health, holistic health, ovarian cancer, positivity, yoga

Do You ‘Self-Destruct’?

Have you ever slipped into ‘self-destruction’ mode when what you really needed was ‘self-care’?

I certainly have…and more recently than you might think!

Lately I’ve found myself making all kinds of excuses for this – ‘I’ve lost a lot of weight I should eat high calorie processed food to regain it’ – ‘my body is tired, it’s ok to eat sugar’ – ‘I’m too exhausted to go out in nature today’ – and you should see my Amazon purchases after a hospital admission!…yes all books but no definitely not ones I needed!

All of these were excuses for not supporting my body, mind and spirit to properly recover. Instead I was giving myself a hard time, not acknowledging reality and, in fact, making my situation worse through self-judgment rather than much needed self-love.

Realisation, finally, hit me yesterday when I said to my nurse “I’m just too tired to do anything” – now, firstly, dramatic statements like this (in my experience) are usually just excuses and secondly, her reply was the wake up all I needed.

She reminded me what I’ve been through lately: 9 weeks of vomiting; 10 days in and out of hospital; two stone weight loss; an abdominal drain of malignant fluid; being told my cancer had spread (again); an IV of two broad spectrum antibiotics for a week; unable to eat for over a month; starting an immunotherapy trial…need I go on?

I realised that despite all of this happening, what I hadn’t done was give myself the necessary time to properly understand the effect this has had on my emotional and spiritual health.

Yes I’d started lots of self care practices – yoga, acupuncture, reiki, reflexology, Body Stress Release etc but I had done so with the frustrated mentality of ‘why isn’t it fixed yet?!’

What I’d needed to do instead was to treat the wounded parts of myself with care and compassion (like you would a small child – a friend recently suggested)

So yesterday I embraced what these parts needed (in particular after a long day in hospital getting dose two of my immunotherapy) – an afternoon cuddling my hubby in the sofa with Ozzy watching comedies…tick!

Then today I did the same. I didn’t get up at the crack of dawn like usual but instead had a lazy morning getting up only in time for my medication; then I sat about in my pjs eating a leisurely breakfast while watching Ted talks before me and Ozzy set out for a long walk in nature just the two of us – allowing me some valuable alone time in nature.

It feels so refreshing to be giving myself ‘permission’ to acknowledge that I am wounded rather than fighting this reality with frustration. In doing so, I am allowing myself the time it takes to truly heal and become whole again.

I wonder if you’ve acknowledged the wounds you’ve gained recently or in the past and if you’ve given yourself permission to take the time and space you need(ed) to heal?

Or perhaps you can relate to being in the ‘self-destruct’ mode through diet, exercise, indulgent or impulsive shopping, self judgement or anything else?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

Love and light, Fi xxx

ovarian cancer

Megginch Castle: Chemo 4 – Day 7

Today I woke feeling much as I had over the past few days since receiving my fourth chemo dose, only now with the added side affect of ‘roid rage’ – this is caused by the steroids I need to take in the days before and following a chemo dose now leaving my system. This manifests suddenly with me becoming unreasonably emotional and angry. It’s not pleasant and it’s not pretty – but it does pass! Also it’s easier to deal with now I know what causes it – the first couple of doses of chemo I felt like I was loosing my mind!
Although still feeling ill I decided to combat these emotions this  round by having a day out with my husband and parents. First stop was an awesome lunch at my favourite cafe who specialise in accommodating food allergies – making my life a lot easier! It’s amazing how much more human I can feel after a bowl of hot soup! I also find that being out and about and around people helps me to feel better – as long as I don’t try to over do it or stay out too long. 

Megginch Castle – which isn’t too far away – were having their annual open garden day today where they allow members of the public to explore the beautiful grounds with the aim of raising funds for Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre. This provided our next stop and a great opportunity to take advantage of the lovely spring weather and, or course, an ever welcome opportunity to spend some healing time in nature. I’m very grateful for their chosen beneficiary. Maggie’s have provided such valuable support and care for me and my family during my diagnosis and treatment and it’s always lovely to see people realising this value and helping support them!

  
The family at Megginch Castle provided a warm and friendly welcome and the gardens were absolutely stunning! I felt so relaxed and comfortable strolling around their beautiful walled gardens and then resting for a cup of tea on the lawn with the other visitors. I only wish they were open to the public more often!  

  There really is something wonderful about spending time in nature. It’s so calming and I truly believe it is healing too. Simply being outside, breathing in fresh air and enjoying the scenery encourages a slower, medatative pace that allows me to enjoy the moment and – for at least a while – disconnect from being a ‘cancer patient’.

  In nature I feel relaxed and calm and, dare I say it, healthy. Such a priceless feeling and one we often take for granted. Instead we are often guilty of rushing around always ‘doing’ and never just ‘being’ – well I was anyway until my diagnosis! Time in nature, however, forces us to enjoy the moment; to look at the trees; to enjoy wondering down the shaded pathways; to loose our thoughts watching a bumble bee choose a flower – it’s beautiful and nothing quite compares.

I hope those reading this are taking some precious time to enjoy nature too.

Fi xx 
 

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Rescued by a Dog…

When I got a rescue dog two weeks ago I thought I was doing him a favour…that I was rescuing him…I was wrong.

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In the last two weeks our new addition to the family has ensured that every day, even when I don’t feel like it, I get up early and I go outside. So now, before I do anything else I am getting fresh air in my lungs!

He has also ensured that, come rain or shine, I go for a walk every single day. So even when I’m tired and want to curl up on the sofa I am still having to go out…for him…

…and you know what?…I always feel better after our walk. Yes sometimes I feel tired, and yes sometimes this tiredness results in a couple of hours sleeping. But I always feel more alive.

And what’s more important…he’s giving a purpose to my day.

So whilst I thought I had rescued him…in reality…I think he’s rescuing me.

love and light, Fi xx

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CT Scan…finding the cancer

Following the news I had cancer my consultant asked me to come to hospital the next day and be admitted as an inpatient. This was so I could get a CT scan, some medication to manage the pain and sickness and a drip to manage my dehydration.

I was told to arrive at 10am and, because I didn’t know how long I’d be in for and because I love an excuse for some nature time, I went for an early morning walk with my husband. Isn’t there something magical about the cold winter air when you are feeling down and crapy?!

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It was a beautiful day and really helped to give us some perspective, and time away from our constantly buzzing phones(!), to just be alone together and talk about what was going to be happening over the next year.

When we arrived at the hospital I was put on a drip as planned – cue a million attempts at getting a cannula in my hand!…hard to believe I used to be a blood donor with the hopeless veins I know have!

I was told I’d been booked in for my CT scan at 2pm so in the meantime I sat and chatted with my husband and two sisters playing ‘Cards Against Humanity’ – if you’ve not played it before I can only warn you that it is not for the faint hearted(!!) and probably sums up my dry sense of humour entirely! It is a great laugh!

There was almost a sense of relief in going for my CT scan – it may sound crazy but I knew it was taking me one step closer to my recovery and although I knew it was likely to uncover news I didn’t want to hear, it was all part of the necessary process. However, once I was in the CT room I had what we will call my first ‘moment’. They had to put dye in the cannula in my hand and it was so painful! I am pretty good on the old pain threshold side of things but wow was that a sore one! I cried and think I may of actually screamed at one point as the poor nurse injected the dye and rubbed my hand for comfort.  On reflection, this was the first time I had been alone since my diagnosis and I think what actually caused this reaction wasn’t the pain but the reality of a long journey in which often only medical staff would be able to hold my hand.

The CT scan only lasted about 10 minutes and then I was able to go back to my bed on the ward. I was exhausted – it is amazing how much cancer (and not being able to eat because of cancer) exhausts you!

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That evening my husband and I met with two oncologists and were told the early results of the CT scan. They explained that they review the suspected primary sites first (in my case my ovaries) and then your vital organs (head, liver and lungs) and then the rest. Whilst we knew we would get the full results the following day following their multi-disciplinary team (MDT) meeting they wanted to let us know that it had been confirmed that I had cancer in my ovaries and that my head and liver were clear – well thank f%&k for that…some monumental good news in a sea of crazy!

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That night I didn’t sleep well – a result of having a bed next to the nurses station and the anxiety of waiting for the full results the next day.

love and light, Fi xx