Time to Think Positively…

When I started this blog I had a well-structured, handwritten timetable of how I wanted to post (alongside new highlighters to make it look pretty). My energy and enthusiasm for wanting to share my cancer experience drove me.

So why after just 12 posts do I find it so hard to find the words?

Today I read a blog by a colleague at work and a quote from it struck a cord with me so I had to ‘borrow’ it for mine! (Thanks Francesca)

YOU CAN BE SAD, ANGRY, UPSET, ANXIOUS, DRAINED, OVERWHELMED UNSURE OR AFRAID – AND STILL BE POSITIVE.

The thing is Covid brought back all those fears I had felt with Cancer, fears that I was still living with. I had let them consume my mind.

So from today…

It’s time to focus on Positivity, and accept that it can sit comfortably beside the fear and uncertainty.

A Well-being seminar that I joined today suggested writing down 3 positives from each day. I like that idea. OK, so it’s an excuse for more coloured pens to use in my journal, but I feel I am doing my bit keeping the stationary business going during these difficult times.

Its time to embrace my new passion for gardening. Coming from a market gardening family, at the age of 49 I have finally found the joy of watching little seedlings grow, although I think my husband is already starting to despair as more and more seed packets come through the post. I just want to grow plants to be able to give to cancer patients, to make them smile like I did when there were gifts left at the chemo ward.

…and finally its time to get back to this blog, and looking back at the next stage of my treatment. A time where I felt rock bottom, the mastectomy…

Cancer DOES define me…

One thing that has played on my mind a lot recently, is hearing people say they won’t let cancer define them. I really can see why they say this, but for me I think it has to. It came in and changed my life and made me sit back and think about what is important to me.

The other day I found myself very quickly telling a colleague all about my cancer and then wondered if it bored people. Then I thought back to the day where the nurse said to me ‘sorry, its cancer’ and I cried at that word. Because that word IS scary. Cancer does kill people, but it can also be treated. Some people will live with it as a long term health condition… but for our society it is still a word we fear, and that is what I would like to see change.

5 years ago my son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes age 21. From a normal life where he had just finished his degree at Liverpool University he had to adapt to a lifelong condition where he has to inject himself multiple times a day. I remember crying when he got that diagnosis and wondering what difference it would make to his life. I wanted to drive the 400 miles to give him a hug and look after him. My husband at that time just said OK, it was something that he would have to get used to. Not beating about the bush – I couldn’t accept that – I wanted to protect Olly. Now when I had my cancer diagnosis I was faced with a similar kind of situation and I was the one telling everyone it was no big deal.

18 months after diagnosis I’ve completed all the major treatments, and am on Hormone Therapy. I can’y help but worry about every ache and pain. I don’t get a headache anymore – I convince myself it’s brain cancer. The mid-life’ hip pain – my mind tells me that it’s cancer that’s gone to my bones. Even the lump on my little finger which my doctor confidently says is arthritis – I was sure it must be finger cancer… I googled it, so it must be true.

But there are so many positives. I really appreciate every call with family, every text to and from my kids. The pictures of them and their partners take me back to how carefree life was when I was that age. I find myself recalling memories from the past to them…just in case anything happens to me. I’ve even decided that for if I am ever lucky enough to have grandchildren that I want to be Nanna Nikki, and keep dropping that in, so if I’m not around when that time comes they will know what I would like to be called.

Cancer treatment became my life, and now with daily tablets and monthly injections the reminder is still there.

But I am a different person this side of diagnosis, I live for the moment and try not to worry too much about the future. I am stopping to think what I want from life, and how I want to spend my time, instead of drifting along. I am learning each day what is important to me, and my only goal is to make the most of everyday. I hope I am a happier, less stressed person for it.

My first blog, was Thankyou Cancer and I do keep thinking back to this. I’ve lost friends and family to cancer and it does not deserve any praise. I’ve seen the devastation it can cause. Too many people are still dying of this terrible disease. The ‘Cancer Club’ was not one that anyone would choose to be part of, but its given me the chance to meet some amazing people and also to learn so much about myself.

So yes, cancer has changed my life, and in doing that it defines me – its up to me to make it for the better…

A Rainbow of Gin for the NHS…

For all Key Workers…

Red – Whitney Neill Raspberry Gin

Orange – The Infusionist Gingerbread Gin Liqueur

Yellow – Ungava Canadian Premium Gin

Green – The Clean Liquor Co No 10 – Clean Gin – Ultra Low Alcohol

Blue – Tarquins Christmas Gin

Inidigo – The Pleasure Gardens Mary-le-Bone London Dry

Violet – The Artful Pour – Violet Gin

Other Gins are available….

For the Nurses and Doctors, Midwives, Managers, Admin staff, Paramedics, Porters – everyone who keep our hospitals running not just for Coronavirus. For me its for the amazing Chemo Nurses who have been supporting isolating patients for years and are my personal heroes.

For Care Workers who are also having to be the family for the elderly who may not understand why they no longer have visitors.

For all Key Workers, especially my DWP colleagues working so hard to get payments to people at a time where they really need it.

Thankyou,

Love Nikki xx