A fun time was had….

….at the Village Secrets event. Thank you to all who came along for the evening. I haven’t added up yet but I think we must have made quite a bit of money for the Macmillan Cancer Support and Myeloma Research.

village secret set up

I want to say a very big THANK YOU to Lorna who helped set up and organised the raffle.

And to all those people who contributed a prize.

The Sun Studio in Letchworth www.sunstudioletchworth.co.uk/
Chris Teas in Letchworth www.chris-teas.co.uk/
Earth Sense www.earth-sense.co.uk
Vintage Barn www.dressingroomboutique.net

I also must thank Nice Buns Bakery who provided the delicious cupcakes
Find them on Facebook ‘NiceBuns Bakery’
cakes
Another big thank you to Sophie who helped to organise the event with lots of useful advice. Sophie has set up and runs the Vintage Barn in Swangley’s Lane, Knebworth. It really is worth a visit with lots of shabby chic and painted furniture, plus other unique bits and pieces. If you visit her Facebook page ‘ Dressing Room Boutique Knebworth’ you will find lots of photos and a link to her blog that gives a range of helpful home design tips and creative ideas.

Thank you also to Danielle who came along with her make up kit and made a few of us look even more glamorous. Danielle has a studio in Stevenage and also visits people’s homes for make up parties and bridal make up etc. she can be contacted on 07969007996 or by email her on danielle@makeup-guru.co.uk

And last of all I would like to thank my best friends Sue and Angela, they really are true friends and are always ready and willing to support both Colin and I. Angela did a great job managing the till, never failing to make the ‘Ker-ching’ sound, and Sue could develop a whole new career as a saleswoman!

I mustn’t forget my lovely sister Kate who hosted the night at her house and who continues to regularly provide support both practically and emotionally to me and Colin.

Having Cancer isn’t so bad after all as I am experiencing things I would never have done before. I have also learnt how kind and generous people are and how I can rely on the Not So Desperate Housewives of Hinxworth for their support and make any evening fun and exciting. I am sorry I can’t reveal some of the conversations and other things that went on, as after all this is Village Secrets!

I am now really looking forward to my charity birthday party event. Tickets are £10.00 each and there will be live music, a chilli supper and lots of dancing under the stars. Camping is also available for those too drunk to stagger home, just bring your own tent along.

If you would like more information about this exciting summer evening just send an email to deborah.bone@mac.com.

Have a great weekend everybody

Deborah xxx

Village Secrets and good friends.

Tonight’s the night, how exciting. Thanks to my sleeping tablets and strong pain killers I have had a good nights sleep so although feeling a little dopey at the moment I am raring to go.

I hope the cold weather doesn’t put people off attending. Some kind lady has baked a load of cup cakes and we will have a beauty therapist coming with her make up kit ready to give advice and add the finishing touches to your new look.

Who knows what you will find, I have tried to buy a mixture of designer clothes and shoes and it has been difficult not to hold on to some of them for myself.

I will have available some Village Secrets Style Sheets, to be filled in, this will help me to get hold of the right sort of clothes in the future if we decide to repeat the evening.

Thank you for all your support in helping to make this happen. When I was at school I didn’t have many friends. I hated every moment of school probably due to spending much of the time fearing the bullies who stole my dinner money and tried to burn my hair . Bullying is a big issue in schools and contributes to the increasing amount of young people who are being referred to our service for depression and low self esteem.

Now-a-days I seem to have lots of people I could call friends. Having Cancer has made me appreciate this even more and think that I must try to be a better friend myself.

Yesterday one of our best friends took time off work to come and clean our home. She also brought round a lovely homemade shepherds pie. We protested at first because it is hard to accept help, but it was so much appreciated and meant that both Colin and I could give our bodies the much needed rest in the afternoon.

We lay in front our lovely warm wood burning stove filled with logs that another new friends dropped around which meant that Colin did not have to go out chopping wood. How thoughtful is that!

Kate is my best friend as well as having the job of being my little sister. She readily puts other things on hold to help out and Colin was really appreciative of her support yet again at Wednesday’s hospital visit. And tonight she has agreed for me to host the first Village Secrets event in her home. So I must say a big ‘Thank You’ to her.

Sometimes work gets in the way of family and friends, having been forced to take time away from work has made me appreciate all the good things and people around me. When I do return to work I will make sure I get a better balance.

Try not to work too hard today.

I look forward to seeing many of you later.

Deborah x

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

They didn’t…

..give me chemo. After a four hour wait I got to see the doctor, in between his clinic patients, for literally 5 mins. That’s all it took for him to decide not to give me the chemo. Honestly. money, time and energy could have been saved if he just asked me those questions over the phone, but never mind, I am a patient, patient.

A grading system is used when looking at side effects of the drugs I am being administered, and the doctors are particularly concerned about peripheral neuropathy. This is damage to the nervous system causing loss of sensation or pain and if you are not careful can be irreversible, so I am grateful for the doctors being so cautious.

It is graded in severity and a decision is then made whether to give the drug or at least reduce the dose.

Grade 1 Asymptomatic; loss of deep tendon reflexes or parathesia (including tingling) but not interfering with function No action

Grade 2 or Grade 1 with pain Sensory alteration or parathesia (including tingling) interfering with function but not with activities of daily living (ADL). Reduce bortezomib (Velcade, one of my chemo drugs) to 1.0 mg/m2 (25% dose reduction)

Grade 3 or Grade 2 with pain Sensory alteration or parathesia interfering with ADL Withhold bortezomib until toxicity resolves then restart at 0.7 mg/m2 (50% dose reduction)

Grade 4 Permanent sensory loss interfering with function (disabling) Discontinue bortezomib

As I was grade 2 with pain the drug has been withheld and I expect I will receive a reduced dose in cycle 4 of my chemo regime.

So I am chemo free and it feels good, I can even taste some foods!

I suppose there is a double edged sword to all this because although life without chemo is much more bearable I do realise it is doing some good and killing off those cancer cells. So I shall visualise the few little rats left behind hibernating, and them not getting rampant during this drug free rest period. Then on March 25th whilst they are still snoring away they will be zapped with the next dose of infertility gas making the males impotent and the females unable to reproduce. Sorry little rats but no more sexy times for you, I don’t want cancer babies chewing on MY bone marrow.

Hmm… rats in my bone marrow, I think I could have perhaps come up with a better metaphor than that!

Thinking about metaphors etc lets get back to which therapy?

Human Givens Psychotherapy

The theory of Human Givens is founded on the belief that every human has certain resources, such as creativity, imagination, memory, problem solving abilities and different thinking styles. Additionally, each person has specific core needs. these include physical needs such as warmth, shelter, food and water and emotional/psychological needs such as love , autonomy , attention, meaning and purpose, belonging, security, status. Remember the LAMBSS?

This theory suggests that it is only at times that these needs and resources are lacking that people fall victim to symptoms of addictions and other disorders such as depression.

The goal of this method of therapy is to identify and clear any obstacles that are preventing the realisation of these needs.

The human givens approach to psychotherapy was founded in 1998 by 2 British psychotherapists, Ivan Tyrrell and Joe Griffin, who decided that a larger “organizing idea” or foundation for psychotherapy was needed, based on these human needs or givens. These needs and resources, which are built into our biology, constitute the “human givens.”

Human Givens therapists focus on helping clients identify unmet emotional needs and empowering them to meet these needs by activating their own resources in new ways. The human givens approach, is increasing its evidence base and has proved effective for conditions such as depression, anxiety, addictions, trauma, obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic attacks.

It does not require the client to re-tell their story in minute detail, is more interested in the hear and now and is brief in its approach.

See below a case study taken from the Human Givens website. I have chosen this one as it is very similar to the work I have done and my own experiences.

SARAH, a single mother of two boys under five, shuffled dispiritedly into my [Ivan Tyrrell’s] consulting room. She was completely lacking in confidence and her voice was almost a hoarse whisper as a result of what she termed her nervous breakdown. She lived on a council estate in a flat too small for herself and her two children (one of whom had behaviour difficulties), and had had to let her children go to live with her parents because she couldn’t cope with them in her present circumstances.

A year previously, her ex-partner, the father of her sons, had thrown a brick through the window of her flat, broken in and assaulted her. A new relationship had just recently gone wrong because the man, himself depressed, was too possessive and overprotective of her. She was in despair, missing her children desperately, and, knowing she needed help, had accepted the chance of free sessions of therapy to be used for training purposes.

She told me she was unable to sleep properly and felt utterly exhausted. Since her parents had taken over responsibility for her sons, she rarely left her poky flat, had let herself get overweight and spent her time depressed about her life and the loss of her boys, or worried about her debts. In answer to my questions about her life, she told me she hated being on benefits and that, when she was 17, she had loved her work as a care assistant in an old people’s home. I also found out that she had used to enjoy going swimming and had joined a gym before her ‘breakdown’ but had rarely gone there.

When I asked her what, realistically, she would like to have happen in her life, she said she would like to move, and mentioned for the first time that she was now ‘priority’ on the council’s waiting list to be allocated a house and garden. She was actually expecting to hear about a move within a week or so. She also wished for a job, although she saw many obstacles to this.

As we talked, I countered her negative comments about herself, inviting her to see herself as caring, loving, independent, someone with initiative and so on, and explained how endless worrying turns one inwards. What would help her most, I suggested, was to direct her attention outwards, so that she could find solutions to her problems instead of just worrying about them, and regain her interest in things outside of herself. These ideas were new to her.

I suggested she close her eyes and relax while, one by one, we went through the things she had said she needed to sort out in her life and she imagined herself dealing with them. For instance, I asked her to imagine herself enjoying going swimming regularly again, and going to the gym; to imagine herself looking at local papers for possible jobs, perhaps in the care field, or finding out about courses she might want to take; and to imagine herself in a new house with her boys back living with her and feeling positive about the future. I conveyed my impression of her as a strong, ‘can-do’ person, who could do much to change her situation within the next few weeks before I saw her again.

I also asked her to start noticing the good things, however small, that happened over that period and make more good things happen. “All you can work with is now and the future. You can’t do anything about the past,” I said. “I think the changes will be fantastic.” “Okay,” said Sarah. “That sounds good.”

When she came back to see me a few weeks later Sarah was looking bright and alive. “I feel really well,” she said. “You gave me a lot to think about, a lot of positive things.” She told me she was swimming regularly and had already started losing weight. Although she hadn’t gone back to the gym, she was using an exercise bike at home in the mornings.

She now had her children back staying with her three or four nights a week and planned to have them home full time very shortly, as she had now been offered a three bedroom house. She was doing a parenting course, which she found really useful in helping her handle her sons’ behaviour, and had been in touch with an agency which helped single parents back into work. She was also “getting on top of” her bills and announced she had felt low only one day in the last month. “I actually feel in control of my life again,” she said. “I felt like it was being taken over by, I don’t know, I just felt like it was being taken over.”

Shifting her focus on to solving her problems had stopped her negative introspections, normalising her sleep patterns as a result. Her voice was also back to normal. When I commented that she seemed to have everything pretty much under control and probably didn’t need any further help from me, Sarah herself said, in amazement, “One session I think that’s probably all it took, really; it gave me a push in the right direction. Whereas if I’d gone to [a different kind of] counselling, I might still be back where I was.”

She told me she had had a couple of sessions with the counsellor at a college she had attended some years before. “The woman I had just sat there. She didn’t comment on anything, she just expected me to pour out all about my past history. Basically, you are stuck in that little world still, revolved round the past, which isn’t really a good idea because — you can’t change it! [That kind of] counselling doesn’t give you anything whatsoever to think about or to dwell on, whereas this therapy does. You’ve got a lot of positive things to think about that you can get on with in your life.”

© Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell 2006

You will notice the use of visualisation. It would appear that the client went into a hypnotic, trance like state as various ideas were suggested to her.

I have used this way of working for many years now and have personally experienced excellent results. Young people are particularly open to this way of thinking and I believe it empowers people to participate in their therapeutic journey.

I love problem solving rather than ruminating over the whys and wherefore’s.

See below a simple exercise I often use:

Look around the room you are sitting in and notice all the red things in the room. Then close your eyes and make a mental list of all those things. Before you open your eyes list all the blue things you noticed in the room.

Because your mind wasn’t focusing on the blue things I don’t suppose you noticed many if any.

Now imagine if the red things were your problems if you focus on them you will see them in abundance but will you notice the blue things, the solutions?

Try focusing on the blue things and you will will soon start to notice more solutions than problems.

Have a good day.

Deborah x

PS. Thank you for all your comments and emails its good to know you are still out there, so I will carry on writing until I run out of things to say or you tell me to please shut up!

Today is …

..NHS Change Day, and I am feeling good.

I am proud to be a nurse.

Today I pledge to continue to honour my profession and use my skills and passion to improve the mental health and emotional well being of all I come in contact with.

I pledge to support my organisation in improving the mental health of our staff in order for them to act as good role models, feel comfortable to talk to patients about mental health and in turn improve the general health of our community.

Hertfordshire Community Health Service can feel proud of its staff who really want to make a difference to the health of their community.

As a patient I pledge to talk to the staff, who are treating me for myeloma, about my mental health and emotional well being. I shall demonstrate it is good to talk about mental health and the difference it can in turn make to physical health.

Today I appreciate all that life has given me and YES that does include Cancer. I thank the cancer cells for the challenge to become stronger and the opportunities that have been presented to me since the diagnosis. I thank it for teaching me how better to live in the moment, for inspiring me to write the blog, for the wonderful people I have met on my journey and for opening my eyes and ears to all that is good in the world.

I appreciate life and thank God,The Universe ( including the Parellel one!) science, human kind, evolution, dinosaurs, consciousness and whatever made , brought about, contributed to life today.

Being emotionally and mentally healthy doesn’t mean never going through bad times or experiencing emotional problems. We all go through disappointments, loss, and change. And while these are normal parts of life, they can still cause sadness, anxiety, and stress.

The difference is that people with good emotional health have an ability to bounce back from adversity, trauma, and stress. People who are emotionally and mentally healthy have the tools for coping with difficult situations and maintaining a positive outlook. They remain focused, flexible, and creative in bad times as well as good.

So who wouldn’t want to help others to feel emotionally healthy, what a privileged position I am in.

In order to maintain and strengthen your mental and emotional health, it’s important to pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Don’t let stress and negative emotions build up.

Try to maintain a balance between your daily responsibilities and the things you enjoy. If you take care of yourself, you’ll be better prepared to deal with challenges if and when they arise. Remember the blog about the importance of looking after yourself.

Here are a few tips for improving your mental health today:

  • Do something today that has a positive impact on someone else. (I am sure you all do this everyday anyway , just become more aware of it). Being useful to others and being valued for what you do can help build self-esteem.
  • Practice self-discipline. Self-control naturally leads to a sense of hopefulness and can help you overcome despair, helplessness, and other negative thoughts.
  • Learn or discover something new today. Think of it as “exercise for the brain”.
  • Enjoy the beauty of nature or art. Studies show that simply walking through a garden can lower blood pressure and reduce stress. Physical exercise releases endorphins, powerful chemicals that energize us and lift our mood.
  • Manage your stress levels. Stress takes a heavy toll on mental and emotional health, so it’s important to keep it under control. While not all stressors can be avoided, stress management strategies can help you bring things back into balance.
  • Limit unhealthy mental habits like worrying. Try to avoid becoming absorbed by repetitive mental habits – negative thoughts about yourself and the world that suck up time, drain your energy, and trigger feelings of anxiety, fear, and depression.
  • Appeal to your senses. Stay calm and energized by appealing to the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Listen to music that lifts your mood, place flowers where you will see and smell them, massage your hands and feet, or sip a warm drink.
  • Make time for contemplation and appreciation. Think about the things you’re grateful for. Meditate, pray, or simply take a moment to pay attention to what is good, positive, and beautiful as you go about your day.

As we know, everyone is different; not all things will be equally beneficial to all people.

Some people feel better relaxing and slowing down while others need more activity and more excitement or stimulation to feel good.

The important thing is to find activities that you enjoy and that give yourself a boost today you never know you might fancy doing it all again tomorrow!

I will get back on track tomorrow about ….which therapy, I just wanted to honour and share in the NHS Change Day today.

If you are a health professional or patient please make a pledge today by visiting:

http://www.changemodel.nhs.uk/pg/groups/33183/NHS+Change+Day/?community=NHS+Change+Day

A Special Request…

I would really appreciate it if you could share your pledge with me through your comments on this blog – Come on i know a lot of you read the blog now it’s your turn – Thank you

Scores on the board:

Physical health = 5.5 ( the leg pain is improving or at least kept at bay with the pain killers)

Mental Health = 2 It feels good to have my positive mentally healthy head back on!

Which therapy is best for me?

Oh dear it’s another early start for me as I avoided taking a sleeping tablet last night. I have however still had 5 hours sleep which, for me, is pretty good going and I have at my disposal a day of succumbing if need be, but I do hope not.

I have been thinking about mental health, as I usually do, and the minefield of different types of therapy and therapists out there. How does one choose which is best for them. I of course have my own ideas and preferences but these are based entirely on my own experiences and my personal  map of the world.

This blog post would be far too long if I were to tell you even a little about some of these in one fell swoop so I shall do so over the next few days.

I shall start with sharing my own journey into therapy and why and how I have come to the conclusions I have. Please do remember these are not necessarily the right ones they are just MY beliefs and like I said based on my experience of the world so far. I am forever in training and learning more, so develop new thoughts and ideas as I go along.

Many years ago, person centred counselling was the buzz word and therapy around, and I took up the opportunity to train undertaking a diploma in counselling at my local college. As part of the training you go into therapy yourself.

I will be explaining more about what each therapy contains in a little more detail in the days to come, but generally this type of therapy is one where you sit and talk as much or as little as you want , and the therapist skilfully listens and reflects back, clarifying what they think they have heard. Some people go into this type of counselling for many years.

When working as a specialist nurse for children, mostly teenagers, who had been in care, I
listened to their experiences of counselling, and decided for myself that there must be a better approach to helping this group of young people. Many of them had told their stories over and over again to numerous social workers etc. Some of the young people were now living semi independently alone in their own bedsits. They often reported how unhelpful they found it to go and sit with a therapist where they felt they had to bring up there past yet again and then return to their homes to mull it over. They also reported that they were looking for more practical advice and support rather than someone to feedback what they think they had just heard. I felt fully in agreement with that and was anxious about the effect some of this therapy was having upon them. This is what led to my journey into finding out more about Human Givens (HG) and completing a diploma with the Human Givens Institute to become an HG therapist. During this time I managed (quite a feat I must say) to get hold of some funding to employ two qualified human given therapists to work with this group of vulnerable young people. This produced some excellent results and some very positive anecdotal feedback from the young people themselves. HG therapy is short and quick and does not require the client to go over their story in great deal or in fact at all in some circumstances. You will just have to wait a few blogs to find out more!

As I was coming to the end of my HG training I stumbled across Neuro- linguistic programming (NLP) and as I have previously explained in an earlier post.

https://mymyelomajourney.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/nlp-and-my-personal-journey/#comments

I found this personally life changing. NLP to me, is more of an attitude and a deeper understanding of what is happening in my mind and body as well as the external world around me. For me it is a toolbox of different techniques drawn from, or very similar to, a number of other therapies such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Narrative Therapy , Psychoanalytic Therapy and Human Givens. NLP uses a range of techniques to help the client and the therapist gain a better understanding of their own world and resources, helping the client to move forward in their lives.

The biggest difference between the traditional therapies and the newer therapies like HG and NLP is the scientific evidence to back these newer theories up. However both of these are going through much research and analysis and the evidence is stacking up as to the positive impact they are having, so I hope they will soon be fully accepted and more respected by the scientific and academic community. All I can share is that for me personally and from what I have seen and experienced with my clients the techniques have had good results.

Since setting up a small team of mental health advisors and employing two excellent Clinical Psychologists I have been very lucky enough to listen and learn a little from them and their views and experiences. I have also experienced the support from a Clinical Psychologist on my own recent health journey as I tried to come to terms with my diagnosis. I learnt from them the importance of knowing and understanding something about my narrative. The story of my life to date and why this might be important in understanding the here and now. So I have a much more respectful view of why sometimes this may be appropriate.

At the end of the day , I believe it’s back to that old sage TIME. For me it is all about giving myself and the client time to think and explore together their resources and the best tools I have to share with them in the given time and situation being presented. Therapy is not something you do to some one else it is a journey you go on together with the therapist acting as a guide along the way. I believe you come into therapy to change your future not your past, but having a greater understanding about how your past history may have influenced your thinking today can be the key in helping you move forward.

So we have lots to explore together and over the next few blogs, I will talk in more depth about the different approaches and types of therapy you can access to help you with this.

On a different note, today I hope to bag up all the lovely scarves and hats that have been donated so far, ready to deliver to the Macmillan Centre next week. I shall make sure I get some photo’s to show you.

I also hope to have a visit to the wholesaler’s and start to better organise all the gear I have collected for the Village Secret event. So not much time for succumbing today I just hope my body agrees!

Have a happy day.

Are you getting your messages from the universe yet? If not don’t forget you can have them emailed to you for free by signing up at:

www.tut.com

Deborah x

Two sleeping tablets later…

…and I managed 8 hours sleep, I want to jump out of bed with joy but feel the remnants  of my deliberate choice to increase to double my dose, holding me back.

Yesterday I was yet again reminded of the kindness of the human spirit. Another beautiful new scarf was left on my doorstep, and some lovely friends from the village delivered us a whole truck full of logs. This will make such a difference as Colin should not really be chopping away and putting further strain on his heart, and I am feeling the cold more than ever
So Thank You dear friends and village buddies.
Kate will drive and chaperone me to my final beetle juice and stomach injection of the week, today. This will give Colin a much needed break from it all, and a rest from my continuos steroid fuelled chatter.  On the journey I may get the chance to help Kate explore some of her excellent training ideas. I like helping others and feel disappointed when my body has other ideas and I have to go back into succumbing mode.
Tomorrow is my planned day of rest but I do have some other ideas for it so I am willing my body to synchronise well with my mind.
I am excited about the future.
Firstly I am really getting excited about the Village Secret event on a March 22nd I do hope many of you will come and support me. I hope I have enough clothes and shoes that you will like but if not we will just have a fun evening together any way.
Secondly I hope to deliver all the new scarves to the cancer centre next week, I should have received the white paper bags that I want to decorate by then and have written all the positive messages to accompany.
Thirdly I now have the NHS Change Day  to attend  on March 13th, so I can share my pledge and join with colleagues nationally who want to make a difference and improve the services we deliver to our patients.  I will just need to find myself a healthy chaperone who is  willing to wander around with a blown up baldy, (that’s how I feel sometimes), maybe I had better get the wig out!
Then it’s the BIG one, the prep for the Hinxworth Charity Birthday Festival. I want it to be the best night ever so I am busy visualising a lots of sunshine and plenty of people willing to lend us their patio heaters, just in case the air gets chilly in the evening .
I need to stay as well as possible, as does Colin, to acheive all of the above, so we are doing our best to follow instructions ( not my usual modus operandi) and succumbing when we really have to!
Please note,  this blog has been complied  in rather a drug induced state so I hope the above makes some sense.
Back on form tomorrow is the plan,
All the best
Deborah x

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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