5 TOP TIPS FOR CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR WITH CANCER

images-1Going through Christmas and New Year when you have cancer can be a strange thing. It becomes more poignant, more emotional, more lovely, more sad, more everything… I know from first hand that heightened emotions that come from big occasions and family get-together can therefore become a little stressful and require a lot more planning. That’s why I wrote about attending any big occasion in my book, but with Christmas tomorrow (how is it here already) I thought I would share a couple of Top Tips that I found made Christmas easier…

1. THINK THE DAY THROUGH

In your mind, walk through the day so you can get your head around how the day is expected to play out. For example if you are visiting your parents for the day it may be something like:

  • It’s a two-hour drive there and I will need to take painkillers during that time so I must have some water and fruit with me in the car
  • I’ll wear something comfy in the car and change into my outfit when I get there so I need to pack my outfit
  • We aren’t eating until 4pm but I will need a snack to take medication with at lunchtime so I will take some nuts for then
  • I need to change plasters at 2pm but we will be having a pre-lunch walk then so I need to make sure I do it before we leave for our walk and take plasters with me.
  • So on…

Doing this should help take out the element of surprise and make it less nerve-racking.

FABULOUS TIP – I find it easy to remember to take medication when I am at home but when I come out of my normal routine I easily forget. Set a reminder on your phone to make sure you don’t lose track of what you need to be taking and when. 

2. YOUR HANDBAG

This will be your home away from home whilst at an event, but to save you walking around with a bag that is gong to break your shoulder, I would go for the cute little bag that holds your phone and the bits that you would normally take out with you and then a second bag for medical supplies, change of outfit, whatever it may be, that you can leave in the car / under the table for if and when you need it.

FABULOUS TIP – Take double the number of the essentials you need. If you know you will need two painkillers during the time period, take four. That way if you get caught in traffic or end up staying later than planned or anything like that, you know you’re covered. 

3. YOUR OUTFIT

If you need to change bandages or plasters, make sure they are easily accessible in what you are wearing – or that you will be able to go somewhere and change when needed.

Have your outfit completely ready to go before-hand and that means everything – tights, fascinator, coat, underwear, wig, scarf, literally the whole outfit from top to bottom, including everything that you need in your handbag. Will save you panicking on the day because you can’t find the right denier tights.

4. KNOW WHEN TO LEAVE

Don’t feel like you have to be the last one to leave. Do as much as you can and when you start to feel like it is enough, tell your host that you are starting to feel unwell and have to leave.

I found tiredness would creep up on me and suddenly I would be beyond exhausted. Once I was at that point of exhaustion, I would be knocked out for the next few days and the pain would then be difficult to stay on top of, so it was always best for me to leave before that point.

5. LET IT GO

Having said that, we all need a blow out every now and then – especially when going through something like cancer, so don’t feel bad if you do get caught up in the moment and spend the next few days paying for it, just enjoy yourself, you definitely deserve it!

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Coping Strategies – Cancer When You Have Children

I was recently emailed by a lady asking if I had any specific coping strategies that I could share for attempting to fight cancer and be a present parent for your child, that you want to be the best mum ever for?

It really got me thinking.  I don’t know if you can fight cancer and be an ever-present, best mum – well I mean, I’m sure you are the best, but maybe not in the all-encompassing way you envisioned.  It’s hard, there are no two ways about it.  I had such a clear idea what I thought motherhood was going to be and cancer was robbing me of it.

I’m not sure that I did cope, it was a constant and evolving situation and you just keep trying.  But, here are a few things that I learnt along the way.

Keep things in perspective.

When I used to get upset about not being with the children for certain things, my husband used to say  “the kids don’t care if you are there the first time they roll over or whatever, they care if you are there on their first day of school or get married, but even if you miss those… They only really care if you are alive.”  I used to try to keep that in mind when I felt I was missing out because it’s so true.

Getting to be at home with my baby girl
Getting to be at home with my baby girl

Carve out some special time.

When I was having chemotherapy or was bed bound, I used to get the children in to my bed and read them their bed time story.  Or go and snuggle up with them on the sofa whilst they had TV time.

Little one’s love routine so if there is one part of the day, no matter how tiny, that they can know you will be involved in, I think it works quite well.

Bonds are built on more than time.

The bond with my daughter was something I worried about as she was only three months old when I was diagnosed.  When you are pregnant you are told about all these things you have to do with your baby, otherwise you are basically stamping all over their childhood and any chance of you bonding with each other, but it’s not true.  My daughter and I have a wonderful bond.  We love each other eternally and no amount of being in hospital and chemotherapy has changed any of that.

Plus you are going through their childhood with a determination to live for them that most other parents will never experience.  So don’t panic if you aren’t around as much as you planned because your bond will still be the same.

Give Yourself a Break

It’s not much I know, but hopefully it will help.  Most importantly, give yourself a break and just enjoy all the moments that you can.

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#100ActiveDays – Day 5

I have had a lovely active afternoon today.  A long walk around the park and then lots of playing kick-about with the children (more tiring than I would have suspected) including even more walking to get there and home.

It’s not always easy to stay active when you have children, but it’s obviously good for them too, so win win!

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Kiddie Friendly Green Juice – AKA Dinosaur Juice

I never thought in a month of Sunday’s I would be able to get my children to drink Green Juice, they seem to have built-in aversions to any vegetables so hiding them is key for me.

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I actually can’t take all the credit for this, as the starting block came from Peppa Pig (don’t all life affirming moments when you are under 5) and the episode when they made smoothies and juices including a Dinosaur Juice. Suddenly drinking some green wasn’t so unappealing but it still had to taste good. So I upped the fruit content et voila, the kids love it, phew!

This recipe is;

  • A splash of Filtered Water
  • 2 large handfuls of Kale
  • 2 sticks of Celery
  • 10 Strawberries
  • Half a medium Pineapple

I throw everything is my amazing Blendtec (new love of my life) and 40 secs later, have this wonderful juice.

Here is the Peppa Pig episode if you think your kids could benefit from learning about Dinosaur Juice!

Happy Juicing x

 

Clean Cocoa Coconut Bites

This is based on a recipe from Honestly Healthy a fabulous cookbook full of healthy clean recipes that I can’t recommend enough.  What I love most, especially during my 100 Healthy Days and since giving up processed sugar is the snacks and desserts section.  Yes they can be clean and here is one of my favourite at the moment….

I made mine slightly differently to the recipe to keep a cupcake type vibe which I knew would be more appealing to my little fussy easters.

  • 10 fresh pitted Dates
  • 50g Cacao powder
  • 25g raw Almonds
  • 200g Coconut Flakes
  • 30g Agave syrup
  • 1 tbsp Xylitol (I actually didn’t use this as I wasn’t able to get any in time)
  • 2 tbsp Water (I used filtered)
  • I also added tiny Coconut Flakes for dusting

This recipe couldn’t be easier – Pre-heat the over to 180

Chuck the dates, cacao powder and almonds into the blender and blend until it becomes a sticky paste (I don’t have a high powered blender so this did take a while and a bit of digging it out from under the blades and restarting but that was fine).

Chuck in everything else and blend till its a touch choppy consistency.

I popped my mixture into small cupcake cases, as I’ve said I knew my kids would prefer it and I thought it would make transporting them easier.

Pop in the oven for 10 minutes.

I then sprinkled very fine coconut flakes over the top.

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Allow the bites to cool completely before eating and there you have it.  Yummy goodness to pacify any sweet tooth and no nasties.  My husband actually didn’t believe I hadn’t included any sugar they tasted so good.

Happy eating! x

This Too Shall Pass

I am having a tough day.  I have hay-fever so bad it is making my head foggy and I am struggling to write this post as just looking down is making my nose run.  My kids are doing everything they know they shouldn’t and completely ignoring me when I try to retain some semblance of control.  Worst of all, I had a horrendous leak from my colostomy bag.  Had I been out and about, I would have classed as one of the most embarrassing experiences of my life, thankfully I was home so able to sort myself out.

Why am I telling you all this, it’s not for an outpour of sympathy I promise but for a couple of reasons;

  • Firstly – If I am going to write about my life and experiences, I think it should be an honest representation.  There are days when I handle everything that has happened to me and my toddlers terrible two’s with (what I hope is) a positive grace, but there are other days when its hard, I want to give up and wish I didn’t have to deal with any of it.  This is one of those days.
  • Secondly – This must happen to others so I want them to know they aren’t alone, it happens to all of us.  Negative emotions are a part of life and an inability to talk about them can leave people feeling isolated and like they are the only one.

If there is one thing I have learnt over the last couple of years of cancer, treatment, aftershock, child-rearing and just life in general, it’s that, these feelings do pass, life will go on and another day (another hour in some cases) things will be easier.  In essence – this too shall pass.

The fantastic thing I have found by thinking ‘this too shall pass’ when things are rough, is that it stops me falling into to much of a downward spiral.  It reminds me to try and accept my emotions for what they are.  Sometimes tricky, sometimes difficult but I try to let them wash over me and move on and help myself where I can.  Like this morning…. a trip to Boots to buy a million Loperamide’s (which helps to take water out of the colon and should stop another leak) and bought the kids to an indoor play place to burn off some hyperactivity and I can try to get my head together through writing.

Hopefully missions accomplished but if not, don’t worry about me, this too shall pass.

Anything you think that helps when feeling blue?  If so please click on ‘leave a comment’ above and let me know, may help others too.

Nx

UPDATE

Firstly thank you to everyone who sent such sweet supportive messages, you are all so kind.  I also wanted to let you all know that ‘this too HAS passed’.  I already feel back to my normal self, thanks in large to my wonderful friend ordering Fish & Chips for tea and getting them delivered to the park where we were playing with the kids – genius!

But I also know this this too will pass and I may feel blue again another day but when it does I will be able to think to myself again – this too shall pass x

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Thoughts on mother’s day- just because I am a not a mum…

With Mother’s Day approaching tomorrow I thought I would reblog this fantastic post. I hope you find it as insightful as I did.
With love xx

Gladstone Bag

 

So how are the cats June, have you decided to add to your litter?

 It was this seemingly innocuous question by a lovely mother of twins, at a recent birthday party for a friend’s little girl that stopped me in my tracks. I suddenly realized that not being a mother immediately made me a crazy cat lady in her mind.

Did all other women see me like this?

It also drove home the point that because I wasn’t a mother the only other thing women who are lucky enough to be mothers, could think to ask me about, was cats.

Don’t get me wrong as everyone who knows me will tell you I adore our cats. In fact I love all animals. I also love my wonderful siblings, my gorgeous nieces and nephews, my very handsome husband, my dad, and I miss my lovely mum every day.

I love…

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