Monday, 28 September 2015

Shoes

I have small wide feet, I used to love my feet, they were the one part of my body I tended not ot be highly critical of.

Then I broke my ankle and my ankle and foot vary in size depending on what I have been doing. I brought some shoes just before I broke my ankle, I just tried them on and I can't get them around the ankle at all now.. Too much metalwork.

I used to be able to squeeze them into any shoe I took a liking to, I loved a big wedge, or a 6 inch heel. I liked to mooch around in Birkenstocks or Havenda's. Now, these are too flat and not spongy enough. I need some bounce in my sole.

So I am on the hunt for the perfect shoe, one that doesn't make me look like a granny, that can give my bounce and I can wear all day.

The shoes that are working at the moment are my Fly ankle boots with a small wedge heel and my Fitflops.
Any suggestions, I would love your thoughts.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Five Years

It has been five years since I was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML)

I was diagnosed in September 2010.

It was a complete shock - I have talked about that here.

In fact I have talked about it off and on for years. Living with a chronic disease isn't always easy, you need to get 'stuff' off your chest.

Mostly people forget I have anything wrong with me, which is brilliant because the last thing I want or need is people feeling sorry for me.

I would, occasionally like them to remember that I can't try the next fad diet - or take strange vitamins and minerals with out checking with my doctor first.

I can't run or walk quickly to things, as I do get breathless because of the anemia which reduces the amount of red blood cells in my blood, this is caused by the drug that keeps me alive - Dasatanib.

My CML is now undetectable in my blood and has been for some time. This is amazing because in principle I am in full remission, but unlike other cancers, I am not cured nor am I likely to be, there is no cure (yet). So it is always there, in the back of my mind, could I get sick again?

The Dasatanib is a second generation Leukaemia drug which is awesome. The side effects, that I have been affected by are; headaches, this improved after a few months, nausea, I still get that off and on, anemia, fluid retention (I ended up reducing my dosage as I swelled up all over the place....not pretty), fatigue (which at times can be quite crippling) and bone and muscle aches.

However, I am so grateful that I haven't had to have traditional chemo or bone marrow transplants, which are both grueling and not always successful.

There is a part of me that would love to come off my tablets for 6 months and find out exactly which aches and pains are age related and which are infact because of the Dasatinib.

My emotions are always mixed when I talk about this, I am lucky, lucky to live now, 10 -15 years ago my chances of survival were significantly reduced, see all the lovely stats below for more info - you know how much I love a stat!

But, I am not lucky, if I was lucky I wouldn't have got the disease in the first place, I wouldn't have been one of the 15 women around my age in the UK diagnosed every year, and honestly, I resent that.

For the first two to three years I got panic attacks anytime I did anything outside the norm. Like when I went out for a drink with friends or visiting places I wasn't familiar with. After some counselling and serious naval gazing, I realised I felt fragile, I was no longer indestructible. I could die.

Now, at five years, I suppose, I am more pragmatic, I could get run over by a bus, or fall down the stairs and break my ankle (which I did) See here.

Now, I am feeling more fiesty, I want everyone to have what I have had, so I have been and will remain dry for September for Cancer Research UK - Please sponsor me here, you have no idea what a big thing this is for me..em...hello...my name is Jane and I am an alcho...you get the drift.

I try and do the MacMillan Coffee morning every year (that's on the 25th September - next Friday, just saying, if you want to sell some cakes at work, Macmillan will be very pleased with you)

And, coincidently, it's Bloodwise month, Leukaemia and Lymphoma research re-branded in June this year and became Bloodwise, and they are trying to raise awareness of blood cancers, hopefully you have seen the posters. Next month for Macmillan you can go sober for October, if you are inspired by my efforts. Its not as easy as it sounds.

And finally, one last thing. Dasatinib has really saved my life, it is now on a list of drugs that the government want to cut, as I have been on it's clinical trial I am not sure if I will be able to continue with it based on what the cuts mean. This could mean a whole new situation for me and many like me (By the by it is affecting lots of drugs, not just blood cancer ones, but breast cancer as well) so if you want to sign the petition you can here.



So here's to another five years. Cheers (picks up imaginary drink and downs it in one!)

Statistics and Stuff (thanks to Cancer Research UK for the info)

About 8% of people diagnosed with Leukaemia in the UK have CML,

CML accounts for 0.2% of new cancer cases.

675 people were diagnosed with CML in the UK in 2011 of which 273 were women. For women my age, there are about 15 cases diagnosed per year, it is more prolific as you get into your sixties.

CML was first diagnosed in 1960. Prior to that I can find no reference to diagnosis or prognosis.

Prior to 1983 around 15% of people diagnosed with CML survived for more than 8 years.

Between 1983 to 2000 prognosis improved to 42% to 65%.

From 2001 it has increased to about 87%

Monday, 14 September 2015

Why I choose Grey

First some facts:

In 1860 (approx) hydrogen peroxide was first used as hair bleach, kicking off decades of broken strands and burned scalps. 
 
Approximately 92%: of women have coloured their hair, according to a Wella survey

Last year sometime, I got bored of dying my hair. I had been bleaching it blonde from about 30 and dyed it just about every colour prior to that.

I looked like this then.

About 31
About 41

Pink at 44


The trouble is, my hair is quite fine so I can't grow it when I bleach it.
 And to be honest it is quite a palaver to bleach your hair, and then constantly apply a platinum toner, then and having it cut regularly...bleugh. I am over it.

Anyway I heard grey is in, people are actually dying their hair grey - who'd have thunk it! So I am going to be on trend with my greyish hair.

I look like this now.
47
I want to grow it to just below my shoulders and two grey plaits. I think that would be cool.

My only problem with this is when I look at celebs who are the same age as me.
There seems to be some contradictions. If you are a woman, your hair MUST NOT show grey.
 Like the lovely Kylie, Davina & Julia - all my age, all gorgeous, no grey on sight.



If you are a man, grey is fine.


Like Eric, Mark & Matt, all my age, all gorgeous, plenty of grey hair in sight.

So why is that? Why is it OK for men to look their age, and women not?

When I googled about grey hair I largely ended up with photographs of women celebs who are a bit older who have a 'grey hair shocker' (i.e their roots are showing).

I am 47, very nearly 48. I am what in olden times we called middle aged, because you are at the middle of my life. Based on stats and stuff, I am actually over middle aged, not two thirds over but maybe five eights aged (that's what you get when you look at stats too much, you start talking in fractions. Beware the stat).

Basically, I am over half way through life, I have experienced some stuff, my body has some scars my face has some wrinkles and my hair has some grey, this is normal.

Why are we obsessed with the fountain of youth, people get botox, skin smoothing, face lifts, bum lifts, implants, tummy tucks, men and women alike.

We should be proud to show our age, it shows we have seen some stuff, we might even know some things and be a bit wise. Oh yes.

It seems I am not normal, all my friends and colleagues dye their hair, I cannot think of one woman I know who has let their hair go grey.

So by being natural I am going out on a limb and being the weird one. Not normal. Again.

Who wants to be not normal with me - Up the revolution sisters!!!

For previous hair related blogs and if you want to have a good laugh at previous hair do's you can go here and here (and that's the one's about the hair on my head!)



Nine

My Lola is nine, my much wanted baby girl arrived at 4am, 4 weeks early 9 years and one day ago, completely perfect. Here she is year on year,

Lola at 0

Lola at 1

Lola at 2

Lola at 3

Lola at 4 (that's a Pepper pig cake, there may have been some issues with colour....

Lola at 5 at a trip to the Zoo with Godfather Ken and her big sister

Lola at 6 - ready to dance in a dance show

Lola at 7 all grown up in her school uniform (excuse the state of the house we were having work done)

Lola at 8 after being at her friends makeover party

And Lola at 9 all hot and bothered after playing laser quest with her friends
Like everyone we have birthday traditions, one of them is to get measured. She still isn't quite as tall as her big sister at nine, but she is closing the gap.

Today, I am relaxing at home, and guess who is with me, full of cold and not very well at all, my newly nine year old. Poor Lola. One week back at school and already lurgified, but still gorgeous and still my girl.


Monday, 7 September 2015

Autumn

The kids are back at school and the leaves are turning russet reds and oranges, mmmm it must be the start of Autumn.



I love Autumn.

Myself and both my daughters have birthdays in Autumn, I got married in Autumn, and Autumn leads up to CHRISTMAS, whoop whoop! (Not sure I could have fitted the word Autumn more into that sentence).

There is nothing wrong with Autumn at all, the smell of bonfires and fireworks, sparklers, conkers and frosty walks. Lovely.



Its the time of year where you get to curl up on the sofa with a blanket and a warm fire. It is OK to watch dreadful telly (X Factor & Strictly) because it's just 'that time of year'.

Everyone stops talking about 'bikini bodies' and dieting, because a nice long cardie covers a multitude of sins (Yes I am THAT old) and it is not a standard time for a beach holiday.

Everyone just relaxes a bit, it's pre-Christmas party season and post holiday, it's the season where you can just chill. It's OK to eat cake, particularly on the 25th September when it is the Macmillan Coffee Morning.

For me it's a time to do leaf prints and autumnal photography (lovely light), buy a few bits to enhance the winter wardrobe (more cardies) and drink port and mulled wine - not together, that would be ridiculous! Still no alcohol until the end of September as I continue to be sober for Cancer Research UK (You can still donate on my just giving page ...HERE)

So what are you all up to this Autumn, I would love to hear x


Saturday, 5 September 2015

Addiction, and how I manage it.

I have a slightly addictive personality, that doesn't mean you can't help but love me (that's obviously the case), what I mean is, I can get addicted to things easily.

Take cigarettes, I was a 40 a day girl, I tried patches (numerous times) and hypnotherapy to give up. Nothing worked. Even when I was pregnant with my first girl I smoked, I reduced it significantly but I still smoked. I am not proud of that.
It was almost impossible to find a photo of me, without a cigarette.

What finally stopped me?

I couldn't stay pregnant after my first baby, I had an ectopic pregnancy then two miscarriages, and no, there is no explanation for miscarriages, but I really wanted to give myself the best chance, so I stopped. No patches, no hypnotherapy, nothing. I found something I wanted more than a cigarette. A second child.

I gave up on September 7th 2005, On September 13th 2006, I gave birth to my 2nd daughter. It is almost exactly 10 years since I gave up smoking. I have not even had a drag on a cigarette since then for fear I might start again. Giving up was absolutely horrendous, I don't want to have to do that again. I also told myself I could start again when I was 60, because the thought of NEVER AGAIN, was too much.

Another example of this is tattoo's, I had my first tattoo at 29 (I wanted them from about 18, but it took me 11 years to get the bottle to do it). I don't know how many tattoo's I have now. I have a sleeve that's nearly finished, the top of my back and a leg tattoo, plus 3 tattoo's at the base of my spine, I am far from done. They are addictive, but at least they aren't bad for my health.

Something that is bad for my health is alcohol. I like wine, red wine, it's lovely, it relaxes me, it makes me giggle. I like a glass or two in the evening, but lately it's been a bottle a night. This is not healthy and I should try to be healthy as I have been living with blood cancer for the last 5 years. So I am being a Dryathlete this September for Cancer research UK, and because I am putting it here I have to do it.

Please sponsor me HERE on my just giving page. With out all the research into blood cancer I wouldn't be here, so let's kill two birds with one stone. I stay a bit healthier and you donate to a great cause that all of us have been touched by.

I have blogged a few times about my blood cancer, here are a couple of examples - here and here
if you want to know more.

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