Thank you!

I wanted to say a (rather late) thank you to everyone of you who sponsored, supported and encouraged me to run the 2016 Race for Life. For me it was far more than running 10k – it was a celebration of the amazing work that Cancer Research do each and every day, a celebration of how far I’ve come in the last 12 months and a start on my journey back to fitness.

r4l5

I set myself the target of raising £250, which I never thought I’d meet but with your generosity, I raised more than double the amount £505.61. I’m beyond chuffed and your support really did help me run the course.

In both the Bournemouth and Cardiff runs, the people cheering on the side lines made me smile but having my bestie, Hayley, at my side in Cardiff made the run a breeze. She’s been by my side throughout my journey – from the surprise visit the day after my op to listening to my moans on Whatsapp. She, in more ways than one, is my biggest sponsor and cheerleader.

race for life 1

Thank you to each and everyone of you for your kind donations, your words of support and your pounds. Cancer treatment is evolving faster than many of us can keep up and that’s only possible because of generous people like you.

Thank you – more than you know, Becky xxx

 

Warm words to keep you going on dark days

Inspirational quotes get a bad rap – they can often be the butt of jokes or be seen as soppy. But I’m the first to put my hand up and say I like a bit of soppy and when you’re going through a hard time they have a completely different impact than when you’re not.

Quotes can inspire but they can also give strength, hope and reassurance. Words are so powerful and as a lover of words, I’ve collected a few quotes that I found helped me through my breast cancer diagnosis and chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments. I hope they prove useful to you, whatever stage you or your relatives are in your cancer journey.

I’ll begin with this quote which I came across shortly after my diagnosis: “Life takes you to unexpected places, love brings you home”.  These words were hanging up in my favourite gift shop the weekend before my operation – I bought the wall hanging as a gift to myself and it’s been a gift that keeps giving. 

This quote was sent to me in a card from my bestie, Hayley, and I reckon it’s true, don’t you? “Reality is never as dark as the places your brain goes to in anticipation”, Madhulika Sikka, author of A Breast Cancer Alphabet.

quotes

“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within”, Maya Angelou.
This is my favourite quote. My friend, Luisa, sent this to me in a card the day before I started chemo, when I was most scared. I found it so uplifting on dark days – there is always hope.

“Yes, you can”; three words on a card sent to me by my dear friend, Shiv.
This card lived on the shelve opposite my desk at home. I worked from home as much as possible throughout my treatment and some days it was really hard; I felt like I wasn’t capable; that chemo had taken over my brain, but looking over at this card really lifted me. I often found myself saying the words out loud.

IMG_0465

Another motivational card from Shiv, who has been the biggest support to me, says: “If you’re going through hell, keep going”. 

One final card that I’ll mention from Shiv says: “Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think”. This is an anonymous quote but I love it – isn’t it true too? In the face of adversity we realise what we’re made of and surprise ourselves.

A couple more I love are: “There is always rain before the rainbow” and “It is in herself she will find the strength she needs”, both anon.

Words are so powerful, I hope you take some strength from these clusters that have helped keep me going over the last 12 months. Do you have an inspirational quote that really resonated with you? I’d love to hear it – share it in the comments section below.

Lots of love, Becky xx

 

 

Top 5 films to watch on chemo recovery days

Everyone has days where all we feel able to do is flop in front of the TV and watch a well worn DVD. Whether you’re recovering from a recent round of chemo, generally feeling tired or could do with some cheering up, these are the DVDs I recommend for you.

Why these five? They each contain a good story line and a generous dose of laughter – exactly what you need when you’re feeling sorry for yourself and only well enough to make it to the sofa.

I know not everyone has the luxury of two hours uninterrupted sofa time, particularly if you have young children, but if you can squeeze in a ‘me party’, you absolutely should.

Here are my top 5 recommendations:

5. Julie and Julia

I wanted to be a baking blogger from the day I saw this film but never quite had the confidence to do it. Julie and Julia is an inspiring film about how doing something you love can enrich your life. It’s perfect to watch on a down day – uplifting and easy. Here’s the trailer in case you haven’t seen it already and you can buy it here.

jj

4. Chocolat

I know, I know, I clearly think about food far too much! But I love this film nearly as much as chocolate itself. It celebrates the wonderful things in life, however small they may seem. If you haven’t seen Chocolat, watch the trailer here and, if you like what you see, buy it here.

choc

3. Bridesmaids 

Even the trailer makes me laugh! This is the perfect pick-me-up. If you need a giggle, it’s pretty much guaranteed. Watch the trailer here and buy the DVD here.

bridesmaids

2. A Knight’s Tale

This is another of my favourite films. William Thatcher pretends to be a Knight to make his fortune, with the help of his friends and an unknown writer called Chaucer, who is v funny. He soon finds love and his way back home. Life takes you to unexpected places, love brings you home. If you haven’t seen the film, watch the trailer here or buy the DVD here.

a knight's tale

1. How to lose a guy in 10 days

This film was amongst a bag of DVDs my sister, Teresa, gave me to watch whilst I was having chemo and it was the one that made me laugh the most. It ended in true romantic style – I love a romance and these two were made for each other. If you haven’t seen it already, watch it. If you have seen it already, hec watch it again! Pass the popcorn

how to lose

It is worth doing nothing and having a rest

On Wednesday I had my annual check up and mammogram. Yes, it’s been 12 months since my lumpectomy and lymph node clearance. It’s been the longest yet fastest 12 months of my life. You’d think with the worst of my treatment out of the way I’d feel like my breast cancer journey is over but I’m starting to accept that that’s not quite the case, unfortunately.

I’ve recently been feeling energyless and wondering why. It’s beyond frustrating when there’s lots of things you want to do but all you feel able to do is sleep. I mentioned this in my check up and the response was: “Yes, this is what we’d expect. Don’t underestimate the drugs you’re on”.

This saddened me because I desperately want my life to get back to what it was before. It’s hard to accept that your life is not going to bounce back and that certain lifestyle changes are going to have to be made; that weekends can’t always be about adventuring, that you’re going to need even more sleep than before.

With tiredness turning to nausea I’ve decided it’s time to listen to my body and slow down. It’s not as easy as it sounds, especially when you have plans and don’t want to let people down. But despite today’s beautiful weather, I’ve decided to let my body win.

This is what my morning consisted of:

IMG_0461

Despite feeling pretty rubbish, I also felt guilty; “I should be past this – full of energy, using my day off wisely”. Alas, going down stairs to make a drink was the best I could muster.

As I settled back under the sheets, this blog post from Gabrielle, a yoga teacher from Melbourne, popped up on my Facebook feed. It’s a verse taken from Michael Leunig’s The Curly Pyjama Letters and its timing couldn’t have been more right. I wanted to share these words with you, in case you need to hear them too…

Dear Vasco,

In response to your question, “What is worth doing and what is worth having?” I would like to say simply this. It is worth doing nothing and having a rest. In spite of all the difficulty it may cause, you must rest Vasco – otherwise you will become restless!

I believe the world is sick with exhaustion and dying of restlessness. While it is true that periods of weariness help the spirit to grow, the prolonged ongoing state of fatigue to which our world seems to be rapidly adopting is ultimately soul destroying as well as earth destroying.

The ecology of evil flourishes and love cannot take root in this sad situation. Tiredness is one of our strongest, most noble and instructive feelings. It is an important aspect of our conscience and must be heeded or else we will not survive. When you are tired you must act upon it sensibly – you must rest like the trees and animals do.

Yet tiredness has become a matter of shame! This is a dangerous development.

Tiredness has become the most suppressed feeling in the world. Everywhere we see people overcoming their exhaustion and pushing on with intensity – cultivating the great mass mania which all around is making life so hard and ugly – so cruel and meaningless – so utterly graceless – and being congratulated for overcoming it and pushing it deep down inside themselves as if it were a virtue to do this.

And of course Vasco, you know what happens when such strong and natural feelings are denied – they turn into the most powerful and bitter poisons with dreadful consequences. We live in a world of these consequences and then wonder why we are so unhappy.

So I gently urge you Vasco, do as we do in Curly Flat – learn to curl up and rest – feel your noble tiredness – learn about it and make a generous place for it in your life and enjoyment will surely follow.

I repeat it’s worth doing nothing and having a rest.

Yours Sleepily,
Mr. Curly XXX

Rest is so under-rated in our society and we feel guilty for taking time out from the constant rush. Truth is, life and its pressures can be overwhelming at the best of times – we could all do with taking some of Mr Curly’s advice.

If you’re feeling pressure from others or from yourself to be back to the person you were before your life changed, with the same energy and abilities, remember, it’s worth having a rest. Remember to be kind to yourself. Lots of love, Becky xx