My second post relates to how fear can completely take over our thoughts and what we do, but how the media can also exacerbate this. Please feel free to contact me if you’d like to talk about this or any of the topics in this video series. I’m here to help. Here are some links you may find useful:

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/overcome-fear-anxiety
https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/impact-fear-and-anxiety

Www.gov.uk

Thoughts of the moment

Fear and Social Media – Covid-19 Post 2

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I wanted to share some thoughts around what is happening in the world today. Please feel free to get in touch if you’d like to participate or share a topic.

Are you taken over by fear right now. Coronavirus and everything that it entails is scary and is affecting the whole world. But how are we dealing with this? Hysteria, irrational behaviour, selfishness, greed!
That’s what fear does! Here’s my take on fear.
Thoughts of the moment

Coronavirus and Fear

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I’ve been working flat out for the last 4 months and mainly, lots of travel to and from Ireland.

Where haven’t I been!!! Mayo, Cooley, Macroom, Wexford, Cork, Cork and more Cork!!! Oh and a couple of jobs in England!

Since my last assignment I knew I was beginning to be super tired and all of a sudden I’ve become rather unwell.

I’ve noticed that I’ve been sleeping a lot. My face has become puffy and swollen. I have even found a huge bruise on my belly that I’ve no idea, where it came from! So Nin went on hols with Kam for Nin’s

I had my annual mammogram and today we went back for the results. Just before that, around the weekend that Nin was on holiday. I found a little lump on the same side breast I had the original cancer. I didn’t say a thing, thinking it was a spot. So when Nin came back, I asked him to have a feel and sure enough, it’s a new lump. Very tiny and hard to feel, but a lump all the same.

Mr Basu told us that the mammogram results were clear and I told him about the lump. So the upshot is that he felt the lump too and has now booked me in for an ultrasound to examine it further. For that I just have to wait for the appointment to come through.

He looked at me and said “are you okay”, as he said you look really tired. I told him I’ve had some sort of allergic reaction and my face is swollen. He told me to go to the GP to get “checked out”.

On the way from the hospital I managed to get an appointment and went to see a doctor at the dovecoat practice. She wasn’t overly concerned about me telling her about my pain in the right ovary. Or that I had what I would say was a slight bleed. I talked about my endometriosis but she felt it would be unlikely anything as I’m Peri-menapausal. So she gave me a prescription for antibiotics to hopefully sort out this infection I have in my face and eyes.

When I left the surgery, I did feel like she didn’t really listen and I know my medics history is complex. Lesson learnt. See My Brinksman next time.

Thank you for listening xx

Thoughts of the moment

Work, work and back to the hospital.

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1.1.2019
Rest in Peace Ira @irinaredgrave.
You were the most amazing woman I’ve ever known. I miss you 😢😢😢😢
I was blessed to meet Irina 22 years ago when we both worked at SGS in Camberley. After a little bit of a rocky start, we became friends. Richard and her wonderful son Oscar Redgrave have been part of our family ever since.
Not many people know this but she had been ill for many years now. Her lungs were failing and she had been put onto the transplant list last December 17.
Ira was an absolute fighter. She never said a bad word about anyone and never ever complained about her illness. She was always smiling and gave me such inspiration and happiness.
We’d talk every single day, even if it was to just say goodnight. She’d always follow my journey wherever I was. Wanting to make sure I’d got home safely from wherever I happen to be working that day. She gave me great courage and great assurance in everything I did.
Seeing her just before Christmas was a blessing. Although it was hard to see her struggling, she still had all the love in the world to make you feel a million dollars.
No one has ever been as supportive as she was with me, through my cancer journey. We even ended up at the QE together at one point. Her in one ward and me on the other.
The light went out today. No one could ever show such courage knowing that the end was close. She was the most amazing woman, so positive and so happy. .
Sleep well now. I will love you always. “Hugs and kisses” as you used to sign off your goodnight messages to me.

24.3.2019.
Gone too soon Puaji. Gone too soon. You endured so much and now, we’re at a loss without you.
My Dad’s youngest sister passed away today. After a very hard and long fight with breast cancer. After being diagnosed and having surgery and then being on oral chemotherapy for a long while. The cancer had spread to her lungs and she passed away at home in Kenya. I travelled with my cousin (her daughter) to Nairobi for the funeral. Little did I know that some eight weeks after Phuaji die, but Phuperji would pass away too. They were inseparable in life and he never made it back home from the hospital.

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21.6.2019
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Yesterday my Phurperji left us after a two month struggle to recover from illness at the same time as losing his life long love, my Puaji.
A light went out in the world when she died and I think for Phuperji, it was too much to manage and life without her was just not possible.
Phurperji, I was so happy to see you and tell you “I love you”. My heart was overwhelmed when I saw just how much you loved Puaji and it was at that moment that I knew, love conquers all. You touched her face with such kindness and held her hand with love. How could you even want to be without her.
Rest In Peace Phurperji. You’re back in the arms of Puaji now. So sad you’ve had to go, but accept that Love Conquers All and you are with the woman you love. 💔🙏🏼💔

In between losing my aunt and uncle from Kenya, my Dad’s youngest brother passed away from a heart attack while on holiday in India. The kids had to fly over from England and NZ to do the funeral in the Punjab.

On 18.8.2019, our beautiful boy Valentino, took his last breath. He had for many months lost weight and was struggling with his breathing. The vet had found a large tumor inside of him and there was very little to help make him better. He was nearly 16 years old.

Such a handsome boy that was my Valentines present many many many years previous. Such a character. When he first came into my life, I already had 5 cats and didn’t want another. My partner at the time bought him for me, for Valentines Day. I remember looking at him and thinking “oh no not another one”. That night Valentino slept in the duvet with me and I was hooked.

Because he was a pedigree cat, I decided he should stay indoors. So we reversed the cat flap so he couldn’t go out. One day (some two years after applying this technique), he realised that sometimes the cat flap was be ajar when one of the cats went out. He stuck his head out and one night, he got out. I spent all night looking for him. He was only a few doors up from my house in Crook, County Durham. But I was fraught. After that, since he’d got out, I had to let him go out like the others.

When I moved to be with Nin in Birmingham. We’d been in our house a few months and Tino vanished. It was a Saturday morning and he disappeared. It was an extremely fraught time as Nin’s Mum was ill in hospital too and about to undergo, or had had the quad heart bypass. We used to hunt for him during the day and night!

He turned up exactly one week after we believe he’d been taken. From then we’d built a full enclosure for them so they would never be able to be stolen again.

My boy Tino. Xxx

Thank you for reading.

Thoughts of the moment

The ones who’ve left us this year 2019

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So what’s been going on?

In June, we were told Nin’s Mum wasn’t going to make it. It was so hard for all of us. Nin’s brother Raj came over from Austria, where he lives with his daughter, ex wife and her new husband. Needless to say, he caused lots of problems.

To put things into perspective. He’s a strange character and has never got on with anyone in the family. Me included. Well before Mum passed, she’s given him £3500 to keep for her funeral. Prior to her dying, he’d made her split the family gold, three ways. Him, Sindy (sister) and Nin. He made her split any monies too, three ways. Such a cruel man.

Mum passed away peacefully at Bearwood Nursing Home with Nin and the boys and me there. She’d had many visitors before passing and as usual, most people ask for a miracle to happen. We knew her time was close. 27

Her strength and resilience with all things life throws at her, was almost unstoppable. She was a gracious and unbelievable kind and hospitable host. Even on her death bed, she asked her grandson to fetch samosa for people who came to visit her. She worked hard all her life, manual heavy press work and had the strength of an ox. Such a kind and always so forgiven a person.

The night that Mum died, we went back to her house. By the way, Raj had already started many fights with Nin there already. When Kanthi Penji turned up with Jassy, as we were hugging them, Raj said “I’ve always thought that, that’s a great way to die: Drowning”!! I think we were all in shock to react.

Lots of horrible things happened. He wouldn’t help with the money for the funeral or gurdwara. He told Nin, “why are you doing the funeral that way”, Nin replied it was the way Mum wanted it. Raj returned his reply with “if it was up to me, I’d chuck her in a box and burn her!!!”.

The day of the first condolences, when the first visitors that came, he said “now that I have witnesses, I want the bank books”! Kanthi Penji had to step in and said, that there was no money and that he knew that. This man is horrible beyond horrible. He made being near him very hard for all of us.

We found out he’d made Mum take £3000 from her pension and give it to him. When Nin’s Dad died (many years previous) , Raj took £35k of his life insurance money. Raj even went to say to Nin that any money in the charity box that we’d put down at Mum’s funeral, should go to him!!!

He’d even had a will drawn, some 30 plus years ago, unbeknownst to Nin. The man was the ultimate plotter. Thankfully Mum was wise to him and gave Nin all power of attorney and access to all her accounts. Not as though she had much but enough to keep away from Raj.

He never even said goodbye to his brother after the funeral and just left.

The best picture of Nin and Mum x

Thank you for reading xxx

Thoughts of the moment

It’s been a while

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A flower I bought for the garden. African Daisy! So love the colour 💜.

Loooooong word isn’t it. Supraventricul Tachycardia or SVT.

So here’s the deal. I’ve been having a rapid heart rate for about two months now. When I mean rapid, I mean outside of the normal range (60-100 bpm) at resting state.

For years I’ve had a very stable heart rate. Always within range but having a constant one over 100, came as a start to me. I found myself feeling as though, quite literally, that my heart was in my mouth! I can feel every heartbeat. In my neck and in my chest.

Using my timer on my phone, I’d count it. The worst readings are in the evening and in the morning. Probably as I’m not concentrating on doing other things then. But they would creep up to around 120. Okay, now for some people, that may not be high. For me, it’s too much.

Off I popped to see the doctor Wednesday 5 June 19. Dr Brinksman is my fave doctor at the practice. He’s one of the partners of the place. Being there over 27 years now. Yorkshire fella with a fabulous sense of hunour. He checked my pulse and asked me to book in for an ECG, which thankfully could be done at the surgery.

One of the lovely practice nurses, Natalie did the ECG first thing on 6 June 19, asking me to book in to see the doctor afterwards. She said everything looked normal, but considering my heart history, best to have a chat with them.

I managed to get to see Dr B that same morning! Now that was a good result! He said I have SVT! Long blooming name indeed. Basically for some reason my brain has began to tell my heart to beat faster. It’s part of the autonomic system which means, I’m not influencing it at all and it’s doing it without my conscious.

Oh heck! What does that mean. Dr B said it would be wise to start me on some beta blockers (Bisoprol). To which I said “oh no no no!”. I explained to him the reason for that answer. Just after my heart bypass, I’d been put on the lowest dose of bisoprol, once per day. If I took them in the evening, I struggled to wake up in the morning! If I took them in the morning, I’d be tired and sleepy around 3pm. In fact it’s the only time I’ve every fallen asleep on the job! I was auditing at Crown in Wisbech and was sat with one of the planners. I literally nodded off as he spoke to me about something he was explaining on his computer! OMG! I apologized and told them my drugs were still being trailed on me! Well it never happened again as I told the doctor that they didn’t suit me.

Dr B, acknowledged my reasons and said it was a fine balance. He then taught me a technique to use when it happens. Find the carotid artery at the neck and gently massage it. At the same time to take long deep breaths. I said I’d rather try that and help keep it under control, than to get medicated for it! Something I’m more and more against.

Okay, now I know there are something’s I must take to control various conditions that I have, but I don’t want to keep adding more and more drugs to my list.

I am sensible though. If I find the massage and breathing technique doesn’t work, or if I feel I have chest pain, I must seek emergency help.

Otherwise I will keep monitoring and trying.

Thank you for reading and happy week to you all. Xxxx

Thoughts of the moment

Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)

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This week has been full of challenges. I’m sure I’m not the only one doing that. Being on your feet, lack of sleep, hungry, upset,angry, frustrated or down right exhausted, to name but a few emotions.

How does anyone turn that around to being something positive and upbeat.

Oh for sure there will be many moments of sheer frustration and I guess the hardest thing to feel is a sense of support or direction.

During mental health week I wanted to share my experience today.

I cried. I cried in the shower feeling helpless and feeling like I’d lost control of my emotions. Watching certain programs, commercials and walking past all these beautiful aspects of “what could have been for me”, made me realise that for sure Normal is what the majority do.

When my cats are my fur babies and they rely on me for love and support. They don’t judge. Do you?

Do you question yourself? Do you feel you’re not “good enough”. Do you feel weak for even thinking those things? I know I did. This morning. Why am I crying? Oh heck, many reasons that stem from an immense desire to help and support. Sometimes, we need to take care of number 1, before taking care of others.

We are not machines (as much as I sometimes feel I am), sentient beings have emotions. Complex emotions that make us either smile or cry or make us feel nothing. These emotions ran into my life this week.

The complexities of life can be overwhelming. But how do we come to resolve them? I recall standing in the shower and feeling the emotions in their raw form. Oh come on! What have I got to be scared or upset about? I’m always on cloud 9! Well I wasn’t today. Does that make me weak?

I figured out my own stuff today. I know where I need to work on myself. Moreover I’ve learnt to be me. 99% over the bloody moon for being alive and having grey hair! Resilient.

1% doubt. But I’m me and I’m happy bring me.

How about you?

Thoughts of the moment

What a week so far!

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13.5.2019

It’s that time of the year where I head off to see Mr Basu. Devilishly handsome consultant who did both my breast surgeries in 2017.

So many memories flood back when I get over the South Birmingham Breast Care Unit at the Women’s Hospital. Gill was there, one of the Breast Care nurses who looked after me. She looked at me and then looked again, smiling. I said “you don’t recognise with hair do you!” She laughed, as did I.

Sitting in the waiting room, I got speaking to a lovely woman. Anita. Her second appointment with Mr Basu. I told her he was fantastic and such a competent man. I remembered the time I was offered another surgeon to do my second op, removal of all the lymph nodes in the right armpit, as Mr B was on hols. I rang one of the BCT (Breast Care Team) and told them that I was happy to wait for him in his return. I didn’t want someone else going in and doing stuff with my body. Anyway, the other surgeon and I didn’t see eye to eye. Mainly because she wasn’t as respectful as Mr B.

So I’m undressed and Mr B says “Hello”! “Nice to see you Mr B”, I said. “How are you?”. He said fine and then leaned against the window side wall and asked me some questions.

“So how have you been since I last saw you”, I said I’m good.

“So how is the lymphedema in the right breast and how do you feel about it?” “Does it get you down?”. I told him, I’ve done all the exercises given to me but the lymphedema just seems to get bigger. I’d already changed bra sizes twice and well I wanted to be symmetrical.

He told me about all the risks and said with my complexities of the heart and all would I really want to put myself under pressure like that. “Mr Basu”, I said quite firmly. This was the man I had to convince more than twice as to why I wouldn’t have radiation or hormone therapy. “I think you know me very well by now, I’m a very positive person and don’t let things “get me down”. The only thing I’d like is to not be lop sided. With one boob at 38 C and the other at 38 FF!”. “I hide it very well but I know”.

He nodded his head and asked me to reveal the girls. “Hmmm, I can see they’re still very lymphedema filled. Yes I can see”, touching the left and then the right, ” I can pinch to left but not the right”.

“Okay” he said, asking me to cover up. I said to him, before we thought of the next stage of surgery, I’d like to wait for the next mammogram results. “Oh” he said, “when is your mammogram booked for”. I told him I hadn’t received any notification for it. He said he’d sort it. He asked me if I felt any discomfort or pain in the boobs.

Yes I told him, where the tumor was taken out, it hurts. In both armpits, it hurts and sharp pains are also felt in the left boob now too. “Okay” he said, “I’ll get an appointment to you for the mammogram”. It’s not due till September and once you’ve had that, we can come back and talk again. But in the meantime, if you’re feeling any lumps or more bumps, call back in and we will sort out a quicker Mammogram”.

With that Mr B said “anything else”. I said “no” and I got dressed and left.

So I’d felt better for letting him have a look see and could tell he was surprised at their condition. Still a few months for the appt. they come on or around the anniversary of the last surgery. In my case, that was around September. I’m okay with that.

Although the pain is there, I’m not overly concerned. If I saw a massive change, I would be onto them fast.

Another day in the world of me!

Thank you for reading xx

Thoughts of the moment

Breast of Friends

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I’ve lived hand in hand with cancer since 2017. Everyone tells me I should keep fighting, but to me, fighting is like fighting myself. I don’t see a purpose to that. When I had my first chemo in Sept 2017, I was literally bricking it. I thought I was about to die.

When I came home that day from chemotherapy, I realised that this “way of life” that others wanted me to have, “keep fighting”, “be strong”, “you can do this”! Was a something that didn’t sit too well with me! I literally gave into other people’s expectations of what going through cancer was!!Miserable as I was then, I made a choice.

My choice was to talk to my cancer and make it my friend. Originally I thought the surgery would sort it! The docs has said it wasn’t invasive and was confined to my boobies. It wasn’t. They said it was small! It was 4 x larger than they said and had already spread.

The truth of the matter is that, my cancer, my friend, had started to spread. Where? We don’t know just yet! But beyond my lymph nodes for sure.

Why have I written this post. It’s quite simple for me. I don’t believe in looking backwards. Nin tells me I’m like a robot. I often feel it. I’m writing my biography right now and believe me, when you get to the 17 major surgery, you sort of realise just how resilient you are.

Life is truly and utterly amazing. Me and my friend walk hand in hand and if someday we argue, we’ll work on it to come to a happy conclusion.

Moreover, life is fleeting. Don’t let or allow people into your life, who zap your positivity away. Don’t bow down to the past. You either learn from it or keep focusing forward.

Easy for me to say right ? Well let me put this into context. We lost our Dad when I was 7!

I’ve had 3 laparotomies. I’ve had three failed IVF’s. I was refused adoption. I’ve had a triple heart bypass and emergency life saving heart surgery! Then I lost my Mum to breast cancer. Thank you lord for not letting my Mum see me going through Breast Cancer right now.

So when you see me smiling! I smile with all of my heart. Life is amazing. When you find yourself complaining about things, remember that girl whose water is so dirty, she risks dying from it. If your only goal in life is possessions! Fancy cars and homes, don’t include me. I’m happy in my muck and house full of cats that love me!

I don’t strive to be perfect! Perfect is what others do! I’m happy to give my last penny to that man in the street is so hungry, that his heart aches.

As for being skint!!!! I’ve been there too. Where no one helped us!

Cancer makes you poor but immensely rich of love and clarity!

Cancer, thank you for making me me.

Thoughts of the moment

Me

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