Returning to the office after a jam-packed day of sharing thoughts and ideas; the first thing I wanted to do is reflect on some of my personal highlights as a participant at #dhwdnd yesterday.
These days, it feels as though we can either be productive or live an active life. It doesn’t seem possible to fit both in to our day. With evidence suggesting that spending long periods of time sitting (independent of physical activity levels) increases cancer risk, it’s about time we became more active. So is there any way we can have the best of both worlds? Well, I’m glad to be the bearer of good news: the Pomodoro writing technique might just be what we are all looking for!
At 50, my youngest daughter made me call the local breast screening centre to ask if I had missed a letter inviting me to attend. She said “the late birthday card from the bowel cancer unit came within weeks of turning 50…” Happily the screening centre staff offered to give me an appointment but said I hadn’t missed an invitation, it was just that my GP area wasn’t being called in at that point in time. I went, got an all clear and had one happy daughter.
We are very grateful to an SCPN member, now an independent researcher, for sharing this very personal but hopeful account of her struggle to overcome her problem drinking.
I am now in control of my drinking. It feels good to say that, yet somewhat uneasy, as it’s never a ‘done deal’. I started drinking at 18, and it has taken me 16 years to get to a place where I can say that without an inkling of guilt, without wincing at the odd indiscretion or blow out.
I started drinking heavily at University. I went to the University of Sussex, near Brighton, which is an amazing place to be a student! There were several on-campus bars, and there was one literally 30 paces from my shared accommodation. It was great to get to know new people, and the cheap snakebites were a great conversation facilitator. It was acceptable to go every evening after dinner; there was no judgement. It helped us bond at a time when that felt so monumentally important for all that lay ahead of us.
As a child, I was always considered nosey – asking big questions, little questions and all sort of questions that annoy adults. Some of my family just avoided me, but some liked to be asked things and had tales to tell. One night, my aunt decided to indulge me, and responded well to being asked about my grandmother. She told lots of stories about her work, how she coped with hardship on the farm, her baking, her favourite things and then how she died. Forty odd years on I don’t remember many of the details, but I do remember the nightmares I had when I thought about the details of how bowel cancer had killed her, and desperately wishing I hadn’t asked.