Monthly Archives: October 2019

I have a black dog

Today is World Mental Health Day.

For a large part of 2019 I have found myself struggling to find the words to describe how I feel. If I was asked to narrow it down to three, they would have been failure, ashamed and empty. It took several months, a lot of support from the Funny Boy and more than one trip to my GP before I was finally able to admit something was wrong.

I am relieved to say that things have slowly started to improve but it didn’t happen overnight. Here are a few things which made the difference for me:

Getting Help
My doctor prescribed me with regular medication and since then I have started to see a Psychologist.

Talk, talk, talk
Being open and honest about my true feelings with friends and family has been the biggest help. It is through them I have come to fully appreciate that I am not alone and everyone experiences poor mental health. We need to break the taboo and recognise that mental health is equally important as physical!

Peace of Mind
Finding peace of mind has been a challenge. My life sometimes feels like a treadmill of appointments but learning how to fully switch off has been valuable. Personally, I find my peace when walking the dog. No phone, no music – just me, the sound of the birds and Parsnip’s little paws plodding on the path.

Physical Activity is a wonder drug!
If you could bottle all the benefits of exercise and put it on the shelf at your local shop – it would literally be sold out in seconds. Activity is so good for the body and soul. There are literally thousands of different ways to be active; sports, exercise classes, dancing and even walking! I find it incredible how something as simple as a stroll around the block can improve my mood and change the way I view the world.

Put it down on paper
On the difficult days when it feels like there are too many thoughts, I find it helps to do a brain dump. Physically writing the things that rotate in my mind can help me switch off. This really helps on the nights when I struggle to sleep.

A good friend of mine recently completed Mental Health Awareness training and shared the following video with me. I hope you find it as useful as I did.

I had a black dog, his name was depression – Produced, written and illustrated by Matthew Johnstone in collaboration with the World Health Organisation

Depression is sometimes referred to as the Black Dog. Just like a real dog, it needs to be embraced, understood, taught new tricks, and ultimately brought to heal.

As always, FUCANCER

STAND UP TO CANCER 2019

Standing up to cancer!

The Funny Boy and I attended Scottish Power’s Stand Up To Cancer Gala Dinner on Friday night. I had the pleasure and somewhat daunting task of sharing my cancer story. It was a fantastic evening hosted by Des Clarke with hilarious entertainment from Ria Lina, Larry Dean, Jamie Macdonald and Stuart Mitchell. I would highly recommend checking them out!

The event raised over £60k towards translational cancer research! I was amazed to learn that Scottish Power has raised £26m for Cancer Research UK in 7 years.  Every corporate could learn from their example!

Raising funds and promoting cancer awareness are two of the few benefits my diagnosis has afforded me. Finding small positives is an awesome way of saying FUCANCER and it is good for the soul too. My belief is nobody has the power to change the world for everyone but everyone has the power to change the world for one person everyday. Whenever I have the opportunity to do something that makes a difference I always grab it with both hands. My project management skills transfer well into the world of fundraising and as for public speaking, well I wouldn’t say it is my forte but it is something I am working on.

We recently formed another  committee working on a once in a lifetime event raising funds in aid of Cancer Research UK. We will be revealing more details in the coming months. 

You don’t have to wear a lab coat to help beat cancer so if you’d like to STAND UP TO CANCER please visit the link below to find out how you can get involved!

STAND UP TO CANCER

#FUCANCER

Funny Boy and I at Scottish Power’s STAND UP TO CANCER Gala Dinner

Discharged!

Standing outside the Edinburgh Cancer Centre on the day I am discharged from Gynae-oncology! Note the superhero pose!

On the 8th of April 2014 I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. I was given a life expectancy of 2 years.

Since then I have become a proud puppy mum to Parsnip, married the love of my life, ticked a few life goals and raise funds for Maggie’s and Cancer Research UK. None of which would be possible without my incredible medical team! I had a card made for a few of the key people who have helped me get to where I am.

On the 30th September 2019 I was discharged from gynae-oncology. I have been in remission for 5 years.  I may still have brain cancer but for now it is time to celebrate!

#FUCANCER