucose to use for energy for reproduction of new somatids. The yeast-like fungus provides a natural fermentation process and ferments the glucose within the cancer/tumor cell, providing energy and a natural growth factor in return. The yeast-like fungus uses the cancer/tumor cells as a host or house for their rich reserves of glucose, and stimulates these cancer/tumor cells to propagate more houses. The result is a mass of tumor cells, or tumor sites. Yeast-like fungus prevent cancer / tumor cells reverting back into normal healthy cells (re-establishing their Krebs Cycle), as they continue to cause "mycotoxins" to be released (a highly acidic waste product), meaning cancer / tumor cells in a sense are held hostage to the yeast-like fungus that inhabit them.

Phase 6 - Stress Stimulates Tumor Cell Growth / Metastases
During this final phase elevated stress hormone norepinephrine and epinephine levels, stimulate tumor cells to produce three (3) compounds: MMP-2 and MMP-9 (both martix metalloproteinases) and the growth compound VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor). Tumor cells make receptors for these stress hormones on their surface, to stimulate these three compounds. MMP-2 and MMP-9 breakdown the scaffolding of tumor cell walls making it easier for them to travel to other parts of the body, a process known as metastasis. VEGF causes blood vessels to grow in new tumor cells, so that they can grow and spread more rapidly. News of cancer at this stage, often becomes a further "inescapable shock" and the cycle begins again with secondary tumor sites forming in different parts or organs of the body.

Trapped or repressed negative feelings are harmful to the body and increase a person's level of the stress hormone Cortisol - a hormone which has been found in many studies around the world to directly suppress immune system functioning. When the immune system is not functioning properly, cancer cells, that exist in every human being, can multiply and form tumor sites.
Most importantly high stress levels deplete adrenaline reserves that when low, create the perfect cancer environment.

Dr Hamer started including psychotherapy as an important part of the healing process and found that when the specific conflict was resolved, the cancer immediately stopped growing at a cellular level. Dr Hamer believes that cancer people are unable to share their thoughts, emotions, fears and joys with other people. He calls this "psycho-emotional isolation". These people tend to hide away sadness and grief behind a brave face, appear ‘nice’ and avoid open conflict. Some are not even aware of their emotions, and are therefore not only isolated from other people, but also from themselves.           
Of course a little stress can do us good—it pushes us to compete and innovate. But chronic stress can increase the risk of diseases such as depression, heart disease and even cancer. .   

The following are typical personality traits found in those with cancer:
  • Being highly conscientious, caring, dutiful, responsible, hard-working, and usually of above average intelligence.
  • Exhibits a strong tendency toward carrying other people's burdens and toward taking on extra obligations, and often "worrying for others."
  • Having a deep-seated need to make others happy. Being a "people pleaser" with a great need for approval.
  • Often lacking closeness with one or both parents, which sometimes, later in life, results in lack of closeness with spouse or others who would normally be close.
  • Harbours long-suppressed toxic emotions, such as anger, resentment and/or hostility. The cancer-susceptible individual typically internalizes such emotions and has great difficulty expressing them.
  • Reacts adversely to stress, and often becomes unable to cope adequately with such stress. Usually experiences an especially damaging event about 2 years before the onset of detectable cancer. The patient is not able to cope with this traumatic event or series of events, which comes as a "last straw" on top of years of suppressed reactions to stress.
  • Has an inability to resolve deep-seated emotional problems and conflicts, usually beginning in childhood, often even being unaware of their presence.
How one reacts to stress appears to be a major factor in the larger number of contributing causes of cancer. Most cancer patients have experienced a highly stressful event, usually about 2 years prior to the onset of detectable disease. This traumatic event is often beyond the patient's control, such as the loss of a loved one, loss of a business, job, home, or some other major disaster. The typical cancer personality has lost the ability to cope with these extreme events, because his/her coping mechanism lies in his/her ability to control the environment. When this control is lost, the patient has no other way to cope.

Major stress causes suppression of the immune system, and does so more overwhelmingly in the cancer-susceptible individual than in others. Thus personal tragedies and excessive levels of stress appear to combine with the underlying personality described above to bring on the immune deficiency which allows cancer to thrive.
Those susceptible to cancer, are highly vulnerable to life's stresses and trauma, and feel unable to cope when life throws a curve-ball their way. These people are perfectionists and live in fear of conflict, stress, trauma and loss and are deeply frightened of negative events "happening" to them. And when faced with a highly stressful or traumatic event they have not anticipated, which inevitably happens during their life, react adversely and are unable to cope.

They experience inescapable shock and remain deeply affected by the experience. They have difficulty in expressing their inner grief, their inner pain, their inner anger or resentment, and genuinely feel there is no way out of the pain they are feeling inside. And because their mind cannot fathom what has happened, and remains in a state of disbelief or denial, these inner painful feelings are continually perpetuated, shooting up stress levels, lowering melatonin and adrenaline levels, causing a slow breakdown of the emotional reflex centre in the brain, and creating the beginning of cancer progression in the body.
When faced with a major trauma, the cancer personality feels trapped and unable to escape from the memory of the traumatic experience and the painful feelings of the experience. Stress hormone cortisol levels skyrocket and remain at high levels, directly suppressing the immune system, whose job it is to destroy cancer cells that exist in every human being. High stress levels generally means a person cannot sleep well, and cannot produce enough Melatonin during deep sleep. Melatonin is responsible for inhibiting cancer cell growth. This means cancer cells are now free to multiply. Adrenaline levels also skyrocket initially, but are then drained and depleted over time. This is especially bad news for the cancer personality.”

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Meandbob and exericise - Introducing guest blogger David Haas

Physical Fitness Can Help Fight Cancer

Just before my accident (and my energy levels picking up) I was looking into getting back into some kind of exercise regime again – taking it slowly of course!  Note that I did a lot, but I did cycle a bit and walk everywhere. Since my breast and lymph gland ops I have been doing my arm exercises, walks when I can but not much more – however after reading David Haas’ article (guest blog spot below) I wish I had done more. 

David is a cancer patient advocate for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance and writes and researches for the betterment of cancer patients around the United States – his website can be accessed at
"Every stage of cancer is stressful, from the initial diagnosis to recovering from radiation treatments. Even people who are cancer-free fear that they will have to battle cancer again at some point in the future. Fortunately, there can be some relief from the overwhelming burden of battling cancer. Exercise can help cancer patients in a variety of ways at almost every stage of the disease.

Cancer patients all have the same priority: being free of their cancer and preventing it from returning. Not only can exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle prevent you from getting cancer in the first place, but it can help you heal and stop cancer from returning as well. According to, physical activity gives people a greater chance of survival following a diagnosis of cancer. Plus, it reduces the risk of a return.

Regardless of the type of cancer and treatment you’re facing, from chemotherapy to mesothelioma treatment, being overweight gives people a shortened survival period as well as a greater risk for recurrence. Maintaining a high level of fitness, developing muscle, preventing weight gain and having a lean body mass are all helpful in your quest for a cancer-free life. Cancer isn’t the only problem that exercise wards off, either. Physical activity is known to lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease, too.

On top of the physical benefits of exercise, there are several psychological benefits that help cancer patients and survivors as well. Depression is often a side effect of dealing with cancer. Even people who have beat cancer live with the anxiety of it returning. Exercise can help monitor and improve your mood. Working out also increases self confidence, which is often needed after feeling sick for a long period of time. Fatigue, a common side effect of radiation treatments, can be reduced with exercise.

After a cancer diagnosis, it’s recommended to begin exercising as soon as you possibly can. People tend to slow down after finding out that they have cancer, due to feeling sick and depressed. The stress can make an otherwise active person become sedentary. The last thing you may think to do when you’re feeling exhausted is work out, but in the long run, it will actually give you more energy.

A well-rounded workout regime is the best thing for cancer patients and survivors. Flexibility exercises, like stretching and yoga, are the easiest type of physical activity. If you don’t feel up to running and lifting weights yet, then stretching is a good substitute. Try to get in aerobic activity, like waking or swimming, as well as resistance training. Together, these three types of exercises will keep you focused, calm, lean and strong."

Please do access the mesothelioma website where you can also find many interesting articles on fighting cancer

Right now you may not think I am getting much exercise, but I assure you hopping one foot all day pumps my heart up and is at least strengthening one leg and improving my balance, also doing knee exercises in my bad leg, putting all my weight on crutches through my arms is making them stronger, and even keeping in an unusual shape for 10 minutes while undergoing radiotherapy is all helping me to keep fit!  It has been suggested I could do push-ups from my waist but not at all confident doing that ……

Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.”  ~Plato

“Exercise and application produce order in our affairs, health of body, cheerfulness of mind, and these make us precious to our friends.” -   Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, 12 February 2012

A step backwards or moving forward?

More than most I know that life does have the tendency to force you sometimes not to take anything for granted and go into directions that you don’t really want to go in and boy was I reminded of this recently!

Having come out of chemo and to be honest still recovering especially with my blood sugars going up and down, feeling tired, apparently having low blood pressure, hard skin on feet and anticipating radiotherapy later that week, on coming down the stairs after a nap I slipped on the fifth step from the bottom and managed to break and dislocate my ankle at the same time!  I couldn’t believe it, of all the unexpected things to happen?  In A&E in great pain, an op the next day and then the next eight days in hospital and an anticipated eight weeks in plaster!  Not only could I not believe it, nor could anyone else – just don’t say life couldn’t get any worse because it did!
The day after my op something happened that was deeply upsetting and disappointing and from emotions that had been held back in check, I was so frustrated and angry, that they all came boiling out at once. I am not going to mention the actual incident here on my blog as it is still now raw and all too real, but suffice to say that those who I thought loved me, let me down in a such a way that it affected not only myself but particularly my son at a moment when we were both impotent and completely vulnerable to do anything about it.  You should know that I am completely fed up at being vulnerable especially at a time I thought I was moving forward.  My son lashed out unfortunately - on Facebook of all things which just made things worse  and although I don’t condone what he wrote in any way at all – I understood his pain, his anger and the unfairness of what had been done. With just some good communication and understanding the situation could have been avoided but unfortunately I do have some people in my life who feel that what they do and think is always right, don’t need to consult and should not be questioned and disagreed with, and if you do you are being ungrateful and judged harshly with very little understanding. My life motto is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and this act although which may have been seen to come from the heart certainly did not fall within this category.

I question now where has the love, the support and the friendship I once thought I had has gone being eroded away while fighting depression and then cancer and just trying to keep my own mind, body and soul together and carving out a life for myself and my son the best way I can.  I am not ungrateful, never have been, of any support I have had and those who know me or read my blog should realise that, but I do want to know what I have done that has been so wrong that has caused so many problems. Some of it I know is this blog in the first place, but this blog has been a lifeline to me and a story I have chosen to share and feel I should be respected for it rather than despised for it - it has not been directed at any one person, it has not been dishonest and represents how things have been and how they are with which I hope mainly with a positive slant.
Or is it that I put on such a strong face on to the world in my cancer fight that no-one thought I needed them and that I was not that sick or that weary and not suffering much.  Is it that no-one else thought they could say they were sick while I was sick with cancer so avoided me? Is it that I have become a much stronger person less vulnerable, less pliable more able to put my own thoughts and views forward and dared to disagree and question with what I was being asked to do, think and feel.  Was it only coincidence particular stresses seem to come up within the five days after chemo sessions when I was at my most vulnerable, most tired, and most sick?  These are questions that are never going to be answered but all I have ever wanted through this cancer journey is a little support without interfering too much in other’s lives and their own stresses – a visit here now and again at my worse times to lift my spirits, a kind message or a catch up phone call to keep me positive and laughing and to show they care.  I am grateful to everyone (friends and family and especially my dad who calls me once or twice every day and who is not that well himself and lives a fair distance from me) who did this because it has kept me going through my hardest times.

OK  OK – it’s out of my system now!  I am back to my old positive self, laughing again at a situation I cannot change not letting it stress me out and moving forward once again albeit with a plaster on my leg!  I am not stuck at home without friends and support – a kind friend cooked freezer meals for me and cupcakes, I have someone to come round and play scrabble with me and other word games which I love to do, my lodger has been completely wonderful despite the personality change around 9pm each night, colleagues and friends are visiting or have visits lined up in the future, calling and sending messages.  I have a daily trip each afternoon for radiotherapy each week day being picked up by hospital ambulance and these people really do keep me laughing.  I make sure I at least do one productive thing a day even if it’s only contacting my doctor to change my medication or on-line shopping (which is a challenge in its self) and I am hopping well around the house being able to feed myself and make a cup of tea! Even my son is doing his bit although he is fed up, stressed as well as coping with teenager hormones – he even comes to hug me more often!
The Sunday before I came out of hospital I cried all day with the frustration of absolutely everything - thinking I had gone a step backward and all those negative feelings just came pouring out of me – I just could not stop the tears.  I hadn’t cried for a long time and realised later that I had held them back far too long.  Now I am at home amongst the chaos of daily life again I realise that in fact that I have actually moved forward not backwards at all.

"Illness or disability takes away a part of your life, but in doing so, it gives you the opportunity to choose the life you will lead, as opposed to living the one you've simply accumulated over the years." - Dr. Arthur Frank

 “Unexpected change is the ultimate catalyst for life and it’s only after some time has passed after it has occurred that you realize you’ve been truly blessed for it. A keen sense of humour helps us to overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerate the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected, and outlast the unbearable” - Billy Graham 

It makes you stronger than you were before. With more change, comes more experience, comes more knowledge, and comes more opportunities, which you never would’ve been exposed to in the first place.”