Friday, January 31, 2014

Not so good...

Today When I stand I retch. My head sways on my shoulders. My eyes feel sorry for me and perform a silent waterfall. 

Nausea taps me on the shoulder as soon as I get up.  So I lie back down on the settee.

When my tumour was discovered, if my surgeon had told me what life would be like, I would have smiled and politely told him, shred the scan images, rewind. Let's pretend this is not happening...

Like an Emu with his head in the sand I wish I could ignore these symptoms but today like a thunderstorm they insist on being heard...

Friday, January 24, 2014

New Year. New Hair Style. New Life

The last time my hair was past my shoulders I was sweet fourteen. It was as brown as the mud in our allotment and either tied up in bunches or lay lazily and unbrushed on my shoulders scraped back with a pale blue Alice band.  But my denial of all fashionable things nearly drove my sis Mandy insane. Then after one day too many of no brushing they 'made' me have it cut Purdy Style!

I hated it and cried rainfalls while staring at myself in Mums bedroom mirror. But it was cut. I never had it long again....

...Over the last couple of weeks I have shredded my old life. Filled two huge green bins with it. Gone.

I couldn't have shredded it last year. But now as each page of degree work, nursing documentation, letters from old jobs, old house moves, meet the sharp teeth. I feel lighter. So light I almost floated to the hairdressers. 

I accidentally missed my hair appointment on the 2nd January, so today I tell Toby: I want to go blonder and keep the length. I'm growing it you see...

A lady I admire said today:
You can't change your past. But you can do something about your Future!

Well Future here I come I hope you are ready for me...!!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Nelson Mandela: I am the master of my fate: I am the Captain of my soul

When asked who I would most like to have dinner with, I would answer Nelson Mandela in less than an eyes blink!

I am not the only one inspired by this powerful leader. 7.2 million Tweets flew across screens in the five hours following Nelson's death; at their peak 95,000 messages were tweeted each minute.

This winter on holiday as I soaked up a generous dose of December sunshine I pored over newspapers which made the journey with me. As I read obituaries and quotes Nelson's voice spoke of my personal journey...

Coping with diagnosis and surgery:

…I learned that courage was not the absence of fear but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid but he who conquers that fear

…and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Dealing emotionally with the tumour and its consequences/complications

No time for bitterness there is so much to do (to recover, learn to walk again and get on with life). with and beyond a tumour

The greatest glory in living, is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

Nelson realised his smile was part of his power. He stood rod straight and was always first to greet people because he believed that: Appearances matter…and remember to smile (Smiles and strong body language helped me to combat stares during the months I wore a helmet and since due to my ‘funny walk’)

After climbing a great hill one only finds that there are many more hills to climb...but....A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.

It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.

It always seems impossible until it’s done.

Whilst in prison he read verses to fellow captives. In particular:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the Master of my fate:
I am the Captain of my soul.
 William Ernest Henley

As I watched the ward's action from my bed I was surprised to see others unwilling to help themselves. When it took me two hours to pull my anti-embolism stockings onto my floppy legs Charlie, one of the a nurses said, you never give up do you?..why would I? I replied.

So this final quote resonated:
Once a person is determined to help them selves there is nothing that can stop them...

Because I am the Master of my fate. I am the Captain of my soul

Nelson Mandela 1918-2013
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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Neglected housework!

At the moment, like a resting seal, I plonk myself down on the settee several times in the day. No radio. No music. No TV. It feels like a set back, but I know not to dwell, to let things be as my brain gradually adapts to my recent Anti Epilepsy Drug, dose increase. 

I stare out of the window at my limp bird feeders and am shocked at the scarcity of tweeters, a few arrive, take a sniff then swoop away, their wings drooping with disappointment! I wonder what's wrong I say to  Mr H when he walks, fully suited, through the door.

The next morning I step outside to check and discover the peanuts have wrapped themselves together in a blue furry coat to shelter from the rain, the sunflower seeds have melted into sludge. Neglect! I yank on my yellow garden gloves and set to. The Peanut feeder is beyond rescue and I bury it in the bin. I dig out the sunflower slime with a knife and after more washes than I have had  this week I soak them in disinfectant as I grieve for the unfed birds. I should have followed the RSPB Advice on Hygiene for bird feeding...

Saturday morning I wake to the sound of tweeting, but as 'rushing' was tipped out of my life long ago, I saunter with a hobble downstairs to check.

Seven goldfinches flitter from branch to feeder as they take turns to peck out their breakfast, two blue tits and a robin patiently wait their turn before hitting the peanuts instead. I squeal Mr H my children are back!

Picture from the RSPB

In order to see birds it is necessary to become part of the silence
Robert Lynd

Monday, January 6, 2014

NO - sprinkle it in and watch calmness rise

If I had a pound for every time I have listened to a friend or colleague say
I don't know how I am going to fit it all in, I am drowning in work as they run their hands through their hair in despair, I would be able to fund a lot of brain tumour research!

Try saying No I would reply! Oh but I can't what would they think? How else will it get done?

Before my brain tumour I was a doer and taker on-er too. Occasionally I would pull that teeny word out of my pocket and say a polite...No as I braced myself for the onslaught of reasons why No was not on the menu. Nine times out of ten I was surprised by the response, the request was transferred to another plate...

No can be like a magic wand. A strong NO to a well behaved child is enough to stop it in its tracks. Whereas when used with a well behaved adult it is best served on a dish with dressing: 

I would love to help you but unfortunately I have so much else on at the moment I would not be able to do it justice...

The dressing I now have to use is fatigue; 
...I would love to but I have to pace myself and can at best only manage one thing in a day so sorry but no
...thank you for thinking of me but no thank you....

Getting used to adding No to my recipe of life has taken time but I now have the ingredients about right as I mix a few no's with an occasional yes and watch calmness rise!

Try flipping over Moto Moto's response to Gloria as he answers question after question...and say...I promise the answer will always be No. Unless Yes is required! (Madagascar) 

"Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough" Josh Billings

View from our balcony on the ship! Heaven!