The Weird & Wonderful Things People Say When You Have Cancer

Cancer & Me

Inspired by an article I read in this months Good Housekeeping magazine and their wonderful Good Health spread on Cancer, and more specifically ‘The Way to Talk About the Big C’.  This is such an interesting point when it comes to Cancer for both the person with it and then person they are talking to.

I am the sort of person who likes to talk things over, the more I say it, the easier I can get my thoughts together in my head so when I found out I had cancer, I was happy to call friends & family & let them know what was happening and get to talk it though again and again.  For me it felt good to let everyone know & I’m not going to lie, I also enjoyed hearing all of the kind things that everyone said. Having said that, I think anyone with cancer needs to prepare themselves for the weird  things people say. The most common one being ‘I knew someone who had that cancer & died’, and my personal favourite ‘just think positively & you’ll be fine’, like that’s all it takes.

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Things to avoid saying to someone with Cancer?

  • Try and steer away from unsolicited advice.  You may know someone who cured themselves by eating beetles but sometimes to the person with cancer it can feel overwhelmed enough without extra things to think about. If they are interested in anything like this, they will ask or find out.  You could mention it as a possible option, but never make it sound like it is what they should be doing.
  • Think positively.  This drove me completely potty.  I understand you don’t want your loved one to fall into a pit of depression but  you wouldn’t ask someone to think a broken arm fixed.  I thought that Good Housekeeping worded this perfectly;

‘Cancer is not a character building test with survival as the prize’.

  • But you look fine.  The irony is a lot of cancers don’t make you look ill.  Generally speaking it’s the chemotherapy that makes you look and feel like you have cancer.  Don’t place any importance on how someone looks and it can be difficult when you feel like people aren’t appreciating how you feel  because you don’t look sick enough.
  • You look awful. Seriously… who wants to hear that….. ever?! 🙂

So what should you say?

That you love them and are here for them.  Let them guide you with what they want.  Listen, let them talk about their fears, however irrational they may seem to you, sometimes you just need to say them.  Make tea and help out wherever you can.  Know that if something you say does upset them that it is just an awful time for them and don’t take their reaction to heart.

If you have Cancer, what do you do when someone says something stupid?

Just try & remember, people aren’t saying these things to annoy you, they are saying them because they are probably shocked & feel like they need to say something & they don’t know what to say.  You may also find it is you consoling the person you have just told rather than the other way round. I personally didn’t mind this but I can see how it may be upsetting for some people (I actually started getting quite offended if people didn’t need consoling when I told them, didn’t they care?!)  Obviously they did, but whatever their reaction, remember most people are trying their best, even if they do get it wrong & you are most likely in a very raw emotional place, taking things to heart that would normally not be a big deal.  This, like all your other roller coaster of emotions, is totally natural so don’t feel bad about it.

Love xx

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer – Book Review

To Love To Read

If Carelsberg made books…

This is the most wonderful book, you can see straight away why it won the coveted Costa Book Awards.  I actually tweeted when I was about 30 pages into the book; ‘Ever found a book so amazing you want to stop reading cause you don’t want to finish it?  This is that book’.  Only the opposite happened, I read faster because I just couldn’t put it down.

I was constantly amazed at the author ability to make what could have been a sad story and make it warm, full of love and very funny.  I also loved how just when you thought the book was about one thing, it would change to be about something else but move seamlessly between the story lines.

 

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It’s not just the wonderful story lines, it is the way it is written, with beautiful language and in the first person in a way that makes you feel like the protagonist is talking directly to you.  It was very clever of the author.

I read this book as mother to two small children which gave me a certain perspective, amazingly I think this is a book that would read differently for different people and at different times in life; if you were a 18 year old man you would see a very different story, the same for a man, grandparent, you would all draw different things and perspectives from the story.

When I finished the book I had something that I have not had since I don’t know when… I wanted to immediately start again because I knew that I would love the book even more the second time.

I really hope that you enjoy this book as much as I did, please leave a comment to let me know, or let me know if you have any suggestions of what I can read next!

This book gets a fabulous 5 out of 5, enjoy!

Tweet me: https://twitter.com/njbrn – Like me: http://www.facebook.com/innerhaven – Follow this Blog xxx

Invitation to Reflexology Day!

Complementary Therapies

You are invited to come and enjoy European Reflexology Day at Inner Haven

Designed to let people find out more about this wonderful treatment and try the wonder that is Reflexology!

To celebrate this special day in the Reflexology calendar, Inner Haven have a number of offers to get you excited about all that is Reflexology and enjoy it with your friends.

Come and Try Reflexology for only £10

only on Saturday 26th April 2014

Appointments are available from 10am till 4pm

To make an appointment please call 07834789107 or email nicola.bourne@yahoo.com

Give the joy of Reflexology with a Gift Certificate

Reflexology Gift Certificates are normally £35 but between now and Reflexology Day you may purchase a Gift Certificate for only £20, to help spread the word of Reflexology.

Call me on 07834789107 or email nicola.bourne@yahoo.com to purchase yours.

Remember you only have until 26th April to make the most of this wonderful offer.

A Chance to Win a Reflexology Gift Certificate

At Inner Haven we are currently giving the chance for you to win one of 3 Reflexology Gift Certificates.  All you have to do is like our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/innerhaven and share the Reflexology Day post – good luck!

Have a Happy Reflexology Day

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion – Book Review

To Love To Read

After seeing so much about this book – EVERYWHERE and after two semesters of reading Victorian literature, I was keen to get reading and it was a great first book to get me out of my literature degree head space.

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It’s a really fun easy read with wonderful characters, you are rooting from right from the beginning. It is unashamably predictable, right from the word go so not for you if you love a mystery, but there is still enough happening that you want to keep reading to see what happens next. This book also made me laugh out loud a couple of times – always a good thing.

If you are looking for a wonderful, easy read but in a way that doesn’t just follow the standard format, especially with regards to the characters, then this book is for you!

This book gets 3.5 out of 5.

Happy reading x

Nicola B and the Big C

Cancer & Me, Journey Back to Health

Have you heard that I had cancer?  Of course you have, I talk about it…. a lot!!

Some people find this strange, a lot of people consider serious illness to be something that should be private and dealt with behind closed doors but that has never been how I felt.  I have complete respect for anyone who can handle it this way, I couldn’t keep something like this to myself, I know I would just blurt it out if I tried.

However I have taken it to another level by talking about with press and for charity campaigns.  Some people find this REALLY strange and think that I am so brave, but I had never looked at it like that.  I talk about it all the time, I can totally handle this, or so I thought?!

It all started because I contacted Cancer Research UK Patient Liaison department and told them my story.  Given the details they were keen for me to speak out and it started with a fantastic campaign for Cancer Research UK, Stand Up 2 Cancer.

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It felt so fantastic to tell the story, get it out of my system and feel like I could be putting my experience to some good.  The photo shoot with my father and children was a lot of fun.  Reading the details in black and white was strange though but I felt quite detached, like I was reading someone else’s story.  I then went on to do further features with Cancer Research (all of which I will upload here as soon as I am able), which I also really enjoyed.  Talking about it and feeling that I was doing something to help, turning it into a positive experience.

Next was an article for the Sunday Mirror, a Mother’s Day special.  It was organised by Cancer Research UK but this time it would be a Sunday Mirror journalist conducting the interview.  The focus was less about the life saving research, more about the emotional side and how it had effected our family.

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This was very hard to read.  No longer did I feel like I was reading about someone else, this was me.  It was quite strange as the article is written in the first person, even though it is actually written by a reporter.  For the first time I did feel I was brave putting this out there.  It even made me wonder if I am strong enough to be putting my story out there, telling everyone all the details of this horrific experience that not just me, also my family and friends went through.  I said to my dad ‘they’ve made it sound so dramatic’ and he said ‘that’s because IT WAS dramatic’.  Oh yeah!

Especially all the talk about bums and vagina’s – I’m such a kid I still get embarrassed mentioning things like that, never mind seeing mine specifically talked about in a national newspaper!

(I have even deleted and rewritten the above sentence a few times – its staying – in MASSIVE letters!)

It has made me realise that it is quite easy to hide behind the facts and figures and that the reality and emotional devastation it can cause is much harder to speak about, and is a lot less frequently spoken about.  I hated the fact that article finished with ‘I’m so proud of myself’ but actually, why?  I should be proud of myself.  I am pleased with what I’ve achieved.  Why I we so quick to pretend we aren’t, incase we look egotistical I guess.  At the end, this has actually made me realise I want to get my story out there even more.

 

 Why?

  • Mainly just to get the message out there.  Bowel Cancer especially is considered a ‘older persons’ disease (65 years plus), but that’s rubbish.  I was 31 when I was diagnosed and my specialists thought that I had already had cancer for 4 years – that’s 27!
  • It is embarrassing, but that is why we need to talk about it more, try to get rid of that feeling so others then feel that they in turn can be more open about it.
  • And if it comes across dramatic, that is because it was dramatic and all contributes to why more needs to be done especially when it comes to ‘young’ people and this awful disease.

I will be posting more blogs about the details of my experience so please let me know if you have any specific questions by leaving a comment, alternatively, leave a comment and let me know what your thoughts are?!

To donate to Cancer Research UK, please click here

For more information about Bowel Cancer including what to look out for, or to donate specifically, please click here

The Joy of Head Massage

Complementary Therapies

Commonly known as Indian Head Massage this gorgeous treatment is pure relaxation.  We hold so much tension in our heads, jaws, shoulders and neck and all these key areas are worked throughly during a Head Massage treatment.

There are a number of different Head Massage techniques but in the tradition Indian practice, you keep your clothes on, no oil is used and you stay sitting up in a comfortable chair.  The massage therapists will the massage, apply pressure and treat the shoulder, neck, jaw and head areas to dissolve knots and relax and release the muscles.  This can release headache-causing blockages and to encourage better circulation of the cerebral fluid, relax the entire head, neck and shoulder area, encouraging circulation and stimulating hair growth.

The benefits of Head Massage can include;

  • Relieve built up tension that can often result in headaches, migraines, neck and back pain.
  • Detoxify the body by stimulating lymphatic drainage
  • Boost overall immunity
  • Improve circulation
  • Promote clarity and increased concentration.
  • Boost cerebral spinal fluid circulation.
  • Relieve sleeplessness, restlessness and insomnia
  • Provide relief from stress and promotes relaxation
  • Renew energy levels
  • Increase feelings of peace, calm and well-being.

The Joy of Reflexology

Complementary Therapies

Over the years I have trained in a number of treatments but Reflexology always remains a firm favorite of mine.  As well as being the most wonderfully relaxing treatment, it is truly Holistic, which means that it treats the Mind, Body & Soul at the same time.

Reflexology is an ancient Chinese therapy that works on the principle that nerve endings and energy pathways all travel down to the feet and present a map of the body on the feet. By massaging and stimulating these areas, Reflexologist are able to assist in treating the body internally and removing any blackages in the body’s energy.  Reflexology is a very individual treatment that is tailored to you and your needs & current health.

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What Does Reflexology Do?

Reflexology increases movement in the circulatory (delivering blood, oxygen and nutrients to the cells and organs) and lymphatic (removing waste and toxins from the cells and organs) systems on a very physical and cellular level – you are basically flooding your cells with the good stuff and encouraging the removal of the bad stuff. Reflexology is a natural treatment that encourages your bodies own systems to work more effectively. Having said that you need to do your bit to help. Drinking lots of water being step number one to keep flushing the cells clean.

Another effective function of Reflexology is that it balances the endocrine system which is in charge of all your glands, hormones, mood balancers, stress, which can go into overdrive when stressed or run-down. Balancing the glands again, can help with that lethargic and de-motivated feeling and can help to calm you and give you more energy. You will also feel like you have more energy once you body starts to detoxify…. another massive benefit.

As part of the balancing effect on your hormones, Reflexology can be very effective in regulating ladies menstrual cycles, something I have found Reflexology particularly helpful for in my clients.

As Reflexology is primarily a holistic treatment that looks to being about reducing stress and aiding relaxation this can have a wonderful effect on any stress induced conditions in the body such as headaches and sleep problems.

On top of all this Reflexology is a very relaxing treatment that also offers wonderful pampering – heaven! 🙂

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What Can I Expect From a Reflexology Appointment?

On your first appointment, your Reflexologist will take a brief medical history and make sure everything is OK for you to go ahead with the treatment.  You will remove you shoes, socks and pull your trousers up so everything below the knee is exposed then, sit back and get nice and comfortable.  The Reflexologist will apply gentle pressure to the feet, ankles and lower legs.  This pressure shouldn’t be painful, but not so gentle it will tickle either.  I Have the most ticklish feet in the world but I am fine, it is a very different sort of pressure to someone tickling you.

How Will I Feel After My Reflexology Appointment?

You should very relaxed and calm.  Most clients also tell me that they sleep better and their general feeling of well-being is improved after a Reflexology treatment.

Reflexology During Pregnancy

Reflexology is completely safe during pregnancy as long as you have passed the 12 week point (which really is only advised to be an extra precaution) in fact I would go as far to advise it as strongly as is possible!  I had Reflexology religiously through both pregnancies and I couldn’t recommend it enough.  It helps with your energy levels as well as your general well-being.  Towards the end Reflexologyists can start working on reflex points to assist the body in getting ready for labour.

Are There Any Times I Shouldn’t Have Reflexolgy?

  • During the first 12 weeks of pregnancy
  • Any contagious skin disease ie. impetigo, scabies, chicken pox, mumps etc.
  • Any untreated severe medical condition, or acute pain (Reflexology may hide a condition which needs medical attention)
  • Severe varicose veins i.e. phlebitis (Reflexology may increase pressure of blood to veins)
  • Any form of infection, disease or fever (can make client feel worse and spread infection to the therapist)
  • Diarrhoea and/or vomiting
  • Cuts, grazes, open skin, rashes, bites, burns, severe eczema or psoriasis, fractures, athletes foot, verrucaes, inflammation or bruising on the feet.
  • Cervical spondylitis
  • Haematoma
  • Epilepsy
  • If you have any condition, disease or illness that you are currently visiting a GP or specialist for, you should get written consent from them that you are able to have Reflexology treatments before you begin.

 

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Treatments are based in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, close to the station. To purchase a Gift Certificate please call 07834 789 107 or email nicola.bourne@yahoo.com