Tag Archive | families

Breast cancer – no death sentence

A week ago I attended a reunion dinner—not for authors, but for women, young and old, from all walks of life. And as I looked around at the sixty or so women in the room, I felt inspired, and I had an upsurge of hope and gratitude, for we were all breast cancer survivors… and all still ALIVE.
We were part of the Encore group, run by the YWCA for those who have breast cancer, where I had participated in their wonderful hydrotherapy program.
I was a ‘newbie’ among the group, only in my first year of survival. The lovely lady alongside me told me she had been diagnosed fifteen years ago and had been back each year for her check, with no recurrence of the disease.

And as I felt the lifting of the dread that affects all of us who are diagnosed with that scourge of womanhood, I thought that if I can give hope to only one woman, then it is worth writing about my experience.

When my GP told me she thought the thickening in my breast was cancer, I found it hard to accept. It couldn’t be! Not me! But a mammogram confirmed the deadly suspicion.

At my first consultation with the specialist he spelt it all out. There was no doubt about the diagnosis, and he explained all the possibilities, and I was left in no doubt that I must have a mastectomy.
Yes, I was going to lose a breast. That takes a bit of coming to terms with.

I went through a range of tests – MRI scan, PET scan, blood tests etc. …you name it, I probably had it.

    I was grateful for the loving support of my husband, who was with me every step of the way.

Then back to the next consultation. The cancer had not spread…yet…but I must have surgery as soon as possible, and we were given the next available date; in two weeks time.
Then a consultation with a breast nurse. These dedicated nurses are there to answer all the questions you have about the process. We discussed breast reconstruction, and prostheses, or breast forms as they are called, and she had examples there for us to see. Amazingly these are so realistic now they even feel like the real thing, and absorb the body temperature when you wear them.

The day of surgery arrived, and I admit I was scared. When I woke up in recovery I remember my first words were, ‘I’m still alive’. I had little pain, then or at any time while in hospital, and, while recovering at home, simple panadol was enough to ease any discomfort.
The next morning my specialist called in early to tell me the surgery had been successful, and the cancer had been all removed. A little later in the morning the whole breast cancer team visited, and we discussed all relevant issues.

After a short stay in hospital, it was home, and then a few months of visits to the hospital for treatment. I was fortunate in not needing Chemo or radiotherapy, and after I returned for my first annual mammogram and visit to the specialist, I was able to dispense with the drug I had been taking, and I was told my prognosis was good.
To celebrate, my husband and I went on a cruise, and returned just in time for Christmas, which we spent with family, including our two young grand-daughters.

So now, after a year and more since diagnosis, I am looking forward to a long and healthy future. Along with all my fellow-survivors at the Encore reunion dinner.

So don’t lose hope—remember…


Review of ‘Duet”

I have mixed feelings about this book. It is a very long and involved story and I almost gave it away a couple of times but I persevered because I wanted to see how the author, who is very talented, would draw all the pieces together in the end. It is a tale of two women, alike but different, and how their lives intertwine. Angela is a pop singer and Ellie is a soprano with a passionate love of opera.When Angela suffers an accident with a blow to the head and loses her memory, she disappears and George, her manager, frantic at losing her, persuades Ellie to 4739487take her place. What is intended as a short, temporary measure, becomes longer as George is unable to find Angela.What ensues is a deception fueled by greed on both Ellie’s and George’s side, and a desire by Angela to remain unaware of her past, flashes of which tell her that it is best left unknown.Of the two women, Angela is the most likeable character, but I felt sorry for Ellie too, as she finds fame but happiness seems to elude her.I’m afraid I found the ending was based on just too many coincidences to be totally plausible. I wavered between giving this three or four stars, I would like to be able to use three and a half, but as I rated Wildflower Hill by the same author, which I thoroughly enjoyed, as four, I am giving this three stars.


Can family eating help weight loss?

I wonder how many families manage to eat their meals together these days, it often seems that it’s a lost way of life. But it’s a habit that leads to better nutrition, and lessens the risk of weight gain and substance abuse. Family eating not only strengthens family ties and helps keep you in touch with what’s happening in your children’s lives, it can lead to better physical and mental health for both you and your children.

If you can make mealtimes a pleasant experience, when you all come together as a family, you will all benefit. Turn off the television, the video games and the computer. Encourage your children to join in the conversation at the dinner table – but don’t let them take over! It should be a time when parents and children can all share the happenings of their day, an opportunity for togetherness. It’s a positive experience for your children that leads to happier and well adjusted children. Encourage your children to help prepare meals, set the table and help with dishes.

Taking meals with friends and family also helps your children form positive attitudes about food and eating, and creates happy family memories they will remember all their lives. I well remember mealtimes when I was a child, as part of a large family, when we all sat down together. Children tend to copy their parents’ attitudes to foods. They won’t see healthy eating as important if it isn’t something they see you do. Meals can be simple. You don’t need to have gourmet foods. Simple, tasty, but healthy meals are best for families. Use positive messages when talking to your children about food. Let them know that most foods fit into a healthy diet, but all in moderation. Positive messages help to avoid the stress and guilt that can lead to eating disorders and poorer eating patterns as children get older.

It’s important for children to adopt a healthy lifestyle starting at a young age. Parents play an important role in helping to shape children’s eating habits. Of course you must use common sense; a two year old who doesn’t want to sit still for more than five minutes can’t be expected to sit for half an hour at a dinner table. But by the time they’re five, children should be able to sit at the table and start to learn good table manners. They should then be able to take their place in family mealtimes. It’s a habit that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Researchers have found that teenage girls who eat five or more family meals per week are less likely to resort to extreme dieting measures like using diet pills or laxatives, binge eating, and vomiting to control their weight. The results suggest that encouraging family eating may be an effective way to combat the growing problem of eating disorders and overweight in teenage girls and children.

Sometimes parent’s working hours make this impractical for every day, but surely it’s worth while making an effort to eat together as often as possible. You will all benefit.