What’s in a word….

There’s something about the act of writing that eases the soul and frees the mind.  Perhaps this is why many people turn to the written word in times of stress, sadness or worry.  Writing about something as stressful and difficult as cancer or serious illness can be soothing, illuminating and supportive. For many people, keeping a journal is an easy way to express their feelings and thoughts about what is happening.  Research shows that expressing our innermost thoughts and feelings can reduce stress, improve how we are physically, and increase our quality of life.  Putting our thoughts down in black Continue Reading …

‘Hold Fast to that which is Good’

I made a recent trip to the Trafford Centre, during the Christmas sales! Glutton for punishment? Fool hardy, I know. The outing was at the request of a visiting family friend who had never been to our temple of delights. And as often happens when you look through the eyes of a stranger, you see things you’d missed before. In my case, it was the glittering letters above the entrance, “Hold fast to that which is good”.  Wondering what on earth that had to do with shopping, I Googled it when I got back home. Apparently, the saying is, “Test Continue Reading …

Regaining trust in yourself

I cannot tell you how many people, from all walks of life, have told me that one of the most difficult consequences of their illness and its treatment is their loss of confidence.  It seems to make no difference if you are a woman or a man, old or young, have a high-powered demanding job or are retired. Cancer is a great leveller in this (as in many other) respects. Of course one of the great problems with confidence is that no-one else can give it to you: you cannot get your doctor to write a prescription or buy it Continue Reading …

A List for Living

There seem to have been many references lately to ‘Bucket Lists’ – a list of things we would like to achieve or experience before we die (or kick the bucket!) What would be on yours?  When Helen Fawkes (a BBC correspondent) was given a life-limiting diagnosis, she considered compiling her own plan but did not like the term, ‘bucket list’. She preferred to compile her ‘List for Living’. Helen’s ideas included: seeing Stonehenge at dawn; pulling a pint in her local pub; being driven around a racetrack in a sports car; glass blowing; hot air balloon flight; and drinking a Continue Reading …

Regaining trust in your body

 For many of you, your cancer will have been discovered whilst you were feeling well and healthy – either through some sort of screening programme, through investigations for another illness or for a relatively innocuous symptom. You may have had few – if any – times when you felt ill or had very troubling symptoms (I know this is not true for all, but it is a common experience nonetheless). And then you hear the diagnosis, that word that will be forever etched in your memory. How is it possible to have the disease that so many dread without feeling Continue Reading …

Roller-Coaster

Imagine a roller-coaster.  Some of you will find this an exciting and thrilling image: others of you – like me – will find it terrifying and beyond belief that anyone in their right mind would willingly subject themselves to the torment of being transported at high speed and with great discomfort in this manner.  However, I have chosen this image to represent the process of the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. On a roller-coaster, you will be strapped in and sent off into the terror, knowing that there is nothing you can do about it until you emerge – wobbly Continue Reading …

Joining The Club

Someone once said to me that having cancer is like belonging to a club you never wanted to join. It takes some of us quite by surprise, for others it’s like we’ve been expecting the card to arrive for a while. And not forgetting the free membership for family and those who care about us! The ongoing fees are extortionate in terms of cost to our peace of mind, the impact on our family and friends, and the changes to our body and our lives. This club is also very time-consuming and energy-draining. It makes untold demands upon us and Continue Reading …