Yet more poor customer service from John Lewis

Yes I have decided to name and shame them. Until Thursday I was a regular and loyal customer of theirs. I would even go as far to say it had been one of my favourites retailers up to that point.
However following on from yesterday’s saga with yet more poor service, I felt aggrieved enough to send the following email and I now await a response.

Dear Head of Customer Services

It is with great regret that I am having to write to you and complain about the appalling customer services we received from your Welwyn store on both Thursday and today (Friday). As a health professional I have in the past received training about how to take care of your customers and I have been a loyal customer of yours for many years. It is not in my nature to complain but I find myself in this regrettable situation and want it to be adequately addressed.

It is not a good time for me at the moment as I have recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer and the treatment I received from your store did not help to alleviate matters. We came in as instructed by a very pleasant man on the end of the telephone, the number that we called was at the bottom of our web receipt. My iPad had developed a fault, it is something that I rely on using during my long hours of waiting whilst receiving chemo. The man on the phone checked with the Welwyn store and said they had a few iPads in stock and we could pop in and pick up a replacement, which we did after a long hospital visit in London on Thursday.

Here is the order of events.

Thursday morning my husband (Colin) called the number on the web receipt. In the first instance my husband got through to a lady who suggested we call the nearest store to find out what replacement items they had in stock and suggested we could swap it for a Samsung. She also gave my husband the reference number in the subject line above.

My husband rang again to confirm a few details and this time got a pleasant man who explained the procedure. He took down all the details including the order number, date and place of purchase. He stated we had two options. 1) a courier would deliver a new iPad and take away the faulty one. 2) we could exchange it at a store of our convenience. My husband told him that the Welwyn store would be the best and as previously stated he checked they had them in stock

On Thursday at approximately 7pm we came into the Welwyn store and were directed to Technical Support. Here a lady (Kizam) told us that she would have to send the iPad away as that was the policy. We explained our situation and our previous phone call but she kept repeating the 28 day refund policy and the procedure regarding warranty. We asked if she would check our records for the information we were previously given. At this point I had become a little tearful, as maybe you can imagine, it was not the service we expected to receive. Kizam went away to discuss it with her manager and returned saying she had found the record of the conversation and on this occasion we could exchange the item. She said the man on the phone must have thought we said we had purchased the item on December 13th 2013 but even if we had (he had all of our details) it wouldn’t have been covered in the 28 days she was suggesting. She stated we would need to return to the store on Friday with all the accessories that came with the original iPad. Her manner was curt, unsympathetic and at no time did we receive an apology of any kind. She acted as if she was doing us a favour and that we were in the wrong, telling us twice again about the 28 day policy.

Today my husband returned to the store; I stayed at home and called to speak to someone in customer services at WGC. The lady on the phone was very pleasant and apologised for the service we received. She said she was in the department and would try to catch my husband to ensure all went smoothly.

When my husband entered the store today he was again directed to Technical Support. Here he was yet again told about the 28 day policy. Very patiently he explained our situation and said he knew all about this policy, being well versed with it by now and asked the gentleman to check the records. He was at no time given an apology or shown any kind of empathy towards our situation. He did get a replacement but had to pay an extra £50.00 as Apple no longer produced the model I previously owned. Luckily he was home in time for my next hospital appointment.

When he returned home I retold the story to my friend and advocate who called the store again. She was promised a call back within 2 hours. This she has still not received, 9 hours have past now.

This is not the service we expect from a store of your calibre. Although I mentioned it on my blog ( which has received 47,000 hits to date) I did not mention your name as I wanted to give the store a chance to make amends. All it would have taken would have been a simple apology and perhaps a kind word from those working within the technical support department. Maybe they missed out on your training?

We are out of pocket but most of all we have had to suffer added anxiety to an already stressful situation. I would like to know how you are going to address this matter. If I am not satisfied I will have no option but to take this further.

Like I previously stated I am not the type of person to make complaints but this has been an exceptional circumstance.

I have since heard from Sue that they have offered me £25.00 in vouchers.

Do you think I was right to complain?

Am I making too much fuss because it just happens to have come around at a bad time?

And do you think £25.00 is fair compensation for a replacement of my beloved iPad, the model of which I was quite happy with before it became faulty, considering I had to pay another £50 as the original model was now unavailable?

Your comments would be much appreciated. I now don’t even mind of you wish you let your own feelings known on the John Lewis Facebook page.

Honestly all this would have been avoided with a few words of kindness from the first person we spoke to in Technical Support, I do hope they learn from this experience.

Your comments would be much appreciated.

On a much happier note, both Colin and I felt very supported and comforted at our meeting yesterday with the Psychologist and Palliative Care Nurse. This time around I am much better at accepting help and both Colin and I are booked in for some reflexology at the Garden City Hospice. There is a lot of good in the world. Yesterday we returned to a beautifully cleaned home and the smell of our favourite Yankee candles. Our two best friends had dusted the place with their magic dust. They really are true and precious friends and we are so grateful to have them in our lives.
I also received a “Cloud of Loveliness” in the post from a new friend and we enjoyed a homemade fish pie thanks to mum. So the day ended well.

You will have to wait until tomorrow for the unveiling of the pencil portrait sketched at the hospital on Thursday, as I think it warrants not being soured by the morning events.

Have a good weekend my friends and family. Xxx

Scores on the board
PH = 3 ( back pain is now well controlled)
MH = 4 despite the stressful last few days.

WOW what a night!

Firstly I must apologise for the delay in posting but it has taken a couple of days to come back down to earth.

July 13th, was an evening to remember. It all started the day before as Production Plus an amazing events company, arrived to put up the staging, lighting and most importantly the disco ball. As the Friday evening drew in, some lovely friends, Ann and Patrick, arrived with bunting and some waterfall lights to make the set look even more spectacular. Tables and chairs were put out and the scene was set and who knew what would happen on the night of the party.

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Well the evening party to celebrate my 50th and raise money for Myeloma research, really couldn’t have been any better, as friends and family arrived laden with their picnics. Seeing our relatives from Sheffield was very special to both Kate and I, as was catching up with Jarvis, his sister Saskia and mum Chris. So many happy memories were shared and all seemed well with the world. As a surprise, friends and family had all learnt one of my most favourite songs and flash mobbed it for me. I wasn’t quite sure what was happening as a friends husband pulled me on to the dance floor but as it slowly sunk in to my alcohol filled head, I felt very honoured that new and old friends and family had all learnt my favourite song, ‘I hope you dance’ and were singing it especially for me. Then to top it all my childhood friend, Jarvis, took to the stage and sang Disco 2000 along with the amazing CC Smugglers, to me, for me, about me. How could that happen? I will never forget that moment for as long or as short of a time I have left on this planet. Thank you David for this footage.

http://www.facebook.com/l/IAQHaue9qAQHvBsnWsxH5MtxGLRbpMo60TZl_m2YQAYBubw/m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=FV_lzerVqDI&desktop_uri=%252Fwatch%253Fv%253DFV_lzerVqDI%2526feature%253Dyoutu.be

I am not sure how to express in words my gratitude. Thank you to you all just doesn’t seem enough but it’s a start so here I go, please accept my apology in advance if I leave any one out, it certainly won’t be intentionally.

To start with…

Thank you to you all for coming along and helping make the atmosphere just perfect. It was especially good to meet and make new friends some who I have made contact with through the Myeloma network and others from neighbouring villages.

Thank you to my soul mate Colin, loving sister Kate. mum Jill and best friends Sue and Angela who have not only helped to make the party a success, but who have been by my side every step of the way, witnessing the pain and tears, sharing the laughter and just holding my hand both literally and metaphorically. Without you this journey would have been even harder to bare. You have lifted my spirits when I have felt lost and supported not only me, but Colin and each other. I know this won’t stop here and I have confidence that you will be with me forever I love you all so very much.

A special thank you to Sue and Angela who contributed the wine for the party and to Kate who payed for the Porta Loo’s meaning even more money could be put in to the charity fund.

Thank you to my two lovely daughters Pollyanna and Jem who continue to make me proud. And to my lovely grandson who made, whoever met him on the night and the day after, smile. Thank you Pollyanna for contributing the sweets and nibbles and for buying so many raffle tickets!!

To my lovely brother Toby and his partner Jo for contributing the luxury Fortnum and Mason’s hamper to the raffle.

And a very special Thank You to Sebastian my lovely nephew who I love with all my heart, not only for all his contributions to the raffle but for flying over from Los Angeles to be with us all. Not to mention my rather extravagant sunglasses!

To the rest of my family, Charles and his friends, the family from up north, Jack and Jeremy who shared their time with us all, either before, at, or after the party.

Thank you to Production Plus for providing the staging and lightening at no cost, and a special Thank You to Andy who gives the best of hugs and for his and Vicki’s generosity .

Thanks to Ann and Patrick who put together the finishing touches the night before the party.

To Barbs and Jo who organised the flash Mob, and especially to Barbs for organising and chopping (with help from Kate and Kendra) all the fruit for the Pimms and strawberries for the desert. And to Jo who arrived very early on the Sunday morning and who had cleared up much of the mess before most of us got out of bed.

To Heather for all her help with buying up Costco’s and to her and her husband from
www.hertsfireplacegallery.co.uk
for providing the fire in a box which is a great idea for your garden especially on chilly evenings.

To Sonia and her son for lending us bunting and putting it all up.

To my very caring and thoughtful sister in law Lorna and her husband Gig, for helping in so many ways before, during and after the party. Along with Sophie who made all the cup cakes and helped with the raffle.

Thank you to Colin’s parents who also helped out before, during and after the party. With a very special Thank You to Keith who spent most of the evening taking pboto’s and filming the event. I can’t wait to see them all. He really is a fantastic photographer.

Thank you to all the other people who contributed raffle prises.

A very big Thank You to my good friend Allison who has not only been a great support to me but who baked me this amazing birthday cake, each flower was handmade. We rather reluctantly cut into it on Sunday and it tasted as good as it looks!

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A big Thank You also goes to Allison and Chris’s son Nick who very kindly contributed his time and skills to sort out all the electric’s in our barn so we could plug in the lighting and freezers

To David Mills,an amazing singer and I hope now he won’t mind me calling him friend. So many people commented on how good he was and he finished off the evening perfectly as the night drew to an end and we sat by the bonfire attempting, rather unsuccessfully,toasting marshmallows. If you need a singer for a party, wedding etc drop me an email and I will pass on his contact details or just google his name etc and you should find him on YouTube.

Another big Thank You to the CC Smugglers who really made the night especially when they backed up Jarvis Cocker and sang Disco 2000. They are such a talented group of lads but not only that, they are really nice guys who generously gave their time up for free so that we could raise even more money for charity. You can get hold of them or buy their CD by visiting their web site or Facebook page. Just follow the link below.

http://www.ccsmugglers.co.uk/

Thank You to Jarvis who not only turned up to my party with his mum Christine (or Aunty Christine as we used to call her), his son Albert, and beautiful girlfriend Kim and his sister Saskia and her very handsome son Felix. He actually, now this just made the night, sang Disco 2000 on our stage, at our house, to me. Now how cool is that! It was lovely to catch up and I was very grateful for my gift of a frame filled with old photo’s of us all as kids playing together. Thanks Aunty and thank you Jarvis for my book which I shall treasure forever.

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Thank you all as well for all the gifts I really didn’t expect to receive. To start with on Friday I received a parcel of a lovely teapot and selection of tea’s from Wendy and Sharon. It is perfect as both Colin and I love our cuppa, but after thanking all the Sharon’s and Wendy’s at the party, all of whom said it wasn’t them that sent it I am at a loss of who it came from ?

In my excitement cards got detached from presents and I am not sure who to thank for what. So I must apologise but a big THANK YOU to you all. I do know that I got the most amazing bouquet from Natasha, and a lovely basket of goodies from my good friend Julie Nash. I also received a lovely photo frame, candles, chocolates, slippers and foot creams, a perfect leather bound journal which I can’t wait to fill and a hamper of all my favourite things from my gorgeous cousin Mathew and his lovely wife Clare. Both Colin and I can’t wait to meet up with them again sometime soon.

July 13th really was a very special day. It was made special by all who were involved and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

I hope to be able to add more photo’s and video footage very soon. If you took any photo’s or film on the night I would be very grateful if you could send them to me at deborah.bone@mac.com

Thank you once again to all you lovely people

Deborah xxx

Living a decadent lifestyle.

Look whose joined me in bed this morning. imageFrodo is not usually allowed on our bed or even upstairs but seeing that we have stolen his space and are still camping out downstairs, I think he can be excused.
Yesterday I spent the whole day in bed, well I have got cancer you know, not that I need an excuse but laziness is not a trait I have or am comfortable with. It is good however to lay in bed when I don’t really need to and it’s more out of sheer naughtiness. So laying in bed yesterday (and you never know, if I dare, perhaps again today) was out of choice and I really appreciated that. As I laid here I watched the world happening around me. Colin busying himself with trying to fix the ride on mower again, thinking he had achieved it, triumphantly waving from the field only to do one lap before puffs of smoke (coming from his ears not the mower) prevented any more and in sheer frustration he started to push the petrol mower around, taking him about three hours to finish. Mummy arriving with moss and plants to fill the hanging baskets and then planted beans and wandered around with the watering can. All this as I lay rather guiltily eating chocolate peanuts and reading my Jerry Springer style magazine. Later cheese on toast was presented to me in bed, followed by the last but two of Kate’s rather lovely home made rock cakes. Then Kate popped by and joined me on the bed as we giggled like naughty sisters do, and checked plans for the party noting who had and hadn’t yet purchased their tickets. If we were going by purchases alone we would only be having fourteen people turn up! I do however know the other hundred or so of you will get round to it very soon. The retired vicar was the next to pop in and share a cuppa and the last of the rock cakes. I then put on a hat (as you do when the vicar arrives) in rather a jaunty fashion as he photographed me, whilst siting up in bed and interviewed me for the next edition of the Village Voice. It all happens here in Hinxworth you know. The next to arrive were Colin’s parents, Keith and Shirley. Shirley bought a food parcel consisting of a homemade toad in the hole and accompanying vegetables, fruit crumble and cream, some rice, cherries, apricots, half a bottle of wine, a bottle of beer, a couple of onions,carrots and potatoes and a tin of fruit. Maybe she knows something I don’t, or is just hankering back to the day she was evacuated from London during the war? Oh yes and I mustn’t forget she bought a very welcome, tin full of homemade rock cakes (just in time as we do hate to be without in case the vicar calls again). Now you might think that was it for the night as by this time it was approaching 7 pm but no our next very welcome guests were Sue and Angela with their little dog Hattie. Colin and Sue went off on a long dog walk whilst Angela and I roared with laughter together, over wine and more kindly donated packets of chocolate peanuts, at the odd and very scandalous stories in the Real People magazine. “Soul Mates – when Angela went clubbing she met a disco diva with a difference” in the story Angela 29 stone and in a wheelchair suddenly realised she was a lesbian as her eyes met across the dance floor with 6 foot tall and 20 stone Cherilyn. Honestly I only bought the magazine for the competitions in it! At an offering of two thousand pounds per story, I suppose people will go to any lengths to get their story published. Instead of writing a book I ought to be thinking up a story I could submit for publication. This is a normal magazine not one of those top shelf (if they still have such a thing)or brown bag saucy mags! Well that was it for the night Colin and I finally settled down to our hot chocolate and still in the same bed in the conservatory I slid further down the duvet for another night of indoor camping.

This morning the sun is shining brightly and the view has only been improved. Why would you get out of bed? Perhaps it wouldn’t be considered as being so lazy if I actually got down to writing a chapter or two today? If this is what retiring is going to be like, bring it on!

I hope all you lovely people, who are going out to work, have a good day. And for any of you who are ladies that lunch please feel free to pop round and share a chocolate peanut or two.

Deborah xxx

PS Apologies for the return of the explanation marks, Uncle Jack!

What a lot of fuss…

..it was to get a massage. Thank you to all of you who made comments on the Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden Facebook page. Honestly why couldn’t they just have said yes to my massage in the first place, I had a letter from my consultant stating it was OK for me to have a gentle massage. I explained this to the lady on the phone at Cambridge and she checked with the head of therapies and they definitely stated that it was in their policy not to give a massage to people with cancer until they had been in remission for six months. Colin then rang the head office at Covent Garden and the lady on the phone there was quite curt and stated the same, she was not compassionate in any way and just seemed to want to get Colin off the phone. It is funny that after the comments made on their Facebook page they changed their minds. A much more compassionate lady rang from their media office and apologised for the mix up. Apparently the policy does say if the person has a doctors note it is ok. So Kate and I are now going on April 5th, Kate will have a complimentary massage and we will both have complimentary manicures plus they are providing us with lunch, so I think it will be a good afternoon. Kate thinks I should have made more of a fuss and held out for more as it is pretty disgusting to treat people that way and I was very upset by it, but to tell the truth I am too tired and its not like me to make a fuss.

Today my good friend and fellow grumpy old woman (there are a few of us in the club) is coming to give me a manicure and a hand massage. My legs,arms and hands are very painful. I am on constant painkillers but surely I can’t keep taking them. I wish the pain would subside and I really hope this pain isn’t going to be permenant. I have an appointment with the consultant next week where we will discuss what happens next. I hope to have one last round of chemo and then to be told that I am definitely in remission. I will then just have the stem harvesting to do. Unfortunately that’s not as plain sailing as I first thought and it seems that I have to inject myself daily for about ten days. I think I will have to call upon my nurse friends for this part as I am not good with needles.

Thank you for your feedback about the Meday book. Colin is going to look in the loft today for my original scribbles and then I am going to crack on with it. I think it might be quite a slow process as these painkillers make me quite dopey and the pain makes it hard for me to concentrate for very long.

On the bright side the scarves I sold made £25.00 for Macmillan.

The 10% of the profits going to the Myeloma research charity will need to wait until I have sold the rest of the clothes and shoes before I can tell how much money I have made, so far I am about £800 in the red! I never was a great money maker, I blame the steroids as when I was on them I got a bit over excited buying stuff. I shall heve to a bit more careful when on my next round of chemo.

Well today is Wednesday and we are halfway through the week already. What a shame about the weather with so many people with plans for the Easter weekend. It looks like you will need to go abroad for any chance of seeing sunshine. Hopefully we will have a brilliant summer and it will be lovely and hot in time for my party on July 13th.

Have a good day

Deborah x

Book Proposal

I thought today I would share a book proposal I put together in 2004 (I can’t believe it was that long ago), the idea was to send it off to a publisher. If I decide to finish this book I would bypass a publisher and just self publish. One of my best friends has done just that and is earning nearly £100 every month. OK thats not enough to pay the mortgage but it’s a start.

I would be grateful for your thoughts, please be honest as I have other book ideas and don’t want to waste my time on this one if you don’t think it’s worth it.

So hear goes:

Welcome to the Meday Concept

An inspirational guide to taking control of time that will change you’re life forever.

Written for all those busy people who think they haven’t the time to read it!

Because….Smart People do Lunch!

What is ‘Welcome to the Meday Concept’ all about?

‘Welcome to the Meday Concept’ is a self help guide to improving emotional wellbeing. The term Meday is being used to illustrate a moment in time taken for oneself. This book is for anyone struggling to balance the demands of the workplace, school or family life or for those who just want to step off the treadmill and claim back some time for themselves.
The concept is accessible to anyone regardless of age, culture, religion, or gender. Very soon the idea will become common practice and people all over the world will be taking a Meday. Employers will encourage staff to take a Meday as they start to recognise its contribution to increased productivity and its ability to reduce stress. Single parents to busy executives, children to grandparents will soon be talking about their own unique Meday experiences.

This book will discuss the importance of the Meday and how it guarantees to change your life. Packed with invaluable advice, checklists and action plans it will provide a simple easy-to-understand guide on how to achieve the perfect Meday.
Taking small steps and periods of time out from a busy schedule will allow individuals to revaluate their strengths, and put some balance back into their lives.

The concept uses a solution-focused brief therapy approach by focusing on solutions rather than investigating problems.
It can be used by the reader alone or with the help of a therapist either way; by investing time in ones emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing the improvement in quality of life can be unbelievable.

Who will buy this book and why?

This book is aimed at anyone interested in improving their emotional well being. Self help books have become increasingly popular over the past few years. The strongest target group most likely to buy this book will be women who want to make sense of their lives and slow down. It will also be of interest to professionals who want to explore its concepts in order to increase productivity in the work place and therapists who want to use its ideas in their own work.

This book is just the beginning and will be followed by more books on the subject such as; ‘365 Meday Ideas’, ‘Celebratory Meday’s’, and ‘How the Meday concept changed my life around’. There will be a range of Meday products and services for sale. The Meday concept is revolutionary and will change lives forever.

The Meday Concept will be talked about on morning TV and late night shows. The author will travel the world giving conferences for business professionals to women’s institutes.
I have no doubt that this books willing formula will make it a best seller with many by-products, making its author and publisher a household name and a tidy sum of money.

Contents

Chapter 1 – Introduction
Explanation of the Meday Concept
Why we need it? – Research into effects of stress on physical and mental health.
Benefits of following the Meday program
How it will work
Who this book is for – Check list with tick boxes

Chapter Two – Why taking time for yourself has never been so important
Living in today’s busy world
Juggling time
Pressures and its effects both long and short term

Chapter Three – What is a Meday and how it can help change your life
Taking time for ones self
Lunch breaks
Weekends
Annual Leave

Chapter Four – Recognising the signs/When to take a Meday
Symptoms of stress

Chapter Five – How to plan the perfect Meday
The importance of planning
Ideas for the perfect Meday
Charts to help you successfully plan your time

Chapter Six – How to help others achieve their perfect Meday
Using the concept in a therapy setting

Chapter Seven – Noticing the changes within yourself
Recognising the differences you’ve made to yourself and the effects on those around you
Sharing the secret

Chapter Eight – Lie back and enjoy the sunshine
Recap
Reflection
Evaluation

So there you have it, I have written quite a bit already but will need to hunt it out because all I could find so far was the above book proposal I put together.

Happy Tuesday another day we need to wrap up warm unfortunately.

Deborah x

The week ahead

Luckily the pain in my side is being well controlled by the double dose of Tramadol and except for a visit to the hospital on Tuesday I have a free week ahead.

So how shall I spend my time? I do have a little job I want to get on with for our Chief Exec at work which could be quite interesting, I have my book to write, my painting to finish, a spa day voucher and a facial voucher (two different places) to use up, my stone painting day to go on and so many TV programmes and films to watch.

How could anyone ever be bored?

I would love to be a columnist for a newspaper or magazine but unfortunately I didn’t hear any more from the editors I contacted. 😦

I don’t know how I am ever going to return to a full time job but unfortunately finances dictate and I will need to return at the end of my six months on full pay, otherwise I go down to half pay. The problem is, I worry that I won’t be well enough because my days are so unpredictable. I also have my stem cell harvesting to go through once my chemo has finished. This is also worrying me a little because I have to inject myself with a growth hormone for about ten days prior to having my stem cells being removed. It is a shame because I love my job but may need to consider other options for the future. There is the possibility of cashing in my pension early due to ill health but that won’t last long and I will still need to find some work. Perhaps I could do some private mental health training or therapy?

So many things to think about, I think I just need to take each day as it comes because with myeloma you never seem to know what is going to happen next.

I think I will just have a lie in this morning then sort out all the clothes and shoes left over from Village Secrets and put them on eBay or something.

I hope you all have a good day, don’t work too hard!

Love Deborah xxx

One minute I am perfectly OK the next…

… I am doubled over in pain, in my right side just under my ribs. I think it is just the nature of myeloma and/or the effects of taking so many drugs. I was doubled over and in agony scoring myself 10/10 for pain. I didn’t know what to do with myself and I was so surprised as it came on so suddenly. It was very frustrating as the last thing I wanted to do on a snowy Saturday was to visit A&E but following a call to my cancer specialists and an increased dose of pain killers this was the advice given. So I opted for a trip to Addenbrooks and after a 3 hour wait I eventually got to see a doctor. He couldn’t have been kinder or more professional. I had a chest x-ray to check for pneumonia and my bloods taken. All were OK and after a discussion with my cancer doctors and a dose of Oramorph it was agreed that I could go home as long as I promised to come back if the pain increased again and I would see my cancer doctors as soon as possible next week. I was so doped up on medication I could hardly keep my eyes open and managed to get a good nights sleep without the help of my sleeping tablets.

This morning the pain is still there but not nearly as bad, so I think today will be spent resting, as you know by now not my favourite thing to do, but yet again I must succumb!

I am so annoyed as I really need to help Kate out and clear up all the Village Secrets stuff that is still scattered around her house. Never mind I know she will understand.

Whatever will happen next?

I hope you all have a restful Sunday if that’s what you desire.

Much love

Deborah

A great night out..

..was had by us all as we listened to and watched the CC Smugglers in full swing.

They really are very talented and soon got the audience up on their feet dancing the night away.

Sebastian if you are reading this. CC Smugglers are going to be the next sought after band so get in quick, I can’t wait for you to see them in July.

Have a look at their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ccsmugglers

Now I am even more excited about my summer charity birthday party.

Just in case you don’t know about it, it’s going to be one hell of a night in July. I don’t want to put too many details out publicly but if you want to know more and want a couple of the elusive £10.00 tickets just email me. We have 200 tickets in all with the first batch going to family and friends. All the money raised from the night will go to Myeloma Research.
There will be live music from CC Smugglers and the rather lovely David Mills, a chilli supper and a field to camp in if you fancy staying over night.

All we need is the sunshine and for you to be there.

Have a chilled out Sunday.

X

Will they or won’t they..

…give me chemo today? I must admit not having received it on Monday I really noticed the difference as I was soon back to my excitable old self. I do appreciate I need it so it can get on with doing its job but it was good to get a glimpse of what it might be like when I am in remission.  I have a little way to go yet though and 1-3 more cycles of chemo to endure.  If only I could say I”m OK now lets not bother with the rest. Never mind perhaps they will just give me a reduced dose today  so the side effects will be kept to a minimum. I do hope so as we are going to see the CC Smugglers playing at the Letchworth Arts Centre on Saturday night. I think there are some tickets left if anyone else fancies coming along for a preview of the band who are playing at my charity birthday party in July.

So back to which therapy?
Two for the price of one today!
Starting with ….good old fashioned counselling?
Counselling is sometimes used as an umbrella term for a range of different therapeutic approaches.  The word ‘counselling’ or ‘counsellor’ covers a broad spectrum, from someone who is highly trained to someone who uses counselling skills (listening, reflecting back what you say, or clarifying) as part of another role, such as nursing.
I am using the term here to mean a style of talking therapy delivered by a trained professional.
Counselling provides a regular time and space for people to talk about their troubles and explore difficult feelings in an environment that is dependable, free from intrusion and confidential. A counsellor should respect your viewpoint while helping you to deal with specific problems, cope with crises, improve your relationships, or develop better ways of living. Time is given for a trusting relationship to be developed.
Despite the name, counsellors don’t usually offer advice. Instead, they help you to gain a better insight into your feelings.  They do this by listening to what you have to say , and reflecting and clarifying with you what you have meant by these words. They may notice and point out any incongruent inconsistencies. For example if you are talking about a happy situation but your body language is showing a different story.
Sessions usually take place once a week. Making this regular commitment may give you a better chance of finding out why you are having difficulties.  Some people stay in this type of counselling for many years.
In general, a counsellor will listen to you without butting-in or imposing their own values and beliefs on you. They will give you the space to explore your thoughts, feelings, or behaviour, whatever they are. People can find it helpful just to have their concerns taken seriously.
For me personally, although I think there may be a place for this type of more longer term counselling, I am not sure it works as well as some of the other therapies that offer shorter term solutions. Maybe I want a quick fix? I have spoken regularly throughout this blog about the importance of time and for some people, having more time to reflect on their situation and explore for themselves a way forward is perhaps helpful?
And of course, there is no such thing as one-size-treats all approach to therapy. Every person and their life experiences make them unique. This means that the approach taken to help you through what you may be struggling with should also be unique and should be customised to meet your needs.
Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy.
Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, apply theoretical and clinical knowledge developed over the last hundred years. It grew out of the work of the famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, who began developing his therapeutic techniques in the late 1800s.
In psychoanalytic psychotherapy, the therapist is not directive and will not usually give advice.
The process involves the therapist following and paying attention to whatever the client presents and offering their understanding of this, including possible unconscious influences. The aim is to enable the client to think in new ways about their life and thereby to find their own solutions to problems.
The therapeutic relationship is the foundation for this method and requires commitment and responsibility from both the psychotherapist and client.  The aim is to work together to make sense of the clients’ emotional life and ways of functioning.
The work makes links between present and past as well as emphasising the clients’ here-and-now experience. Exploration of the conscious and unconscious aspects of the therapeutic relationship (also known as transference and countertransference) makes this work different from other therapies or from talking to a friend.
Through non-judgemental understanding and interpretative work within the therapeutic relationship, clients  can recognise underlying meanings of dreams, conflicts and fantasies and the way in which thoughts and feelings are expressed and resisted. This understanding enables new choices to be made, and the fulfilment of individuals’ unique potential.
Psychoanalysts and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapists complete theoretical and experiential post-graduate training following a professional qualification. They are required to undergo their own psychoanalysis or psychoanalytic psychotherapy as part of their training, which enables them to understand distress and symptoms, and be mindful of the possibilities of their own personal biases.
As you can perhaps see, there is a wealth of experience,  theory and evidence behind this type of therapy and I have a great deal of respect for the training, and hard work that the therapist has undertaken in order to best support their client.
So the choice is getting greater, tomorrow I will explorer one of my favourites, Human Givens Psychotherapy and of course NLP.
Have a good Wednesday, not long till the weekend now, but don’t wait until then go out and enjoy today.

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Deborah x
PS. I have noticed a reduction in comments , are you still out there? Perhaps I am just waffling on about subjects that are interesting to me but are not what you want to be reading about. I can talk about other things rather than mental health but I am not sure talking to myself is necessarily a good thing? So do let me know if you are still there.

A very proud mum and the NHS change day…

I am very proud of both of my daughters but today I want to share with you the success of my eldest daughter and how I feel so proud of her, especially in the last few weeks and months.

Pollyanna is undoubtably a very bright and focused young lady. This is not only demonstrated by her academic achievements that include, a first degree in politics and philosophy, a distinction in Masters of research, and her recent completion of the CIMA
(Chartered Institute of Management Accounts) course, (so far she has passed all of her exams for this with flying colours and is all set to receive her qualification as a charted accountant). I also want to acknowledge her dedication in supporting my own organisation, me personally and the rest of her family.

Pollyanna is always ready to help her elderly grandmother calling her most days and visiting her weekly, she supports her sister with her baby Elliot, and of course is there for me and her step father, calling us daily with offers of support and regular visits.

She finds the time and energy to do all this whilst finishing her NHS graduate scheme, which was no mean feat to get on (the competition was very tough) and is juggling her studies with her regular work place.

I am sure like me, having the support of a caring partner helps, so I must also thank her lovely boyfriend for his contribution.

I certainly appreciate that I couldn’t achieve all I do without the support and care of my loving husband and I often think Colin should be on my trusts pay role with the unseen time he spends rushing around printing, binding and generally supporting me behind the scenes. No wonder the poor guy has chest pains! Maybe I had better take a look at his work / life balance! Colin really is the wind beneath my wings.

Pollyanna has lots of resilience factors and her mothers drive, energy and enthusiasm for life.

Only a few years ago her paternal grandfather, to whom she was very close, died of Myeloma and her biological father has only recently got over ( if you can get over such a thing) bowel cancer. Now with my own diagnosis to come to terms Pollyanna’s powers of resilience and positive mental attitude are really coming into play

She is presently being offered various jobs and has to consider her next move very carefully. There is nothing tying her in to the NHS and with her connections in the city she could easily get a job with a bank earning mega bucks.

But not Pollyanna she is passionate about the NHS and making a difference, (now where may that have come from, I wonder ?).

Relatively recently , together with a few of her young graduate colleagues, they came up with the idea of the NHS Change Day.

This day is drawing close, it is set for March 13th, so only one week to go.

If I had been well and working (not signed off on sick leave) , I would have been more involved in our trusts drive to get our staff involved. I do hope, however, that many of the staff have read the newsletter that came out on February 27th . It was all about the NHS change day and how our chief exec David Law, is calling on us all to make a pledge.

David Law, will pledge…….”We will discuss how to reduce paperwork for the clinical teams”

and…The Quality Directorate Team pledges that on that day, each member of the Quality and Governance Directorate will visit one of the Trust’s services to meet the patients and team members, find out more about the services offered and support them to get involved in the day.

If you are working for our organisation have you made your pledge yet?

You didn’t think a little thing like Cancer would keep me quiet and off your back did you, even if I am running a little behind schedule?

For the many readers of this blog who aren’t health professionals and we are up to nearly 10,000 views now , let me explain to you what this is all about.

This information is taken directly from NHS Change Day website:

NHS Change Day is a single day of collective action to demonstrate how small changes can have a big impact.

On the 13 March 2013 NHS Change Day will bring together the individual creativity, energy and innovative thinking of thousands of NHS staff from across clinical and non-clinical areas of work, in a single day of collective action to improve care for patients, their families and their carers.

Change Day is an NHS grassroots initiative devised and driven by new young and emergent clinical and managerial leaders from primary and secondary care across the NHS in England, who want to make this call to action the single largest simultaneous improvement event in the NHS.

It is an ambitious programme of activities aimed at galvanising and engaging the frontline in the process of improvement through individuals and teams pledging to make a change in their practice which will improve patient experience and/or clinical outcomes by spreading and adopting best practice and championing innovation.

This will be a country wide event covering the whole of the UK and will coincide with Healthcare Innovation Expo at Excel in the same day.

The idea of NHS Change Day is to create a mass movement of people working in the NHS
demonstrating the difference they can make – by one simple act – and proving that large scale improvement is possible in the NHS. The aim is for 65,000 people to take part, 65 being the number of years the NHS has been in existence.

Those who wish to take part can go to the NHS Change Day website at http://www.changemodel.nhs.uk/changeday and make their pledge online, join in the discussions on the forum and become part of the growing list of active supporters and organisations taking part on the day.

You can see how proud I am of Pollyanna for coming up with such a great idea , (alongside a few of her colleagues of course)

My pledge is…to increase the resilience of our workforce by empowering them to improve their own mental health and emotional well being and achieve a better more healthy work / life balance.

I intend to do this by writing a blog for our organisation, very similar to this one but perhaps more specifically sharing the mental health parts of this blog with all the Hertfordshire Community NHS staff.

Should I just share this blog, which could perhaps act as a good role model for coping with adversity and demonstrating resilience?

Or write a more specific new blog? I am not sure as this one is quite a bit more about me rather than how I can help others.

I know some of you reading this are working in our trust so I would value your opinion in particular. Also have you made your pledge yet?

Remember you only have a few days left to deliver your pledge.

I am also considering going down to London ( yet again but not for treatment this time) to take part in the Heath Innovation Expo being put out on to celebrate the day.

I just need to find some one to go along with who is happy to perhaps drive or at least accompany a bald, bloated but enthusiastic cancer patient who is still holding on tight to her passion for work and mental health.

I think I must also ask the nurses etc at UCLH today what they know about the NHS change day and check to see of they have put their pledge in yet.

Hmm I wonder if my own team have put out their pledges, it’s hard being out of the loop. Hopefully one of them will be reading this blog and encourage the others to get their pledges in. It doesn’t have to be anything big just one thing that you are pledging to do to make a change in practice that in turn will improve our patients experience. Please let me know.

I urge you all not to just read, or necessarily believe all the bad spin stories often reported about us in the daily papers. We are, in the majority, a caring bunch of extremely dedicated people who want to keep the NHS alive and something that our whole country can feel proud of. I do however feel thst we have the private sector biting at our ankles, hungry for a piece of the action, and just perhaps offering a cheaper but not necessarily greater quality of service. In this day of financial constraints , even at the cost of reduced quality, money talks, and with new commissioning arrangements we are all having to work with a business head on. This is not necessarily something nurses have had needed to think about never mind worry about and do before.

Well it looks like I have got plenty to keep me motivated and out of mischief, so I am so pleased those cancerous cells have been taking note and dying off. They really do have no place to hide in my body. Together we are seeking them out and if one rat gets pregnant we shall be after it and its young, (sorry poor rats I didn’t mean to necessarily pick on you as my metaphor).

I am also grateful for my ten plate spinning abilities and will certainly not let the ‘Village Secrets’, ‘ Especially for You ‘ charity scarves or ‘Hinxworth Festival Birthday Charity Party’ , fall to the ground, with much family and community support they are continuing to spin well.

So just to finish off, this post is dedicated to Pollyanna.

Thank you for being the beautiful shining star you are and letting others benefit from you glorious rays of sunshine.

Your very proud mum

Deborah

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