It’s ok to laugh too!

Humour plays a very big part in my personality, and always has done. I have always been able to see the funny side of most situations, even if sometimes there doesn’t appear to be one! In my life before cancer, it certainly helped me with my work, as everyone remembered me as ‘that funny guy’ and in a very competitive industry, it seemed to give me an edge. When I started coming to hospital, I was  aware that things were going to be very different to what they had been, in many ways! I was spending a lot of time in waiting rooms, doctors offices, and the chemo ward.How was this going to affect my personality? Was I going to lose my sense of humour and get depressed? Ironically, that was

Hope, the most important emotion?

Dr. Barbara L. Fredrickson, Principal Investigator of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab and Professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, argues that hope “…comes into play when our circumstances are dire”, when “things are not going well or at least there’s considerable uncertainty about how things will turn out”. She states that “hope literally opens us up…and removes the blinders of fear and despair, and allows us to see the big picture , thus allowing us to become creative” and have “belief in a better future”. Unfortunately, as I write this post, I have yet another chest infection. Low immunity and immune suppressing drugs is disaster for me! Sneeze, cough, and then coughing for about a month, night and day. All energy gone!! However, you guys out there are giving me

Are we really in charge of our own lives?

I have just received a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions, explaining that they have had a review of my personal health situation, and they consider me to be in the stream of people who will not be able to actively seek work in the foreseeable future.I can’t say that I really consider this to be a letter to welcome, as, although it means that they will continue to hand me the meagre crumbs of money that I am entitled to, it also shows what they believe to be my true health situation. We are all aware that the Government is keen to get as many people off benefit, and back to work. Rightly so by the way! But it seems to have given up on me, for

Fundraising, and a tribute to Claire Squires

The first thing that I wanted to do when I left hospital for the first time in 2008, was give something back to the wonderful hospital and staff, that had saved my life. They had given me a lot of difficult treatment, and had looked after me, when I could do almost nothing for myself. They wanted nothing back from me and told me that it was their job.I had never been in a world like this before. I was used to doing something in return, mostly handing over money. After a lot of thought, I decided that as I knew a lot of people, I would go round with my begging bowl and hopefully they would be as passionate about my cause, and donate some money.I also realised, like a business you

How to talk to a person affected by cancer?

This post is prompted by a fellow patient of mine. When we met for our regular dialysis he gave me an article from The Guardian, written by a journalist who had cancer, and was writing about some of the things that were said to her, both good and bad. We both smiled, because over the years we have all encountered instances of other peoples embarrassment, when talking to us about our illness. When I was newly diagnosed, I wasn’t sure how to communicate my situation, so I spoke to a very good friend of ours who has been through the process, and the one thing I remember from her was that, ‘people will surprise you’. She said that most people will be brilliant but some, wont! She was absolutely right. As

Relationships

Whether we realise it or not, our life is based on relationships,all on different levels. We have our loved ones and family, then close friends, people we know from work, and people who help us in our lives like tradesman etc.There are people that we meet at various stages of our lives, that come and go. Sometimes it is hard to admit, but we really only have room in our lives for a few close friends outside our families.Time just doesn’t permit us to form too many lasting relationships. I know that some of my younger readers might disagree with me, particular when they look at how many ‘ friends’ they have on Facebook or followers on Twitter,but it is true. We all may know a lot of people, but that is

Same destination, but so many routes!

Since I have been on my personal journey from my cancer diagnosis, I initially thought that there was a fairly standard route for patients, a bit like a map that was followed, from initial diagnosis to end of treatment. If you have a certain disease, then you get a certain treatment, to produce hopefully a positive outcome. I seemed quite clear in my mind how I thought the thing would work. I soon found out, that assumption was only for standard patients! Actually I don’t think I have found a standard patient since I started. Everyone is so totally different! Yes, we might have the same disease, and even the same stage, at diagnosis, but that is where the similarities end.Some of us are in better health than others when we

Time to look at the ways we offer support?

During this week, I have been to various different meetings, some in hospital settings and others in office settings. I am also involved in working with people, to look at the way they work and communicate, to make their work more time efficient and effective. I am now going to use some of the more common words associated with modern technology, so apologies in advance! More people are using teleconferencing, and Skype, so that people are not all chasing round the country for unnecessary meetings.In fact this week I watched a speaker at a conference in Manchester, via a tv link. We already use email as the norm now. We send documents at the click of a switch, and  with smart phones, you can be anywhere in the world and give and receive all

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