Sunday, 4 March 2012

Number Forty Nine: The Opportunities

I’ve done a few fun things lately that wound not have come about had it not been for The Beast Breast…but also would not have come about without Breast Cancer Care!

I’ve written a quote for the Younger Women’s leaflet for Breast Cancer Care and had some of my blog posts posted in their new ‘Behind the Woman’ campaign.
I’ve been to London to take part in a photo shoot for the new leaflet- there I was with some other lovely lovely ladies having my photo taken in a busy and very funky restaurant! Some of the pictures are of me chatting with the other women and some are of me posing with an orange- acting like I’m preparing a healthy smoothy! (So so close to reality- I’m currently scoffing Drumstick lollies from one of Ben’s party bags whilst he sleep unaware upstairs!)
Following this photo shoot I received an email from the organiser- Clare asking if I would mind my photo and story being used for a newsletter that goes out to BCC supporters. My mum was confused as to what exactly I meant- I clarified by saying ‘You know, when you donate to Dog’s Trust you might receive a photo of a sad stray puppy in the post; now if you support BCC you just might be lucky enough to get a picture of me landing on your doormat!
A few weeks ago I did an interview over the phone with a journalist from Psychologies magazine- this was incredibly nerve wracking as I tend to babble and was in constant fear that I would say something ridiculous and it would end up in print!
On Friday a photographer and make up artist came to take a portrait picture of me for the Psychologies article. They were proper pros and came from London and everything! The lovely lovely make up artist had made up loads of famous faces- Robbie Coltraine, Vinnie Jones, but what was most lovely about her was how lovely she was with Ben. The photographer took photos of Rob Lowe last year! I found this incredibly impressive and couldn’t help thinking how thrilled she must have been to travel 2 hours to take my photo! She was also lovely with a potentially very bored 4 year old. She gave him the very important job of holding the light meter in the air- he looked very proud!

All of these opportunities stemmed from meeting the very lovely Emma at the BCC Younger Women’s forum. Today my husband has run his first ever half marathon and is raising money for Breast Cancer Care- he did so well despite his trademark lack of preparation!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Number Forty Eight: The Edge

A knife edge… a cliff edge… you name an edge and I’m on it! I’ve recently realised that I am coping really well… really well as long as everything runs smoothly. A tiny bump in the road, kink in the plan or hiccup in my day and I come crashing down. These issues can range from anything tiny like ‘we’ve run out of milk’ (again) to big decisions over childcare, work or relationships. And when I say ‘I come crashing down’ I mean that I lose the ability to think straight, concentrate but most infuriatingly I lose the ability to sleep! The tiniest worry will have me wide eyed at 3am, thoughts buzzing round in my tiny brain, stress building up about how to get back to sleep and calculations being made about just how tired I will be tomorrow… well today- later today as it is already tomorrow. Ugh!
I think we can safely say that the PMA is dwindling. You’d think being a positive substance it would in fact be self-replenishing but maybe it’s finite after all! Yep, I’ve spent a year harping on about how I will now face life with a new carefree attitude; cancer had shocked me into living a better life… What an idiot! All I’ve actually done is clarified number one on my ‘What to worry about’ List.

‘What to Worry About’
  1. Have I failed at my very own cancer promise to myself? I was going to ‘not sweat the small stuff’, I promised myself I’d enjoy life but I can’t help reverting back to my old, worrying self! Did I set myself up to fail?
  2. Am I going to be fat FOREVER?
  3. Have I led the most predictable and boring life ever?
  4. Should I stop working to look after my children rather than trust someone else and pay them most of what I’m earning anyway!
  5. Should I be working more/longer hours/ harder? I’m very aware that I no longer look ill and worry that colleagues will think I’m a slacker. (No one has even hinted at this it is purely a negative fantasy! I spend a lot of time wondering what I myself would be thinking about myself if I weren’t myself!…I’ve never been very forgiving of people having time off work and so imagine that others think I’m lazy and work-shy!)
  6. It’s not until September but… Will my son get a teacher who ‘gets him’ and will he enjoy school life?
  7. Am I only a blue rinse away from looking like that old lady from Coronation Street?  (Can’t remember her name- haven’t watched it since I was about 12!)
  8. Will I ever get my career back on track? Should I be patient and give myself time or should I be pushing myself now?
  9. Does my husband only like watching Spartacus because he misses the sight of two boobs? (Again… my issue, not his- his only complaints are firmly in my imagination only)
  10. Will it come back?
  11. How can I get back to sleep?

I wish I could recapture the positivity I spoke so much about. I wish I could feel less on edge. Please can I just stop teetering and step back, relax and admire the view?

Monday, 2 January 2012

Number Forty Seven: The Inspiration!

I’ve found a theme running through people’s cancer reactions… flattery! ‘Ooh, you’re so brave!’ ‘I wouldn’t cope as well as you’ve done.’ ‘You’ve been so amazing and courageous!’ Seriously- even the word ‘inspirational’ is frequently banded about- it’s enough to go to a girl’s head! Warning! This can be dangerous, just the other day, I was feeling particularly low and irritable, I can’t even remember what my husband said to set me off but my reaction still makes me laugh aloud several weeks later. This is what I said…
‘God! Everyone else thinks I’m amazing you know! Why don’t you think I’m an inspiration? You don’t treat me like I’m special... where are my treats and presents?’
Yep, I hear you thinking- What a brat! The moral is people- don’t believe the hype! It’s kind of people to dish out these compliments but the truth is they would cope just as well. I don’t remember thinking to myself ‘Right, I’m no wimp, I can do this, I’m strong and will put up an amazing fight!’ but I do remember that there was no other option… at no point did I weigh up my options because there was no other option. I have a lot to live for so I will do everything in my power to lengthen my stay! When people say that they wouldn’t be as brave as me I say ‘Yes you would, what other choice is there?’
I am no more amazing than the next person but the real truth is we are all pretty amazing. It’s quite amazing how much a person can cope with and overcome- far more than I hope I’ll ever have to face. It is my strong belief that no matter how scared you might feel at the beginning there will be plenty of days you feel proud of what you’ve endured. So take those well meant compliments and bask in your own inspirational wonder- just don’t expect those closest to you to keep the compliments coming- remember you’re not going through this alone, whoever it is that makes up your support network will need support in return. So to my husband I say I very public ‘Sorry’ for the irritable days and a huge ‘Thank you’ for being my amazing inspiration! Bleugh!