Monday, 21 December 2009

How to beat the Christmas Blues

First of all don't get too stressed. Christmas is meant to be quality family time together (yes I know some of you will be going WHAT!!!) others will agree with me.

So what are my top tips for not getting into a tiz over Christmas.

1) Buy a couple of presents each month. This year I was lucky and had all mine bought by middle of October and wrapped them together with labels (unlike last year, so had to undo the lot to work out each lucky recipient's name). By buying a present each month you don't notice a huge wad of money disappearing in one go and it makes it so much easier to cope with.

2)Stick to a budget, there are some wonderful gift ideas either on the internet or discount stores that don't look cheap but are very reasonably priced.

3) No matter how much you spend on someone it is the thought that really counts and if like me you put a lot of thought into who gets what most people are really happy with your choices. If they aren't they can always recycle them or give them to charity. I know someone who recycles presents and by mistake returned the gift to the same person who gave it to them a few years before.

4) Home made is nice but if you don't have the time, inclination or energy shop bought is fine most people don't know the difference and so long as there is food for them to eat they are happy. There is no need to stress about not doing things and putting pressure on what you think someone expects is just not going to ease the tension.

5) To really make Christmas special and less work for yourself and family you could always book a meal out that way no one is left with the chore of washing up. It depends on what everyone else wishes to do but if you each pay for yourselves then the bill gets shared too.

6) Don't build yourself up as to what gifts you will receive. If you don't receive something you wish for you can always try and obtain it in the January sales.

7) Spare a thought for those spending Christmas alone and if you know someone in this position try and send them something small to cheer them up.

8) Don't worry about what to wear at a party the main thing is you were invited for you to turn up not the dress you wear.

9) If you are going away to spend time with family or in-laws take things to keep you occupied like something to read, puzzle books or some games.

10) To prevent the feeling of guilt over how much you eat or drink from your hosts while you are away take some of your favourite food or tipple with you that way the family know you are contributing to having a good time too

I hope these tips help and that everyone has a Merry (HIC) Christmas and Happy New Year.

Best wishes

Fee

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Not Feeling Great

Dear All,

I have put a post in my other Blog My Not So Positive Life as an explanation as to why I have felt the way I have over the last week.

Perhaps you will understand my feelings.

Best wishes

Fee

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

A Busy Week only part way through

Dear All,

I attended a Disability Forum on Monday and was horrified to hear how some people treat disabled people.

The reason I attend meetings like this is for a positive impact on the local community and hope that things get implemented nationally for the benefit of others.

One thing that made my blood boil was two ladies who attend this meeting are blind and have guide dogs. They use public transport and have great difficulty obtaining assistance from members of the public or staff on these services.

School children are kicking and stamping on their guide dogs whilst they use public transport. These dogs are not pets and without them they could not get about and would be trapped indoors.

I hope that things improve radically in the future so that the people who are doing this stop and realise what impact their actions are having.

I am disgusted to know that these things are taking place and was so appalled I am doing something about it.

The transport providers are being asked to attend the forum on a regular basis so that problems can be addressed and I really hope that this one gets resolved sooner rather than later.

Another issue that comes up regularly is mothers will not collapse their buggies to allow a wheelchair user on a bus or train so that the disabled person can occupy the space allocated for a wheelchair. The wheelchair sign is only guidance at present and until 2016 can not be enforced.

All the drivers can do is patiently ask a mother to put her buggy down if she refuses then the disabled person cannot access their chosen mode of transport thus resulting in them being left behind at the bus stop.

Years ago it was second nature to give up a seat to a disabled person without being asked now it seems it has to be leglislated upon. This nation seems so full of bureaucracy and red tape that many disabled people feel discriminated against and just don't have the fight in them to beat the bureaucrats.

I am searching for ways around the guide dog situation and how to stop it, if anyone has any ideas please let me know.

Best wishes

Fee

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

ANOTHER COMPUTER VIRUS WARNING

If anyone receives an email entitled MAIL SERVER REPORT do not open it but delete it immediately.

At present the virus contained in this email does not have a cure and the anti-virus programmes are not geared up to prevent this one hitting your computer.

Hope you all manage to stay free of this one.

Best wishes

Fee

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Success

I have had a letter published in The Sun this week and today I had another letter published in The News of the World.

I know with the Sunday papers I have to wait a week to find out if they are going to be published but when they do publish a letter it does make it all feel worthwhile.

I took my time to work out which topic I wanted to write about and thought about how to write it for a long time before I eventually sent the email off.

I had quickly scanned the letter page today and didn't think I had one published but I had and was pleased.

I am off to Stafford on Tuesday to collect a certificate another one to add to my collection. This one is to say that I took part in the Rotary International Disabled Sports Championships in Coventry.

I have a busy week lined up.

Best wishes to everyone

Fee

Friday, 4 December 2009

One of my previous posts

I decided to delete one of my posts as it was so negative. I am not normally a negative person but things have got to me right now.

I don't know why and I despise myself for it.

I apologise for any upset or offence I have caused.

Best wishes

Fee

At It Again Must be a Glutton for Punishment LOL

The date has now been set for the 2010 Cancer Research UK Relay for Life it is the 11th and 12th September to be held at London Road Sports Centre in Shrewsbury next to the Shrewsbury College of Art and Technology.

So with the memories of this year's event and how much money that was raised our aims are high and we hope that the weather is the same as it was this year.

The commitee meetings start in January and no doubt we will be busy getting people involved, teams signed up, obtaining raffle prizes and just generally hoping for a good turn out and a fantastic 22 hours of community spirit.

For more details about Relay for Life and what it has involved in the past few years follow this link http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/relay/

Details will be put up in the New Year of how to register for the Relay for 2010 and I will keep you posted as to progress.

Best wishes to you all

Fee

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Good News from September

Some of you may remember that I attended a charity event in September for Cancer Research Uk, well last Friday was the thank you party for the teams and committee members involved in the event.


Unfortunately due to the horrid cold/flu that my husband and I both had we were unable to attend. We telephoned the organiser of the event and explained we would be dropping the money off and going straight back home as we both felt so unwell.


The organiser told us not to bother doing that and that she would see us in the New Year when the meetings start for the organisation of the next Relay for Life.


Before the telephone call ended she informed us the event had raised £30,700.00 so that night in the tent with Steve had been well worth it.


Considering the financial climate this year this is a wonderful result and a big thank you to all those who formed teams, attended the event, gave donations, donated raffle prizes and just showed their support.


It means so much to so many people.


Sunday, 29 November 2009

Being Organised

I hate crowds and detest shopping at the best of times. To avoid the rush and all the crowds I tend to buy presents online. This sometimes works out cheaper and if there are any problems there is plenty of time to resolve various issues.

This year I have bought various presents during all the last eleven months and these have been wrapped now.

This means there are no last minute panics and all the presents I intended to buy have been bought.

Being organised with writing is the same thing. Pick an article out of a paper to comment on, read it thoroughly and then write the letter to the various newspaper.

With article writing it is the same pick the topic you want to write about and plan it out. Then send it off either by post or email to the publisher concerned.

By being organised and planning time for writing things can get achieved.

People may snigger and say that it is silly being organised so early for Christmas but it does take the stress out of it all.

Best wishes

Fee

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

As requested Eunant Retreat

Eunant Retreat

The retreat arrived very fast
There were eight at this repast
Well Sue Ross she managed to get lost
Got her car turned round at no extra cost
She also completed a walk around the whole of the lake
And returned to have some tea and cake
Everyone else was worried as she was gone so long
That night there was music and song
No rest for the wicked not even at night
This lot got in a right state it would cause such a fright
Especially with Darren saying there was a blood stain
He stood and watched the colour drain
As he explained there was a plaque on the wall
And enjoyed telling them all
Bev and Di got their own back
He was worried they may attack
But no it was only a fairy story
That got him so full of worry
Bryan and Di oh how can they jive
To see this go to You Tube live
Susan and Mike even joined in the fun
I wonder if this will appear in the Sun?
Mike wanted to obtain photos of the stream
Susan wanted to scream
For Mike nearly got too close to the water
But he knew he oughta
Listen to Susan so in he came like a naughty school boy
All humble, apologetic and coy
Fee decided to have a bath
She thought she got locked in this was a laugh.
Beverley Cherry went somewhere palacial
To have a massage and a facial

My First Writing Retreat

I have just returned from my first ever writers retreat. Despite feeling generally unwell the whole weekend it was great. I found such wonderful support throughout the whole weekend even when my coughing must have got on people's nerves.

I think I know finally understand the word "relax" thanks to Darren's antics amongst others. Bev with her lovely cherry wine it was so divine.

I didn't achieve what I set out to do but I got far more done than I expected considering how I really felt.

It was our last night all together, during the afternoon I decided to doodle with words and make some fun of the whole long weekend.

I was so unsure I showed it to Di for approval. She laughed and thought it was really wicked.

So I waited to hear the news of others before I finally completed it.

I read it out last night to those that it affected, I was so unsure in case I offended anyone not having done anything like it before in my life.

It caused some merriment all right.

So I let out a huge sigh of relief. Not only did I manage to complete my first ever writing retreat but didn't cause any offence.

Eunant http://www.eunant.co.uk/ is where we stayed. The weather was really wet with strong winds but we did manage to get some dry spells where people went out for walks hoping not to get caught in too heavy weather.

I do not have any photographs as I didn't feel up to that task.

It was a lovely weekend and Mike and Susan really did us proud in organising it all.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

A time for Reflection

This time last year I got hitched to my wonderful husband.

To celebrate our anniversary we were invited to a wonderful couple's wedding and I could not think of a nicer way of celebrating a wonderful event.

The day goes by so quickly and to remember the wonderful day free from the stress is a lovely way to spend today.

Here are some of those moments.



The cake




No getting out of it now darling we have signed and sealed the marriage certificate

My arm's aching how many more people want me in this pose? I'm tired but I am not going to show it.




Finally enjoying a romantic moment during the reception.
Best wishes to the wonderful couple who got married on Saturday. I wish you a wonderful, happy life together.
Love
Fee

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

I have some wonderful news to share

I made it to Coventry in plenty of time ready for the big event. This was the 28th Disability Sports Championship arranged by Rotary International and what a wonderful event it was.

This was the first competition I have ever entered and had no idea what to expect.

I was entered as part of Staffordshire and Shropshire Triathlon team and was to participate in the swimming event. This entailed swimming four lengths (100 metres) as fast as possible.

Bearing in mind I don't have a coach and just go out and swim every week for about an hour here is the result of my efforts.

Steve took a photograph at the beginning of my timed session but I was so quick off the mark he got a photograph of the pool only.




I was tired after my effort but I did it in Wait For It 3.27 minutes. I usually do a length a minute in normal swimming conditions.
After this event I met up with other team members and eventually got my breath back.
Later on I was offered the chance to go weight lifting. There are no pictures of this and I will explain why. Due to the number of operations I have had everyone was worried about my left arm and the lack of movement in it. The team coaches who organised the event informed the weight lifting trainer to watch out for my left arm.
I took up my position lying flat on my back and followed instructions. No weights were put on the bar to start with. I was told to lift my arms forward and hold on to the bar. I did exactly as I was told. I had no qualms about giving this a go. As I got to the third lift of the bar only the trainer asked if it was getting any easier. It was. He explained that this was due to my muscles warming up. He told me we would do five more lifts with just the bar and then one with small weights only.
The "biscuits" (small weights) went onto the bar. I was asked if I was happy. The bar was brought down to my chest and then I had to push it up. I did it. I was so proud and felt a real sense of achievement.
I sat up and cried with emotion. Prior to my attempt at weights one young lady had attempted far more of a load than I had and got upset. I thought she had hurt herself but one of my team's trainers explained she was upset as she hadn't achieved what she wanted.
That night there was a dinner at the sports centre at 8pm. Steve and I headed off to our accommodation to wash and brush up. I had a hot bath to ensure I didn't stiffen up.
I have not been able to move my left arm for well over two years due to various operations on my left side.
That night as I was dressing for dinner I attempted to raise it above my head by moving the arms forward first then up. It didn't hurt and I did it.
During dinner I told a member of Rotary what had happened to see the smile on my face he couldn't have been more pleased. I thanked the Rotarian organiser for all his hard work in arranging the event and when I told him about my arm he was thrilled to bits. It just goes to show in the right hands things can be achieved in controlled conditions.
Remembrance Sunday morning we got up and ready for the day's events. I had been dreading the slalom see previous blog posts. Due to the fact my left arm was capable of being used this was going to be easier than I had thought. I wasn't worried about making a fool of myself it was just a matter of giving it a go in a borrowed wheelchair with no practice prior to the day and do my very best.



Here I am taking part in Boccea at least that is what I think it is called it is like bowls. Our team lost by one point but we all enjoyed it.
I managed to complete the slalom course without too much difficulty but didn't get past the first round.
Our little team is pictured below. We had a fantastic weekend and one I will never ever forget.





As you can see both arms are raised for the first time for a very long time. I am thrilled to have gone out and given it my all.

Friday, 6 November 2009

HOTMAIL VIRUS WARNING PLEASE TAKE NOTE

Dear All,

I have just been caught out with this so please heed this warning. I am not sending any emails out from my account and won't be until after the weekend. If you receive an email from me in this time please delete it immediately.

The emails are along the lines of "I'm bored so I thought I would catch up with you and cheer you up."

It gives you a link to a supposedly secure website as part of MSN and asks for you to sign in again.

Do not sign in totally ignore this link.

If you have already been caught. Change your hotmail password immediately and run a virus scan.

Best of luck

Hope this is not too late for any of you.

I am embarrassed but I hadn't had contact from one of my friends for so long I thought it was genuine.

Best wishes

Fee

Last Minute Panic

I had thought as I hadn't heard anything that the "fun and games" were not happening. I then received a telephone call to let me know where to book accommodation.

With this event on the accommodation was soon snapped up especially with the deals that were being offered. I missed out due to the lateness.

Never mind I found accommodation for us at a reasonable price. So tonight it will be last minute packing to work out what to wear and hope that the stuff I need is clean.

I prefer to be organised than have last minute panics as this relieves stress and tension. Hey ho things are working out and I will manage.

At least we know we are guaranteed a good's night sleep. So you can guess from that where we are staying.

Sunday is going to be hilarious as I said in a previous post on this blog.

So this weekend is going to be interesting to say the least.

I am still busy campaigning as well as writing and doing sport so my life is busy and fulfilling.

Best wishes to everyone.

Fee

A Hat Trick

I found out from a comment on my blog from the lovely Simon Whaley that I had a letter printed in Writers News. Yesterday ABLE Magazine arrived and another letter was in there. Today I had a letter published in The Sun.

So there is my hat trick.

I have sent lots of stuff out and not all of it has been published, I know some are in the pipeline for the future so I will just have to wait and see what happens next.

Best wishes to everyone

Fee

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

This is going to be comical

I recently discovered sports for disabled through a contact at a disability forum I attend.

Last Thursday we headed to Stafford I took my swimming stuff with me not knowing if I would need this or not. I soon discovered we would be outside on the athletics pitch. I had a go at throwing clubs from my wheelchair.

My wheelchair is an attendant wheelchair this means it has small wheels at the back and not the larger wheels which a user can self propel. The reason I do not have a self-propel wheelchair is due to the lack of use in my left arm. I have tried a self-propel wheelchair but each time I tried to manoevre myself I ended up going round in circles as my right arm has far more power than my useless left arm. I have only had the wheelchair since 2008 so I am still finding out information on sports, what is available for disabled people and how to overcome problems.

Well last night I travelled to Stafford again. I was determined to go out and do as much as possible. I hate being a couch potato and know I gain weight with lack of exercise.

Last night I threw clubs again and had a go at various other sports from the wheelchair. I was even shown how to discus. This got me extremely anxious as there is a swinging motion to it and due to the surgery down my left side I was worried about damaging the muscles or tissues which have been operated on over the last twenty years. I was also worried about the lymphoedema. I mentioned this to the person teaching me so they were aware of my worries. I gave it a go.

We worked at easy throws so that it wasn't too strenuous I know now that if I am cautious I can build up the speed and distance in time.

I had been informed that there is a competition in Coventry at the weekend and that I had been entered into the swimming part of the triathalon. This entails me swimming four lengths. This should not cause me a problem as I go swimming a lot and love it.

The next bit is where the comedy comes in. I have been entered into a wheelchair slalom this means turning at various points and manoevring around in a wheelchair under my own steam. I hope the video camera works as this will be absolutely hilarious with me attempting this.

Oh well at least I can have a laugh at having a go. It should all be lots of fun.

Best wishes to everyone whatever they are doing.

Feex

Friday, 30 October 2009

A Double in The Sun

I have been writing letters to several national papers for a while now. Each time we purchase a paper I turn to the letters page today I did just that and have two letters in there one under my maiden name the other under my married name.

I had sent these days apart from each other and they both got printed today.

I have still not won anything for my letters but with my persistance, determination I will one day.

Best wishes to everyone and good luck with writing ventures.

Feex

Thursday, 29 October 2009

My Life is Never Dull

On Monday we received a telephone call from my nephew wondering if he could stay for a few days. So off we set to fetch him.

This was handy in some ways as we were off to Sheffield the following day and would be returning home on Wednesday evening.

The visit to Sheffield was very worthwhile and one I may be repeating in the near future. The main purpose of the visit was to help a national department store implement a mastectomy range of lingerie and they required input from the "experts". There were four from the local breast cancer support group, myself, one lady from Manchester and another lady from Leeds.

Each one of us had a different story to tell as to how we had come to needing a mastectomy or in some cases a double mastectomy.

The main thing we all agreed on was at present there is a lack of style, fashion and colour in the mastectomy ranges currently offered.

This will no doubt be changing next September when the mastectomy range gets launched by this retailer.

Today we received a telephone call from my nephew's girlfriend advising us he should be attending Hereford Hospital today and that his social worker would be taking him from Llandrindod Wells.

We woke him up and got organised to head to Llandrindod in plenty of time to meet the social worker to get him to the hospital on time. Things never seem to go according to plan in my family and this was no exception through no fault of our own.

A farmer had been walking on the opposite side of the road with a dog not on a lead. There were two cars in front us and we all slowed down. The dog ran into the road whereupon the car two cars in front of us braked hard, the car behind did the same but was unable to avoid a collision.

All I saw was a spray of something go up in the air, I assumed it was feathers to start with but then it dawned on me it was glass.

It then sank in what had happened. My nephew and I got out of the car and went to the cars in front to make sure the occupants were ok. They were alive and able to talk but they were not 100%. I instructed my husband to ring for an ambulance.

The occupant of one of the cars was able to get herself out and came over to me. I could see she was shaken by what had happened. Both cars were a mess, one was leaking fluid and both had filled with smoke from when the airbags had gone off.

She said she felt faint so I led her to our car where I instructed her to sit down and put her head between her knees. She kept insisting on going to the other car to see that the occupants of that car were ok. I told her they were ok and talking but were shaken up just like she was.

The first ambulance arrived and took over they gave her oxgen and asked me to stay with her. I was more than happy to help. We were both told an ambulance from Knighton was coming to deal with her shortly. I kept an eye on the oxygen cylinder to make sure it didn't hit the red area and need replacing. During this time she told me her legs felt funny and were hurting her. I tried to attract the attention of the first ambulance crew but by this time they were busy with the occupants of the other car.

I tried telephoning her father for her as she kept saying she wanted him told but knew he would be angry about the car. I kept reassuring her by saying that a car could eventually be replaced but she couldn't be. She was on her way to sign on at the Job Centre and was really anxious about this. She asked me "Will you do me a huge favour?" I wondered what it could be. She then said would I go to the Job Centre and let them know she wouldn't be signing on today and what happened. I promised I would do this as soon as I reached Llandrindod.

When the ambulance from Knighton arrived I tried to get it to stop behind our car. It didn't realise what I was trying to do and went too far ahead. The crew reversed it back when they realised I was attending to their patient.

I left them to it when they got the stretcher and put her in the ambulance. A bit later the ambulance crew beckoned with their hand. I looked dumb then realised they were asking for me. As they were male crew they wanted a female to reassure their patient while they examined her in the ambulance and as we had a rapport going they asked for me. So in I went. The poor girl had to have her jeans cut. I joked and said it was a good excuse to get her mum to buy her a new pair.

Then a police lady entered the ambulance I told the patient not to worry too much about things and to answer the questions honestly. She was so very brave. Then she burst into tears asking if the occupants of the other car were ok. The police lady reassured her and even told her not to worry too much this was an accident and we all have them sooner or later.

Meanwhile my husband and nephew had given statements to the police and a description of the person with the dog.

I imagine if we hadn't stopped or if someone else hadn't stopped yet witnessed the accident the police would be baffled about "there was a dog honest but it has gone now".

That is exactly what had happened the person and the dog had disappeared soon after the impact.

We all felt it was our duty to stay and help those injured until the ambulance arrived. Other cars stopped to help too.

One thing we did find strange was one chap ambled up past me towards the damaged cars, the police officers asked if they could help him. He was a foreigner and wanted to go further on to the main accident. The police advised him to get back in his car. Initially he refused and just stood on the verge.

Eventually he listened to the police warning him to go back to his car or further action would be taken.

I stayed in the ambulance until they were ready to depart to Hereford. I left the young lady with the words "You are in safe hands now".

I kept my promise and went to the Job Centre. I explained who I had come on behalf of and why she couldn't sign on. The person I spoke to said "You had better hang on and we will give you some forms for her to sign as to why she can't be here". I explained I was a stranger and had no idea where she lived or how to pass the forms on to her. Then my husband and I left the job centre.

Under these circumstances I thought the job centre would realise it was a genuine reason why someone could not sign on for benefits and that the last thing on their mind would be how to obtain further forms to sign while they are being transported by ambulance to hospital.

As you can see from above my life is never dull or boring.

I wish all the occupants of the car crash a speedy recovery.

It makes you wonder if this happened to you would anyone else stop to help?

Best wishes to everyone

Fee

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Friends

Writing is a lonely journey. Many writers write but leave their work hidden and unread for various reasons.

I decided to write a book to help others. I knew my aims, my goals and what I wanted to achieve. My biggest problem was how to go about it. Not being a professional writer I didn't have a clue.

I wrote a beginning, middle and an end, three chapters in total. Thinking that says what I want I will get that small book published easily. How wrong was I? I sent it to a non-fiction publisher not knowing the protocol I should have followed.

I was fortunate as this publisher was very kind in his reply and I will never forget the email response I received. His advice was to get the Writers and Artists Handbook for the current year and try and find an agent. It was then I searched the internet and found the NAWG and decided to join a writing group.

I wish I had known the right path to take but I didn't. I have learnt the hard way.

I have been bashing my words out on my computer for nearly two years now and what a journey I am on.

My friends had no idea what I was trying to achieve, I kept it secret as I was worried of failing or being ridiculed I suppose. Friday brought a pleasant surprise I have a prospective publisher interested in my work. With this news my husband told my friends.

Last night these friends came around to look at my "book". I showed them the synopsis which I had revamped on Friday morning and then sent out to this prospective publisher before going to hospital. On returning from hospital I had an email and telephone message left by the prospective publisher.

I wish I had shown the "book" to my friends before but I was unsure of the standard of work and until someone gave me positive feedback I was nervous to show it to anyone other than my husband.

These wonderful friends gave me feedback on my book. I know my writing style has changed over the last couple of years with improvement happening with the more I write. This was borne out last night with their comments. There will certainly need to be a lot of editing done on the book in the form it is in now but that will be able to be overcome. My determination is kicking in to get this book published.

One of my friends said he couldn't have done what I have.

If the prospective publisher does not want to proceed further I will spend the writing retreat revamping my book and editing it along the way.

If I had only shown the book to my friends before sending the book off I would have had the editing done by now and I perhaps I would have felt happier with the standard of work. I am kicking myself for being so naive.

I hope that this blog post is useful to someone and that this encourages them to get out there and ask for help if they need it.

I wish I had done it earlier instead of being sat alone bashing out the words that meant so much to me and the story I wanted to tell.

I am certainly learning the writing path the hard way but life is full of challenges and I am rising to this one.

Best wishes and good luck to everyone.

Feex

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Summer's End

Hi Everyone

Remember to set your clocks back an hour tonight and enjoy an extra hour in bed.

Looking back over the summer what have I done. Well there has been Attingham Park weekend with Wrekin Writers that was inspirational.

There has been poetrystreet and finding another link on that website Mypoetry4U. There has been a confidence building session when I attended Drayton Writer's Open Mike day in June.

I have been to my very first pop concert of Boyzone and thoroughly enjoyed that.

September I was busy with the Cancer Research UK Relay for Life event in Shrewsbury. (See previous blog posts)

Two weeks ago I attended a Macmillan Cancer Voices conference in Gatwick.

Last week I was at Westminster for Breakthrough Campaign Advocacy Network (CAN) where I lobbied my MP and asked a question to Professor Mike Richards.

Now winter is heading our way what will I do? I will continue to work on my writing and get my book published.

The leaves are turning red on the trees and the season is going to be colourful. My language most probably will be too as I challenge myself in many different ways with my writing and what I expect of myself.

Next month I will be going on my first ever writing retreat and I am really looking forward to this experience. I have learnt a lot but realise I have so much more to learn.

The biggest lesson I have learnt over the summer is not to be afraid to ask questions or seek advice when not sure of how to approach something.

I have received wonderful support from my writing group and I know this will continue.

I am not sure what the future holds but one thing for sure is I love writing, meeting people and helping others.

December brings the chance to have various meals out with friends and socialising. The biggest thing I have learnt this year is money doesn't matter a rich person is one with many friends. I am so lucky to have wonderful friends and therefore my life is very rich.

Best wishes to everyone over the winter months and see what we can all achieve with whatever our goals are.

Love Feex

Friday, 23 October 2009

I'm back

Hello Everyone,

Well I am back from Westminster. Yes I got there in one piece. The experience has been surreal in some ways but really useful in others.

Did I achieve what I set out to do? Yes I met with my MP. I informed of the lobby issue I was most interested in. I followed advice from my writing group and chose a topice I knew about.

My MP was very easy to talk to, extremely approachable and very honest. I spent twenty minutes with him and it was time very well used. I got my point across, what we wanted to achieve and what I needed to be done by him.

I received training in a workshop prior to the meeting to make sure I knew what I was doing.

Yesterday morning at my first ever Westminster Fly-In I stood up in front of the whole conference and asked Professor Mike Richards a question concerning younger breast patients. I was nervous doing this but felt it had to be asked. If I didn't ask it would it be asked, probably not so I stood there with the microphone and did it.

Later I met my MP waiting around made me nervous but as soon as I saw him appear climbing up the steps to the building I was reassured. I felt in control and lead the way.

Am I proud of myself. YES, you bet I am. I never knew I could do this.

Will I do this again next year? Most probably if given the chance as I love helping others and the way to make issues heard is to raise them.

At the end of the day yesterday we had a group photo. Starting a few stairs up. Most of us headed for the back thinking we wouldn't be seen. LOL. A crafty photographer guessed this ploy and took the picture looking down on us all. Hee Hee.

It was a super time and I have made new friends and contacts. I even got mothered without asking to be. I now know I have to be kind to myself as well as campaigning.

Have I learnt a lot? Yes lots far more than I could ever have imagined. Will I use this experience in my writing and future projects you bet I will.

Best wishes to you all.

Fee

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

I have succeeded

I have finally managed to pack my pink shoes (see previous post) my pink hair brush set and still get my bulging washbag into my suitcase.

I have had to pack a various range of clothes as I am not sure exactly what the standard of dress is for dinner with MPs. So I have packed some comfortable clothes too and will wait and see what others choose to wear so I don't make a mistake.

I have packed a smart comfortable suit for Thursday's workshops.

I also went for my hair makeover today. I will post photos on my return so watch this space.

I am tired now and have an early start in the morning and facing the dreaded M25 later in the morning so will hopefully beat the queues of traffic.

I just hope things go smoothly and I do ok.

I am going to try and cope with one walking pole and my luggage. Now I am packed I know this is happening.

I am really nervous and hope I manage to sleep well tonight.


I will post again late on Friday hopefully as I have a hospital appointment in the morning. Back to reality with a bump.

Best wishes to everyone.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

I am still Busy

Well the last two weeks have certainly proved fruitful in more ways than one.

I have been knocking on various stores doors to implement bra fitting service or other services for mastectomy patients. Now one is finally listening to me. It has taken over two years to achieve this contact but the outcome is going to be positive.

Patience is a virtue and I am learning this the hard way.

Next week I am off to Westminster see previous post. The following week I am off to Sheffield to help a lingerie department in a well known store incorporate mastectomy lingerie. With input from various mastectomy patients we should be able to achieve a very worthwhile product.

I suppose my writing journey will be the same as this one a very long wait and then wham everything will happen all at once and my feet won't touch the ground.

So last week was Gatwick, next week Westminster, the following week Sheffield it sounds like a tour of a band LOL.

In the meantime I keep my writing up and one day my book will get published. I have had two rejections of it so far but who knows what the future holds.

Hold on this is a roller coaster ride so for those that follow this blog be prepared.

Best wishes

Feex

My Pink Day






It dawned on me this morning that I would need to be independent of Steve next week when I attend Breakthrough Breast Cancer Care Fly-In in Westminster. I had thought of trying to make do with what luggage we had but realised this would mean hurting myself.




So my darling husband and I went out shopping today to see what we could find suitable as it had to be lightweight, have wheels and a handle so I could pull it along as a trolley. Some would think this was a hard task but no. You can imagine if I had set out to find a reasonably priced bright pink lightweight trolley suitcase the task would have been extremely difficult.
With an open mind on what to find we set off.
The above suitcase was £5
We then went to another shop which had a sale on and I discovered the shoes below for £6.


Then I found another sale item which was black but with a pink interior. Well too much of a good thing would spoil the theme.



While we were in Debenhams we saw too gentleman sitting on exercise bicycles. I wondered what they were doing but as soon as I saw one was wearing a black and pink fascinator and the other had a bright pink hand bag on his shoulder while pedalling it dawned on me Breast Cancer Awareness month. We gave a donation and headed off upstairs. It was then I discovered the evening bag.

There were some bright pink ones but they were not suitable for the purpose I wanted so I decided practicality was the best option.

I can imagine some of the men reading this post and looking at the pink items groaning. That is exactly what my darling husband did. At least I know he won't dare borrow the suitcase.

I bought some other pink items for going away with but won't show you pictures.

A few weeks back I had visited the local hospital foyer and bought from a charity a hairbrush and comb set with a pink banana clip in it.

We also went to Boots to obtain some medications I needed to take with me as a precautionary measure during this transaction I was given a voucher for £5 off No7. I decided I wanted nail varnish. I will leave you all to guess what colour. With the voucher off we only had to pay £1.25 for said item.

So I have had a brilliant pink day without even thinking about it.

I am being pampered next week. I am having a luxury manicure on Monday. A hair makeover on the Tuesday prior to setting off for Westminster.

I am really looking forward to the conference now and hope everyone can have a giggle over my choice of colours.

Life would be dull if we couldn't have a laugh and that is exactly what Steve and I have done today had lots of giggles.

Best wishes

Fee

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

I am busy

I have recently joined http://www.cancerbuddiesnetwork.org/ as a cancer buddy. This is a wonderful organisation and enables people to help others through a horrible point in their lives.

I only found out about this organisation last Friday at a Macmillan Cancer Voices conference. It was a wonderful inspiring conference and has spurred me on to do far more to help others.

Best wishes

Fee

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Is it Just Me??

I have been watching television while bashing out various letters to the nationals. This afternoon I was watching the AT Show on ITV.

One of his guests during his interview used "You know" a dozen times. Is it just me or does this get anyone else's back up.

When Steve and I first appeared on Trisha and we watched that episode back it hit Steve that he said it a few times. After that he now watches what he says. The reason people ask questions is because they don't know.

It infuriates me to such a point that as soon as I notice someone doing this I count the number of times they do it. If it is addressed at me I tell that person how many times they said "You Know" to me.

I wonder how many of you notice this in forthcoming conversations.

As I turn around to Steve and say "I don't know that is why I am asking you".

Sunday, 11 October 2009

I did it

Well I did it I made it to the Macmillan Cancer Voices conference in London on Friday and am I glad I went? Yes I am really pleased I managed to go. It was a lively two day conference and absolutely well worth every minute.

I took the advice I had received from Wrekin Writers "write about something you know". I went to the groups I knew I could contribute to rather than sit there without offering anything.

The first workshop I attended was to do with financial matters. We discussed ways forward of how to get the DWP to listen to the needs of cancer patients and to accept letters from consultants rather than be forced to attend medical assessments and have the professionals overuled. As that is what appears to be happening. I suggested inviting MPs to Macmillan conferences even if they don't turn up at least they know what is happening. The two male Macmillan staff conducting this workshop were amazed at the input each and every person in that room gave to this workshop.

That evening we had a welcome group which was really well attended so much so they had to keep fetching more chairs. It was a very emotional weekend for many but without the emotions would be so passionate about what we want to achieve? The answer to that is "No".

Dinner was a lively event meeting new people and understanding their needs and concerns.
I dressed up a bit for this event and felt much better for making an effort with makeup and putting my hair up.

Yesterday morning was an early start for most. Registration was to be 9 am prompt with breakfast to be over and done with as well as all rooms vacated which meant everyone had to be packed by this time. We all succeeded in these tasks.

The second workshop I attended was how to tell your story.

The trainer said how would you get your story out in 60 seconds. This meant we had to be punchy and we had to get the audience's attention. One lady (it wasn't me honest!) suggested getting her prothesis out of her bra and throwing it to the audience. We all laughed but it would work.

There was a teenager in our group during this workshop and I was so proud to have met her. She was so very brave with her story. She wasn't a cancer patient but her mother had been. Instead of being honest with her family the mother had decided to cope with the whole cancer journey on her own. (How many times have I felt I could cope better without involving Steve or anyone else? Too many to mention). The teenager had felt lied to and betrayed, untrustworthy and had completely fallen apart.

Her story hit me hard. After the workshop I went up to her and told her I was so proud to have met her and that she should be proud of herself.

Then it was lunchtime. Again I met different people and got talking to them. We exchanged frank and valid views from all aspects of treatment and family matters and I was amazed at how I had been able to contribute towards the workshops so far.

The third and final workshop I attended was how to become a cancer voice and what could be achieved. There were several experienced cancer voices in this workshop, myself included. I didn't tell them everything I had done for Macmillan I told them bits of what I had been able to achieve and the appearances I had made on behalf of Macmillan. Others said what they had achieved too.

There were so many people who were unsure of whether to become cancer voices or not I decided to take a shot at a way in Macmillan offer courses which are free to attend and receive training one of these is Network Site Specific Groups (NSSGs) relating to various cancer types e.g. skin, breast etc.

I explained I had attended this training recently even though I do attend a Breast NSSG in my local area. The reason I had attended was things change, I could always learn something new, I could support new members and offer them my experience.

I mentioned that a professional had attended this training as consultants, pathologists, radiologists and others involved in cancer have to attend the NSSGs. He said after this training he didn't realise he could contribute so much himself to a NSSG, he had felt in the past that he had to just attend and listen to what was happening around him.

This just shows that the training is doing what it should it is making people empowered to take control themselves and have a positive input to a meeting.

When I spoke about my experience of NSSG the whole room was quiet I had no idea the impact I would have or did have on others in that group. Comments were made on what I had said and I felt overwhelmed with such a positive response.

I then went off to the final closing of the conference and filled out our feedback forms.

Many people came to say goodbye some knelt in front of my wheelchair to speak to me. I had been determined not to use it but the distance to the bedrooms had meant I had no choice yesterday as my back hurt. This made me realise I wasn't been talked down to I was being classed as an equal. It just shows how body language means such a lot.

I have a lot of email addresses and websites to add to my collection. I am so glad I went now, despite my nerves the night before it was well worth it. I feel now I have a lot to contribute to helping others and to make sure that things change in the future for those that follow.

It is surprising the little hints and tips I pick up on my journey from various places can be used as a whole in one place. Examples "write about what you know". In my case "talk about what you know". Empowerment give people options; two are not going to work but the third one is, so when you give someone the three choices they feel they have made the decision and not you.

In the last two years I have learnt the above and I am still learning. That is what life is about you learn something new everyday and if you don't it is boring.

Best wishes

Fee

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Pride of Britain

I watched the Pride of Britain awards last night and if anyone says you don't get emotional watching these stories then I don't believe you.

The story that has touched me most is this one. I suppose being at a similar age to Kris at the time I found my first lump makes her story more poignant. http://coppafeel.org/

Kris is one of the patients in the Cancer Research UK advert for donations and is the last one on the screen.

Instead of feeling sorry for herself Kris is doing all she can to get the message across to young women that they need to check themselves and don't be fobbed off by doctors due to your age.

I will never forget at 32 the doctors telling me because of my age it wouldn't be cancer. Well they were wrong and it was. My biggest fear is that every lump I have is going to be ignored and will turn aggressive. That fear for me will never go away. If I felt listened to I would perhaps feel less apprehensive about the future, but each visit to hospital brings the dread that I will hear the words again.

Kris is not only battling breast cancer but secondary cancer in her spine. She is putting all her energies into her website and I truly admire her.

It is strange how when the illness hits instead of thinking of ourselves we want to prevent this happening to others in what small way we can. We want to help others through a horrid journey and make it easier for those that follow.

This is just one of the small achievements I have made on my two year path so far http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/shropshire/7561369.stm by agreeing to help Macmillan Cancer Support with their campaigns.

Without cancer patients speaking out the cancer charities have no voice to help get their campaigns across. It is the real lives that matter now and in the future.

It is people like Kris that I want to help so that young lives aren't devastated by the horrid illness.

Yes I know I am passionate about this subject but shouldn't everyone care a little bit more. Shouldn't we all stop and think what would we do in that situation? How would we cope? Would we feel sorry for ourselves or get out there and live life to the full and make if fulfilling for others?

These are the choices we face and Kris and I have answered our dilemmas. Sometimes it just never is enough and someone young dies due to doctors not listening to them.

It is for this reason I do what I do.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Good Things Do Happen

In a previous post I mentioned I had won a prize in a raffle.

Well I now have the voucher and have booked my free hairdressing appointment. As I am off to Westminster towards the end of this month I decided to book it the day before I go.

Steve has booked it for me so there is no giving the prize away now. I am not sure what to do with my locks and may well just leave it up to the hairdressers. So watch this space for the results.

I have read a few newspapers this morning and one story got me so irate I emailled a letter off straight away. I wait to see if it will get printed. I emailled other letters off too.

So it is now the waiting game to see what gets accepted and published.

I am now looking forward to the weekend.

Best wishes to everyone and good luck with writing ventures.

Feex

Monday, 5 October 2009

A Nice Day

I am feeling much brighter today. I have had another letter printed in a national newspaper. So I am happy. Sometimes I send the letters in and it can take a few weeks for them to use the letter. So be prepared to wait and see what rewards the work brings.

Getting published whether it be on a website or in a magazine or newspaper really means something.

One day I hope to get letter of the day or week.

Best wishes

Fee

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Positivity reigns again

Thanks to Julie and her never ending support and encouragement I am feeling much better. A supportive email means so much.

I have written a few letters today. I have also had another poem published on Poetry Street today.

I have attempted a short story and decided to leave the idea alone for now. I hope to go back to it at a later date.

Since I started my writing journey I have learnt such a lot. Finding the right magazines for helpful hints and tips. Having bought Jane Wenham Jones' "Wannabe a Writer" I know I didn't waste my money with that. With encouragement from the writing group I write about what I know and what affects me. I found a magazine for disabled writers called ABLE this is a positive magazine which suits me.

So the negativity has vanished for now.

I also received a telephone call from the Trisha Show. Yes I know its been axed and repeats are on tv at present. Well our final show is going to be shown on the 14th October at 10.45 am on Channel 5 (I can hear freeview viewers moaning well those that can't obtain channel 5!).

Never mind it is on You Tube courtesy of Ricky from Trisha.

I can't believe a year has almost gone by already. This time last year I was away on my odyssey holiday (see previous post) and Steve was in charge of sending out the wedding invitations. Thank goodness I haven't got that stress this year.

The only stress I really have now is my writing and my own self doubts.

Knowing that my letters are getting published is a huge boost. So onwards and upwards.

Best wishes

Fee

Trying to Stay Positive but it's hard

I am struggling with IT at the moment. The phone line keeps dropping internet connection. I could scream. Oh well had a friend come out to help with the situation. After reformating the computer we then discovered the problem. So this means waiting to talk to the company concerned and ask them why it keeps dropping the line.

I managed to retune the Freeview box yesterday HOORAY.

Received The Writing Magazine along with Writers News. I noticed Julie had got her letter in the magazine but didn't think to look in the letters page of Writers News until much later on. Doh felt stupid.

Received confirmation of Macmillan Conference in London. Not long to go until that happens. This month is going to be a busy one.

Trying desperately to stay positive with all that is going on with family stuff. Life can be very cruel at times.

I watched the Secret Lives of Twins last night on BBC1. It amused me to see the reactions of other twins looking at the others. Why? When I was in primary school there were 8 sets of twins including me in the same year. When we went to high school other sets of twins joined us again in the same year. We played tricks on the teachers as they couldn't tell who was who from the identical twins. Not sure if I am identical or fraternal. We look alike but act totally different. My sibling is left handed I am right handed. We got different marks in everything maybe because I worked harder and decided to learn rather than play up.

Some things have happened in the same year to us but with six months difference. I knew she had had her first baby before she even telephoned with the news. I felt her labour pains. I know this sounds weird but its true. I got home for the weekend and asked mum if there was any news. There wasn't any. I told her when my sister had had the baby but couldn't tell her anymore than that. Within a few minutes the phone rang. "Hello Grandma".

Mum's reply was you have the wrong number and put the phone down. Telephone rang again. This time it sunk in. I was right. The baby had been born at the time I said.

When we were at college we came home for the holidays. We unpacked our suitcases and would you believe it we had bought the same colour and similar style clothes while we had been away from each other.

When we were younger we decided to dress differently. We had bedrooms next to each other. One morning we walked to the stairs looked at each other we were wearing the same. We went back into our rooms changed and again were wearing the same clothes. In the end one of us changed while the other stayed in what they had on.

Mum and Dad used to buy us similar clothes but in different colours we thought they must know us apart by now so swapped tops. No! They called us by the colour of our tops. This made us laugh so we did it a few times more until we got bored or grew up.

When it came to birthday parties the other sets of twins would come to the party. I will never forget the time we went into the garden we had a large garden at the back of the house with apple trees, fruit bushes etc. This particular year we picked the apples and ate them. Mum was cross as there were not many left for her to pick and use as she had wished. We were only 6/7 at the time.

As the years have gone by our lives have changed. Each determined to live their own life and be as independent from the other as possible for various reasons.

I wonder what the other sets of twins are doing now. Are some as inseparable as they were years ago or have they too grown apart?

Life is strange that is for sure.

Best wishes

Fee

Friday, 25 September 2009

More ups than downs

I had a down day yesterday but today has made up for it in more ways than one.



We went to three Macmillan Coffee mornings today in Shrewsbury. One was at the temping agency I used to work for and had stayed in touch with. I hadn't realised it was nearly ten years ago I first signed on with the agency.



In between the visits we had gone to give a thank you card to the florist who provided the flowers at the Cancer Research UK Relay for Life event survivors.



At the second coffee morning I mentioned my former boss. Whilst at a cash point, I noticed a car pull up and who should emerge but my former boss. He couldn't chat for long but what we have discovered is that so far the Cancer Research UK event had raised over £25,000 and may even reach more than that.



We then went to complete paperwork for the car tax only to discover we had forgotten the reminder letter. This meant a return trip home to sort it all out.



This done we headed back to Shrewsbury. Once everything was sorted we then had a snack and finally headed home.



Just after 5pm I received a telephone call. I have won a prize in the charity raffle held at one of the coffee mornings. I usually buy a raffle ticket for these events but never expect to win anything.



When I told Steve he said "that is for you, don't you give it away". I have until the end of October to use the voucher and have yet to collect it from the employment agency.



So will believe it when I collect the voucher worth £45.



I am so glad the events were

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Reflections

What was I doing this time last year?

I was preparing to go on an Odyssey holiday http://www.odyssey.org.uk/ . A wonderful one off, unique experience.

I had no idea who I was going to be going with or where. I was given a list of what to pack and that was that.

I nearly chickened out with planning the wedding and used every excuse under the sun to get out of it. Nerves and apprehension.

There were two locations for pick up. One was the railway station in Shrewsbury the other was Dobbies Garden Centre. I opted for the garden centre as had a few others.

We were then collected by a mini bus with a trailer. Our luggage was loaded and off we went not knowing where we would end up. We were all busy guessing though.

I had envisaged a youth hostel type holiday or camping. It was much better than that.

What I learnt in those five days was a lot about myself. I nearly quit after the first day out on the Monday and by Tuesday night things were even worse as I was so hard on myself thinking I should be able to do everything and then realising I couldn't with my disabilities and various ailments.

On the Wednesday I insisted I stay indoors but Glyn had a good chat with me and said I would never forgive myself if I didn't give the course a good go. He was right of course.

I went out that morning and joined in as best I could. I couldn't walk far so they allowed me to be in the minibus while the others did the activity. Again I felt bad and thought to myself why had I allowed myself to go on this trip.

That day was a turning point for me in more ways than one. After the first activity had finished I already knew what the second task of the day was and was up for it. I asked if I could go across first as I had been hanging around for so long if I didn't I would never make it across.

With staff like this you can assume what you are letting yourself in for http://www.odyssey.org.uk/staff.php?calledFrom=1 Glyn and Hugo were part of our staff team.

I am so glad I hadn't looked at the website beforehand as the experience of the Wednesday afternoon was fantastic for me. It was my "finding myself" moment and this really helped turn me around.

I try and ensure I have moments like this every week to have peace, quiet and tranquility to do what I want without any interruptions. Whether it be writing or attempting new things I give things a go. Nothing ventured nothing gained. If you don't put things on to paper you have failed by not trying.

The Thursday morning we got up knowing this was our last full day of activities the following morning we would be heading home.

Dinner that night was special as many of the charity's supporters came to see us and chat about our experiences. I will never ever forget that week.

I attempted new things and didn't complete them all. Did it mean I was a failure? Not one bit I had a go and came out the other end smiling eventually.

I still get emotional thinking of how I felt the first two days battling with my inner self.

I suppose writing experiences can be the same. I battle with the thoughts inside, are they good enough to write down? I try and then look again. No. Discard and start again.

Sometimes things come to me easily others not so good. That is what life is full of struggles but it is what makes us strong.

Would I do things all over again in exactly the same way? Yes for most and those that really needed change I would.

One thing for sure is I have no regrets about attending the Odyssey course.

I certainly needed this time of reflection it has put things in perspective.

Best wishes

Monday, 21 September 2009

Life is changing



This weekend has been busy. Despite having visitors I was not going to miss my writing group meeting.




Yesterday morning made a huge difference to our house. We had been offered a welsh dresser for our living room a few weeks ago and last week had measured to see if it would fit. It would just.

So from this junky mess to this in a very short time yesterday morning with the help of my nephew and his girlfriend.


What a difference a day makes.

To get the top of the dresser into the alcove we had initial put the base in first and then tried to lift the top up and tip it into the alcove at an angle. This didn't work. So I suggested moving the base out and then lifting the top in first. This meant one of the boys holding the top while the bottom was shuffled into place and then being carefully placed on top of the base.

I am so glad this suggestion worked as at the point we realised the top wouldn't tilt in we were thinking of taking it back. So now our home is beginning to look much better.

Unfortunately when we moved the junk out from the wall to get the dresser in we discovered a damp patch. Investigations revealed the tiles in the shower have come loose and hence water is seeping through the wall each time the shower is used. Needless to say we will now have to retile the shower, seal it and then seal the wall and repaint the living room wall. Thank goodness it was the wall that wasn't painted in 2007 so thank goodness for small mercies.

Life is like this at times you find happiness with one thing and then discover something else needs to doing to complete the job. So it will need 120 tiles to be replaced and resealed. We have also discovered the electric pump on the shower also needs to be replaced so it is one thing after another. If we concentrate on the shower and get that job solved it means the dresser will live happily in its new home for years to come.

So I have lots of things to achieve before the end of the year and will keep me busy.

Best wishes to everyone.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Well Worth It

We have just got home absolutely thrilled at the result this weekend has had for Cancer Research UK Relay for Life.


There was lots of entertainment above is a magic act called Kane and Able.

This was just before 8pm when the candle of hope bags were lit.


This was to be our "Desirable residence" for the evening. Needless to say we may be considering selling it. LOL.

There were exhibitors and this was Confidantes from Cleobury Mortimer and Anny was a great help to us both days.
The weekend has been a huge success raising over wait for it £22,000.00 and waiting for the Inland Revenue to confirm the Gift Aid we may have raised £1000 using this.
We really lucky with the weather and this helped enormously.
146 dedicated candle bags were placed around the track. I got really emotional during the Candle of Hope ceremony especially as Steve had dedicated a Candle of Hope bag to me.
I must say thank you to Carole Ann Carr for cheering us on the opening lap as Survivors friends make the event so special and to see so many people turn up for everyone has really made an impact.
Will we do all it again. Yes of course we would the event has been so special a lot of work and effort but well worth it.
Michelle from Boots was lovely and has offered to help again in the future. This means a lot from turning up many months ago and "asking" begging more like for donations and help of support.
My former boss and his wife also attended the event as survivors and this meant a lot to me. Thank you both for your generous donations.
Everyone who gave time, donations, raffle prizes, donation station filled bags, bought raffle tickets or just turned up to offer support and assistance a huge THANK YOU. It means so much to so many people.




We have just got home absolutely thrilled at the result this weekend has had for Cancer Research UK Relay for Life.








Friday, 11 September 2009

It's here

The big weekend has arrived. Looks like it is going to be nice weather (fingers crossed).

Where have all the months gone since I first agreed to become a committee member? They seem to have gone by so fast. Each month I have been busy doing something or other.

Tonight is our final committee meeting and then all systems go for tomorrow and 22 hours of what should be a good event.

Today we were out and about seeing supporters and receiving kind donations for the event.

With six committee members all volunteers giving up their time to organise such a large event it all seems worthwhile effort.

Our house will be less like a bombsite next weekend I am sure of it, (determined to clear it up). Each committee member has been storing stuff ready for this weekend. We have been storing some biscuits and drinks, raffle prizes, and paperwork. Others have been storing large raffle prizes, paperwork, t-shirts and various other items required for camping out.

The organisation seems to have taken over the committee's homes and tomorrow the boxes will be dragged out packed into cars and delivered to where it should be.

I just hope we remember everything. I won't be blogging for the next couple of days as the computer will be the last thing on my mind.

Missi has been taken care of so we don't have to worry about our pet while we are away.

My final wish is it all goes well and that the event is a success.

So its fingers crossed as we set off for the final meeting prior to the event. This reminds me of the night before my wedding last year making sure everyone had what they required and that there was nothing else I could do except turn up.

Will I be a committee member next year? I think we will have to wait and see. I know without events like this money would not be raised to help Cancer Research UK in providing such a wonderful service so that survivors of this horrid disease can say thanks and keep on living longer.

I am signing off now.

Best wishes everyone and have a good weekend.

Fee xx

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Networking

I recently attended a Professional Speakers Association (PSA) meeting as a guest. I was nervous as I did not know what to expect.

As normal I arrived early I hate being late as this gets me flustered and embarrassed.

There were two meetings being held that day one in the afternoon for members and an open meeting in the evening.

Be warned if you are invited to attend such a meeting as a guest be prepared to pay at least £25 for the privilege. Even the speakers addressing the meeting have to pay for their attendance at these events too.

I found the meeting room and was about to head off to the hotel bar with my husband to relax and unwind before the actual event which was to commence at 7pm.

A candidate (they have levels of entry for the PSA) saw me and asked if he could help. I explained I was new and who had informed me about the PSA.

This gentleman explained that he was in the same position as me last year and could relate to how I felt. This made me really at ease and I finally started to relax.

Despite the formal looking website the PSA is very informal and was wonderful support to a newcomer.

There were two speakers speaking the night I attended and the subject was networking. The most valuable things I learnt that night were "networking is not selling". It is a way to build contacts and use the time to get to know someone and their problem to see if you can help at a future date.

Work out whether it is your worth your time embarking on something with a "good" "grief" score. Good is something that you get work through grief is how much effort and whether you really like doing it score. If you get little grief and a lot of customers from it do it. If it is 50% do you really want to bother.

If you really enjoy something but get little profit or no customers then obviously it is not worth the effort.

So it is like with everything we do in life above all else we have to enjoy what we do and know we are good at it.

Learning new skills is something I find very hard and one of the things I get most worked up about. Why because I worry I will fail and not be good at it. To get things moving though you have to learn new skills, look at a problem in a new light and solve it. Success does not come overnight.

It takes years to get to the level the top professional speakers have got to.

Some use books as a tool others just give good advice and tips. It is not about you and your ego it is about the message you want to get across to people in order to help them. That is what professional speaking is about.

If you are doing it for you, you are in the wrong field that was the message I took away with me the other night.

I suppose writing is the same, why do we write? We write to get a message across to others. We write because it gives us pleasure and we divulge our fantasies in fiction.

The messages we send can be emotional ones, can be matter of fact, can be happy ones or just plain facts that people need to be aware of.

I certainly learnt a lot in a couple of hours and met some really interesting people. Will I go again? Yes but that will be next year now as open meetings are bi-annual.

So who knows where I will end up or what I will be doing. One thing for sure is this person is going to achieve her goals which above all else is helping others.

Best wishes

Fee

Saturday, 5 September 2009

A weird Feeling

During the last few weeks my eyes have been playing me up. Last night I had had enough and telephoned Shropdoc to make an appointment to see a doctor for a check. Instead of being told to attend their premises in Telford the doctor telephoned me back and informed me I needed to be seen by the specialist eye team as my symptoms were something to do with my retina.

My symptoms were flashing lights to one side of my right eye and an appearance like a spider's web to the front of my vision.

An appointment was made for me to be seen this morning (Saturday) at 10 am. I was a little bit worried as the doctor informed me under no circumstances was I to drive myself there and had to have an escort for the journey home.

After tossing and turning till the early hours I eventually got some sleep.

We arrived at Shrewsbury and attended the eye clinic. It was extremely busy for a Saturday. Many opticians had referred patients, some had telephoned themselves to make an appointment and there was me with my referral from Shropdoc.

The nursing staff were wonderful. They made me feel at ease as they assessed me and then put drops in my eyes.

I was then to be seen by the doctor, who was extremely busy being there on his own, but he made me feel relaxed and did not rush his examination of my eyes despite the fact he knew he had a waiting room full of people and there was only him on duty. During my assessment he informed me I had a torn retina and that it would need laser treatment. I was a little bit nervous as the doctor explained that it would be undertaken this morning and would only take ten minutes.

Meanwhile I had drops inserted into my eyes to ensure my pupil dilated enough for the treatment to take place and he saw another patient while waiting for this to happen.

For once I didn't feel like a number I felt like a human being despite the fact the unit was really busy.

Each and every patient was treated in exactly the same courteous manner by all the staff despite the fact there was only one receiving nursing assistant, one nurse and one doctor for the whole clinic.

No one seemed to mind waiting either.

The doctor prior to the laser treatment made me lie down to ensure there were no further tears or lesions in my eyes that needed immediate treatment.

The doctor explained as I am myopic and short sighted I am now prone to retina problems. This now means further check ups in clinics to ensure my eyes are checked regularly to detect any retina damage early.

I had the laser surgery done. Steve had been with me during all the assessments but when it came to the laser he had to be out of the room. The doctor informed him. "If you hear screams you may return immediately" (Joke).

As the doctor knew I couldn't see a thing as my vision was so blurred he read out the consent form to me. I had been worried as to what the adverse side of laser treatment was and the doctor obviously read my mind as during the form he informed me what they were as he was writing them down. Strangely enough one of the side effects could be detached retina which is what they were trying to prevent by carrying out the laser treatment in the first place.

Being a contact lens wearer made the procedure easier to endure as a lens was placed on the front of my eye during the laser treatment.

I sat as still as I could while the treatment was undertaken. It was just a bit disconcerting looking one way while flashing lights were being pumped into the other side of me. It was not painful just felt weird sitting in an awkward position for a while.

The flashing stopped and the doctor moved away. It was all over and done with.

I just have to wait for an appointment to come through the post for my checkup.

As I left the hospital the sun was out, not too bright but too bright for me. When we got to the car sunglasses were put on and this made a huge difference.

I really appreciate eyesight now. I was trying to explain to Steve what I could see and how.

Traffic lights of the green light at the bottom was a blob of green in the middle with about eight green blobs around it forming a circle. Trees were outlined with a bright blue line amongst the fog.

The road was grey with no white markings as far as I could see. Buildings were large masses of colour with no distinction.

The wrekin was a dark imposing mass in the distance with no deep characteristics for me. I knew what it should have looked like but it didn't and this made me uneasy like being trapped in fog.

On the way home we stopped at Attingham Park this was eerie to someone in my state of vision. There was a marquee to the right of the entrance I could hear a voice say hello so I answered but could not make out anyone.

Visitors at the centre were a blur of colour with no distinguishing features. I knew what I wanted something familiar a cup of coffee and piece of cake. Sitting staring at it savouring every moment of what it looked like close up to my face. I will never forget the delicate sponge touching my tongue and melting in my mouth. It was delicious.

We returned home to be greeted by the cat (to me it was a furrry thing with a mixture of colours blurring into the other). I had to carefully move her with my foot to get indoors and take one faltering step after the other to ensure my footing.

It was a relief to be in familiar surroundings. I knew I would be tired so slept this afternoon.

I now appreciate my senses far more than I ever did prior to this experience.

Thank goodness it happened last night and not next weekend.

I have been informed if this happens again not to hang around for weeks on end hoping it will clear up by itself but to contact the team in the say way as I did last night and ensure I get seen quickly.

Thank goodness for the NHS.

Best wishes to everyone

Fee

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Approximately Two Weeks to go

Two weeks tomorrow the site for Relay for Life in Shrewsbury will be set up ready for the invasion of the Cancer Research UK Relay for Life Committee members, the following day the teams, survivors, volunteers and supporters will arrive. In 48 hours the whole event will be over.

In the meantime there is still a lot of preparation to do and I have been given a list tonight to do.
This will keep me out of mischief.

Tomorrow is the last day to register as a Survivor on line to ensure t-shirts are available to be worn on the day.

It is also the last day for teams to register for the event.

After this the main tasks are to sell raffle tickets, make sure candle bags are purchased and dedicated to each person correctly ready for the Candle of Hope ceremony which will commence at 8.30 pm this is a very poignant moment and is well worth attending the Relay just for this event in itself.

At 10 am on the Sunday morning the final lap is completed and the total amount raised announced.

This has been hard work since May and I hope all the effort put into it will make a difference.

I just hope all those that take part or visit really enjoy themselves.

Best wishes to everyone.

Fee

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

An Uppy Downy Day that ends positively

I have had one of those days. Was not allowed to eat but I was allowed to drink as I was to have a scan at 6pm.

I arrived at the hospital in plenty of time to deal with the formalities of car parking and found a disabled space.

Then it was in to the League of Friends Coffee shop to have a couple of drinks in preparation for the scan. My darling husband had something to eat as he hadn't eaten at lunch time.

By 5.30 I was desperate for the loo but had to hold on until the scan was undertaken. Unfortunately I had to wait over half an hour passed my allocated slot as a consultant decided to use the ultrasound room to check some x-rays. Meanwhile I was wriggling and trying not to burst in the waiting room. My husband bless him patiently asked staff how much longer I would have to wait as I was bursting for the loo. This caused me to have tummyache.

In the end the staff allowed me to visit the toilet just to let out a trickle.

This happened half a dozen times before the scan was undertaken. Having waited an hour for the ultrasound room to become free I was on the verge of going home and told the staff I was fed up of this happening to patients undergoing ultrasound scans.

I am sure the nursing staff are "sadists" and wonder how long patients can hold on before their tempers fray.

Finally I underwent the scan. It appears that the ovarian cyst they discovered in November has been absorbed back into my body. Didn't know that this could happen. The radiographer said she frequently undertakes scans prior to an operation to remove an ovarian cyst just for this very reason thus saving a patient unnecessary surgery.

So today ended on a positive note.

I still have to attend hospital at the end of September but am hopeful I can now be discharged from one of my consultants. That will leave 12.

I have my fingers crossed with my writing ventures and had some positive feedback today about something I have proposed.

So am feeling much better than I was at the start of today.

Hope everyone else is keeping well.

Best wishes

Fee

Friday, 21 August 2009

Multitasking the reality of it

I know many of us multitask. I am no exception. This morning I attended a training centre in the hope that I would build my confidence to go back to a working environment. What!!! I hear many expletives coming from around me with numerous hospital appointments I know this is not going to be an easy task but I need to put my talents to good use and I am fed of feeling labelled "a scrounger".

Having had a very successful meeting and assessment of my skills I was then shown around the Training for Employmnent Now centre at Horsehay. I didn't realise this place existed or what services it provided to people with learning disabilities. It is certainly a good stepping stone for those that need to work part time to gain employment.

The woodwork room was fascinating. Here things are made and then sold on to Blists Hill Museum. They also make bird feeders and bird tables, benches and all their offcuts are sold as firewood for wood burning stoves or open fires.

I was surprised that not many people knew of the existence of this enterprise and commented to my assessor. He said that is the problem getting to be known about so that people who need their services can access them.

As I am a member of the Disability Forum at Telford and Wrekin Council I will certainly bring this up at the next meeting. Other organisations don't signpost people to the help they really need. When this doesn't happen a disabled person can feel isolated, lonely and depressed and turns to other resources like NHS for anti-depressants or Community Mental Health Teams so this really has an impact on other resources.

I was lucky enough to be referred to T.E.N. through social services but this took nearly nine months to achieve.

I was also informed that the Job Centres are aware of T.E.N's existence but the staff have very little time to refer everyone who needs this service on to T.E.N.

So having had my meeting I set off home feeling really positive and wanting to achieve things. Hopefully it won't be long before I get a chance to attend the courses I so long to undertake.

Yesterday a friend called round to fit our stair carpet. Ours has been worn out literally and our neighbours are having an extension so their old stair carpet has now become ours. What better way to obtain one than recycle one. This friend looked at the project and advised that we take our old stair carpet off the stairs (what remains of it) and get the stairs prepared properly for the carpet to be fitted.

Having had a disaster with painting the house in 2007 when the paint I had put on the walls had peeled off in sheets (thanks to the damp proofing not being put back correctly by a home improvements company and being corrected last year) the wall still remained bare of paint. I therefore persuaded my husband to go out with me to get some sealant and some more paint.

My idea last night was to seal the wall and then paint today but heyho what happens to plans they go out the window. So this morning. I set to work to seal and paint a small bit of wall at a time. This way nothing will get wasted and a proper job will be undertaken. Well a bodged one in my case as I am no expert. I therefore set to work with the sealant and tested an area to make sure it was ready to take the paint. To be honest what I have achieved so far looks ok. I know the wall has been sanded down and smoothed over but at least the paint has stuck and it looks fresh.

My plans over the next 24 hours are to finish painting the wall not quite sure how we are going to manage the tall bits. Undercoat and gloss the stairs, bannisters and door in the living room then hopefully have the carpet fitted on the stairs.

My mottos is "Don't worry what you can't achieve concentrate on what you can".

I have done about half an hour at a time on the wall so far but ended up so tired with my back hurting that I had a nap. This has now re-energised me ready for the next tasks. Working out what to have for tea, preparing it and then getting my husband to cook it.

This morning has inspired me to achieve things not only for myself but others too.

Best wishes to you all.

Fee

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Nostalgia

Having signed up for the Wrekin Writers Retreat this year I looked around the Wrekin Writers website at previous retreats. I came across one held in Builth Wells so investigated further. Why?
I used to live in Builth (rhymes with filth says Terry Wogan) Wells so wanted to see where the retreat was. It is strange that when living in an area with loads of attractions locals very rarely visit them except on school trips and things like that. The same can be said of me unfortunately.
Sometimes life is just too busy but I know I should get out more and explore what is on my doorstep and in the future I intend to do so.
I can remember going up Builth Well's castle mound several times when I was little but cannot place where the gun pictured in the retreat pictures is.
The retreats look like good fun and a good chance to get some writing done.
So I am really looking to my first ever writers retreat. I certainly have been made to feel welcome and glad I joined a writing group.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Another Good Day

This week is going well so far (or perhaps I shouldn't say that in case fate turns). I have had letters printed in The Sun on two consecutive days and one in the News of the World on Sunday. Not bad for an amateur.

I must say a quick thank you to Di Perry whose email has supported me to keep going. It is nice to know when someone sees something and is inspired by it. I had no idea my blog would have that effect. So thank you Di for letting me know.

October looms large and extremely busy. Good job I am not getting married this year. Don't think I would have the time to plan and organise it. Not sure how I managed to do it all last year but we did.

I have two visits to London in October for two days with a gap of approximately a week in between each one. Will let you know more about those in a future post.

I am off out with my husband to day playing at being posties delivering letters to the local residents near to where the relay is to be held. It is like holding a party you have to invite the neighbours!! So our printer has had a battering yesterday to do these for us and it ran out of ink in the process (luckily I had some spare).

So I had better dash catch up with you all later.

Bye for now

Best wishes to you all

Fee