Sunday, 30 October 2016

His story

A Sunday in late October 2015 like no other Sunday. We'd found out a few days earlier that there was nothing more medically that could be done for Amanda, and we'd put out an invitation to Amanda's many friends to join her at her favourite church  for reflection. Not knowing how many would turn up, we were amazed that upwards of 40 people had put aside their usual Sunday plans to join us in quiet, tearful reflection. People had shelved plans to travel far and wide, and in some cases, putting off trips away with their own family and friends (you know who you are).

These same people visited church with Amanda time and time again over the next few weeks, and the special "pre-funeral funeral" and additional fundraising in January 2016 at Caverswall Cricket Club presented further evidence that the love for Amanda by many people, including scores who had never met her, only goes to show the number of lives that she has touched.

Amanda has never lost her faith at all during the whole period with coming to terms with cancer. Memories come to mind, such as the owner of a local Middle Eastern restaurant presenting her with blessed water that he had returned with from the Zanzam Well in Saudi Arabia during a recent pilgrimage.

While 2016 has dealt its fair share of devastating personal news, Amanda's miraculous change of circumstances, attributable to many many factors, provides us all with many reasons to look forward to times ahead and treasure every moment the precious gift life gives us.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Her story

This is a two-part blog post with my perspective of the last year followed by Dean's sometime next week.

On this day last year I was given the shocking news that I only had months to live. I wasn't scared. I didn't cry. I just felt a sense of calm acceptance. If you're a cancer patient, you will know that there is a special room for news of this kind. It's small but has colourful soft furnishings to somehow (literally) soften the blow. The kind nurse called Dean and I back into the 'room of bad news' to help us to digest the information we had been given. He cried. I held his hand and we discussed priorities, like how on earth to tell my Dad (who was waiting outside) that his remaining daughter was dying. There was nothing else to try. It was just left to us to make the most of the precious time we all had left. Mum and Dad were completely devastated and Mum apparently said to my Dad, "what on earth are we going to do now?"

Then fast forward a year and I am wrapping Christmas presents (OK, I know it's ludicrously early) for a Christmas I thought I would never see. I have medical appointments in January, and I just got back from a run. I'm almost human looking. My cheeks have subsided and I now have hair, albeit as my friend described it, "you look like you just got off a motorbike!". I am even doing some work on a flexible basis. Life is good. Safe. Normal. Wow...'normal' is fantastic!

One year at Christmas, Dad bought my beloved late Mum a plaque that said 'Every day is a gift from God'. She absolutely hated it (but that's another story) but to my way of thinking it's absolutely right. I've looked death in the face and it didn't scare me. The last year has been difficult and painful, but also full of blessings. I lost my Mum but was uplifted by the love of friends and family. Every day really is a gift from God and I am grateful to receive it.


Sunday, 2 October 2016

Cancer quiz

I came across an interesting article on cancer myths and thought I would turn it into a quiz to bore your friends with. All facts are sourced from this article on the Cancer Research website. The answers can be found below.

1. Is cancer a new disease caused by our modern lifestyle?
2. Many people muse about why cancer is on the rise or reaching epidemic status, in reality, the primary cause of cancer is one that we can do nothing about. What is it?
3. Which superfood is the best antidote for cancer?
4. Which much maligned food is wrongfully accused of causing cancer?
5. What is the most effective treatment for cancer?

1. Cancer is not a new phenomena - it wasn't created by modern diets or processed foods, it's as old as the hills. It was written about by Egyptian and Greek doctors and cancer was even discovered in a 3,000 year old skeleton.
2. Age - as we are living longer, our likelihood of getting cancer increases as we get older.
3. None of them. A healthy lifestyle will help to minimise your risk factors, but in reality there is no evidence of any foods having an impact on your chances of getting or curing cancer.
4. Sugar - sugar does not feed cancer cells, but further research is underway to understand the difference in energy usage in healthy versus cancerous cells.
5. Surgery is the most effective treatment for cancer, providing that it has been caught early enough.

Hope that helped while away a few minutes, and don't forget, the most effective way to tackle cancer is by catching it early. So be vigilant, observe any changes in your body and get to your GP sharpish.