A lovely weekend

Wow what a lovely surprise to be able to enjoy a lovely sunny day, yesterday. I do hope it was as glorious a day wherever you were in the world.

My whole weekend has been pretty special with a most delicious meal and great company on Saturday evening. The food was worthy of a top class restaurant and we enjoyed the best lemon meringue pie we had ever tasted, I even had a couple of glasses of bubbly!

I caught up with Pollyanna on Sunday and chatted away as we enjoyed lunch together in the garden.

The bathroom is now plastered and tiling starts on Tuesday so all is going well as my Hollywood bathroom starts to take shape. I can’t wait to share the end result with you.

This week is the start of my third cycle of chemo. So far my body is continuing to tolerate the combination of chemo drugs well and I have managed to wean myself off all my pain killers. Most of the time I am feeling fine but I do have periods when my body feels exhausted and I can do little more than get back to that succumbing again and just lying around on the sofa which is pretty frustrating.

Today we are hoping the rest of our printing for the BrainBox resource turns up and then we might have a quick trip to Ikea to return something and pick up a few bits and pieces. Tomorrow I am really looking forward to meeting up with a new and old friend in the afternoon. The rest of the week will be spent working and going back down to London for treatment on Wednesday and Thursday.

Have a good week.

Deborah x

Ps Thank you to all who have donated buttons I now need to get down to producing some art works with them!

Joys and frustrations…

Firstly the joys…

Wednesday was a good day. I spent the morning catching up with an ex colleague, a lovely girl that I hadn’t seen for a few years. We sat chatting over coffee and homemade shortbread as the sun shone through the conservatory and it made a very welcome change and break from away from the computer.

In the evening we actually went out and met up with some friends at The Wellington in Old Welwyn, which I can thoroughly recommend for its excellent service and delicious, beautifully presented freshly cooked food. We hadn’t been out for a meal since our holiday in France, when we had unfortunately missed out attending these friends wedding back in September. So we had some catching up to do about their very happy day as well as plenty of other things to chat about. It’s was especially exciting to hear that a piece of medical research the Phil had been working on for many years had eventually made its way into the production of a drug that was showing immediate remarkable positive effects for his patients. All of this hard work and I am sure the many years spent getting approval and checking and testing of the drug must be quite frustrating but with such a good outcome be at last very rewarding to witness. Without good people persevering like this with limited funding and lots of hard work which I expect is usually at their own time and expense we as patients would not be able to benefit from the prolonged and quality of life that we are now able to enjoy. I myself am very grateful and thankful to be on the trial I am on resulting in a drug that is not causing me the pain I would most likely to have been experiencing without it and is prolonging my life whilst awaiting another hard working piece of work to be completed to give me more time to share with my family and friends. These people are the true hero’s in my mind.

Another joy is the progression with my Hollywood bathroom. Yesterday an extremely nice man turned up and worked hard all day on the lighting and electrics so it is coming along very nicely. Meanwhile I spent another lovely afternoon with my daughter and grandson.

The frustration are with the printing company CardWorks who had promised our delivery of the last part of the BrainBox resource yesterday and we were all set to pack it together and deliver to our customers today. Colin contacted the company in the morning to be told the delivery would now not be arriving until next Thursday! You can imagine our frustration and anger especially as this companies telephone manner has been less than helpful throughout the process. We did however, after researching another more expensive but most helpful local company, threaten to withdraw our order and suddenly we were promised a delivery on Monday. Let’s just hope that now happens, but we won’t be using them again. These are, I suppose the things you learn when setting up a new business.

Today we will get back to work on the leaflets.

Have a great Friday, the weather is looking good for the week-end with temperatures being promised, in our part of the country, as hot as in Portugal. Now let’s see if that actually does happen.

Deborah x

We’re on a roll…

Yesterday was an exciting day, not only did we receive our first 250 copies of the BrainBox manual but my Ebook version of Sticking Plasters for Children’s Souls became available for purchase on Amazon. If you do purchase a copy don’t forget to leave your comments please.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sticking-Plasters-Childrens-Souls-Emotional-ebook/dp/B00IRFE9SY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1393914881&sr=8-1&keywords=Sticking+plasters+for+children%27s+souls

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We also added a paypal button to our BrainBox website so can start putting your orders in
http://thebrainbox.org.uk
The rest of the bits and pieces to complete the packs arrive on Thursday so we can start packing up and posting out on Friday. This has been a long time coming and many years hard work but knowing the difference it can make it has been worth every moment.
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Now we have a new website to design, more booklets to finish off and I shall then get on with producing my ‘Get Control of Anger’ four week program.

So much to do but it is all very enjoyable and takes the focus off my current health issues.

Have a good day

Deborah x

Together we can and do…

…make a difference to the people around us. And there is no better day than today to celebrate the difference even a small change, of a number of committed people, passionate about our health and the NHS can make. Today is NHS change day but it will go on well beyond just today. Driven by real people for the benefit of us all. Because it is not politically driven, or backed by financially heavy flashy advertising campaigns, so far it hasn’t hit the top news stories but it’s early in the day yet.

“The beauty of the NHS Change Day movement is that it is far more than making a promise, it is a statement of intent to make care better for those who need it,” says Pollyanna Jones

My pledge was to share my skills and experience as a mental health professional, especially about children’s mental health and the importance of a good work life balance.

If you have any particular concerns about a child’s mental health drop me an email and I will advise you as best I can. I may not be able to individually help you all but I can point you in the right direction and I have a number of books and resources I can recommend for using with young people of all ages and for different situations.

One of the tools that has really helped with both children and adults mental health, by explaining what happens inside the brain when we become very anxious or angry, is the BrainBox resource.

Today we are launching the updated version of the BrainBox and it is now available to order online for £39.99 +PP
You can make an order by using the paypal button on our website or by sending in a purchase order

http://thebrainbox.org.uk

The BrainBox has been around for quite a few years now and has proved its worth in helping both children and adults make sense of the situation they may have found themselves in and empower them to do something about it. The updated version is more portable than before making it more accessible for use by youth workers, teachers, health professionals and in fact anyone working with young people or adults. It is easy to read with clear explanations and pictures to demonstrate the fight and flight response as well as some breathing and visualisation techniques you can immediately put into practice.

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As the stresses and strains of everyday life takes it’s toll on the mental health of adults this in turn has a knock on effect for our children. They cannot escape from the financial or relationship anxieties that may be causing problems in their own homes. Anxiety is more catching than the common cold. If you as a parent feel anxious it is very likely those feelings will be passed on to those closest to you. In today’s world with the modern technology available we could work 24/7 and I often hear of colleagues having difficulty in switching off. I myself have been a victim to the work gremlin leaving little time for myself or family but for whose benefit was this? Indeed did anyone at all benefit from such an unbalanced work and life regime?

Having experienced such a life changing event brought about by a diagnosis of cancer I have had time to reflect on my own experiences. As a Service Lead, my mantra to my small team was for them to look after their own mental health first and foremost and I did all I could to enable this to happen for my staff. However I am not so sure I was as good at listening to my own advice. Being able to reconnect with my family and friends has made me realise what I could so easily have missed out on if I had carried on the way I was. I was not unhappy as I loved my job it is just about finding the right balance. So I urge you just to check out that you are using your time well and especially making sure you have enough time for YOU. By valuing yourself and giving yourself and your family and friends the time they deserve you will be acting as a good role model and will help towards better mental health for all.

Good luck to Kate and Lorna today who will be playing their part for change day by offering healthy eating advice at our local hospital. And to Pollyanna and her colleagues who will be speaking at the Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester today. In Pollyanna’s own words
‘A seemingly simple gesture could end up being the one thing a patient remembers about their care’

So a very happy and health day to you all.

Deborah

PS Bathroom progressing well

Today’s the day…

…the start of my Hollywood bathroom. The builders are coming at 8am so I had better get up and dressed very soon. I am so excited. I can’t imagine how long it’s going to take but some walls need taking out and putting up elsewhere. Most of the bits and pieces have arrived ready to be fitted. I can’t wait to share the photo’s of the finished look with you. Although in our little country home I may previously have gone for a shabby chic, country style look,this little space is going to be ultra modern and sparkly. A chance to indulge in my guilty secret for all things shiny and sparkling. The tiles look great so I can’t wait to see the finished look.

At the end of my second cycle of chemo all is still going well, with minimum side effects. Now for a weeks holiday so I look forward to catching up with some old and perhaps new friends on my week off. Of course I still have some work to do for our new business Starfish House publishing, but I am also going to enjoy a week of not having to fill my body with toxins, although I still have my large dose of steroids to take on Wednesday evening.

Have a good weekend

Deborah x

Only 4 days to go – I am often asked “what can I do to help?”

In four days time,on March 3rd 2014 the NHS will witness its second NHS Change Day.

The first NHS Change Day on March 13th 2013 was unprecedented. A single tweet sparked a staff-inspired social movement that saw people take collective action and in doing so make 189,000 pledges. It was a proud moment, especially for me, as Pollyanna was one of the passionate young people behind making this happen.

That’s my girl!

This year the goal is for 500,000 pledges.

These pledges harness the passion, drive, commitment and innovation that we see every single day from staff. Reminding us all of the excellent dedication and service that is unique to our country. It gives the NHS at all levels the boost to challenge the status quo and try something simple but different to improve patient care.

It invites us all as staff or users of the NHS to pledge our support in continue to make the NHS service the best health service in the world, no easy task in this financial climate. It is NOT politically driven and believe me the politicians have tried to harness the excitement and passion this revolutionary movement has caused.

Please take a moment to have a look at the NHS change day website by clicking or copying the link below

http://changeday.nhs.uk/home

There are some fantastic stories on this website about the improvements that have been made as a result of Change Day. Many of which, are still having a positive impact on individual practice, improving care for patients.

No matter how big or small the pledges were – from a clinician trying a child’s medicine to understand how it tasted to a receptionist promising to smile more, – they gave us all a focus and reinforced our belief in the values of the NHS.

We can all play an important part in keeping it that way –now and in the future. NHS Change Day 2014 promises to build on the amazing achievements to date. It will see many thousands more people passionate about great patient care pledging to make a difference, sharing what they do and inspiring others to do the same.

You can play your part too so back to that question

“is there anything I can do to help?”

This is something that won’t just have a positive effect on me but for anyone who uses the NHS.

Anyone can make a pledge today. Including those that use the services it provides.

Those of you who may see a better way but don’t feel they have the power or permission to make it happen, I am personally asking YOU to join with like-minded people and ignite the spirit of collective action.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has” quote by Magaret Meade

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Find out more about the amazing award Pollyanna won with some colleagues that will result in a visit to Harvard later this year.

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http://www.mixprize.org/story/biggest-ever-day-collective-action-improve-healthcare-started-tweet-0

To make your pledge you can either follow the link to the Change Day website above or sending me your pledge via this blog, text, Facebook or email and I will add it to the wall for you. I think I can even setup our own pledge wall.

Kate, my lovely sister is taking part and has pledged to share her knowledge about healthy eating at the Lister Hospital on Monday March 3rd. She will be standing alongside other people passionate about making a difference to all of our health. If you are there please pop along and say hello to her.

My pledge is to share my skills about children’s mental health via my blog and to inspire others towards having a healthy work life balance.

So if you really want to do anything to help you have a few days left so please add your pledge.

Thank you

Deborah xxx

6am and yet another early Wednesday morning

Wednesday’s are my least favourite days. Early mornings with long waits and an extra 31 drugs to take on top of my daily doses. I try to add something fun to Wednesdays so this week I have booked myself another reflexology session whilst my chemo takes place. We also pick up Pollyanna for work on a Wednesday so it’s good to have a chat with her on the trip down to London.

My body is tolerating the chemo well but Wednesdays is the day I feel at my worse with the double whammy of toxins doing there thing and making me feel quite nauseous and tired in the process. Still it’s all worth it for the end result – life!

We have just had a full English breakfast at the cafe used for filming in Sherlock Holmes. Very reasonably priced at £4.40 each and that’s in the centre of London.

Over the last few days I have managed to write three more children’s mental health booklets so we are doing well. We might try to work on our website whilst we are here at the hospital.

Meanwhile here is a lovely rainbow I managed to catch from our back door yesterday.

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Have a good day and stay strong

Xxx

Back to work

I am pleased to announce that all the printing for the BrainBox resource went off on Friday so fingers crossed all works out ok. As soon as we receive our 125 brochures etc we will be packing our order up for a hundred and trying to get some more orders in. So it’s back to work on our leaflets today and the Starfish House Publishing website. As soon as it is up and running I shall let you know.

The weekend was pretty busy with lots of visitors and a happy atmosphere. As usual Elliot was the star of the show.

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Polly and Jem didn’t do too badly either. Pollyanna made a delicious chocolate cake, creme brûlée and coconut meringues and Jem did a great job cleaning my bathroom. Hopefully I shall be in my new bathroom very soon though, we have lots of deliveries expected this week and hopefully the builders will start work on Saturday.

It is my last week of cycle 2 of my chemo this week and then I have a weeks holiday to look forward to and only 4 more cycles to go.

Take care everyone

Deborah x

Can visiting the cancer unit…

…be classed as a lovely day? Well I certainly think it can if it is done in style!

Yesterday I was collected by my friend Jane who’s first surprise was to hand over freshly made warmed shortbread to Colin. We then had a smooth ride down to the hospital and were quickly processed in ready to be seen. We found a comfortable seating area and Jane proceeded to set out her picnic. I think the photo says it all!
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We enjoyed chocolate pigs and cows, strawberries and grapes, chicken wraps and sausage rolls and lots of other M&S goodies.
Not only that but I was in, out and home again by 2.30pm. A record time and that was without breaking any speed limits. So thank you Jane for a most enjoyable hospital experience.

The bathroom is back on track. There was some confusion over the wiring over of money and the ordering goods, but I am delighted to say everything is now ordered and hopefully work will start next weekend.

So it will be waiting in for deliveries and resting this weekend for us. Hopefully the sun will shine and the water will continue to evaporate. The sandbags saved the day so we have been luckier then a lot of people.

Have a great weekend

Deborah x

Another trip down the motorway…

but this time my lovely friend is taking me. Hopefully we won’t have too much hanging around in the hospital though.

Yesterday I received a very kind and generous donation for my Hollywood bathroom from my lovely nephew who lives in LA. I shall think of him every time I am dazzled by my sparkly tiles. I am now just trying to find a small Hollywood fame star to incorporate somewhere. Work hasn’t yet started but hopefully it might be this weekend.

As more chemo is poured into my body I am starting to slow down but I do still have some energy yet, so as long as I manage my periods of fatigue and nausea I can keep going. Yesterday I had another MRI scan but it will take a while before I know the results.

Will keep you posted when I have more news.

Take Care

Deborah x