Health

London to Brighton – a glimpse

Here’s a glimpse of what I have to look forward too….

 

b/w photo credit: Troy Oldham

 

 

London to Brighton Cycle Ride

Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Goethe

Or in my case madness…… I have signed up to do the London to Brighton Cycle Ride on the 11 September 2016 to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer Action and Rigpa UK, and I could do with some help so if you are able to do any of the following, that would be wonderful.

a) Join me cycling London to Brighton – it would be great to have some companions along the way http://doitforcharity.com/do-it-for-charity-london-to-brighton-2016.aspx

b) Sponsor me – every donation – every £ helps.

http://www.doitforcharity.com/lovingmypancreas
for Pancreatic Cancer Action.

http://www.doitforcharity.com/SuzanneRoe for Rigpa UK

c) Support me – help me tell other people what I am doing, by liking and sharing this page, following me on Twitter @suzanneroe and retweeting some of my posts.

d) Do all of the above – I may be pushing my luck with this option!! 😀

Many thanks in advance for all your help 🚴🏼

 

Enthusiasm

Finally its back, its only taken 14 months since my operation, but I feel enthusiastic and energetic again, yippee.

However, it could just be because it’s Summer, so whilst I am not counting my chickens I am certainly making the most of it, by deciding to go cycling again.

I went out on my trusted and faithful ‘sit up and beg bike’, which is lovely but oh so slow, and means that whilst I am frantically pedalling – hubby is cruising along next to me on his road bike not even having to pedal!!

So I threw caution to the wind and borrowed hubby’s old road bike, which was a total blast, and decidedly nerve wracking going downhill.  After a just a few trips out I was totally hooked, so having purchased some super comfy cycling shorts and downloaded the MapmyRide App I am already for a  Summer of cycling.

The most I have ever been able to cycle in one go before was 7 miles to the local farm shop for breakfast and then an hour later cycling home, delightfully leisurely. But now, no sooner than I arrive home from work I am off out again on hubbys bike cycling along the lanes in rural north Warwickshire – such joy.

Sugar sugar

So sweetly my heart aches for you
Infused in tea from birth
The processed legacy of the modern era

Daily you inflame my body
Destroying all the good I eat
Following Ella with good intentions
My will power is torn to shreds
Addictive like heroin
Slowly slowly I kill myself by many names
Cancer, diabetes, obesity,

WHO advises less than 25 grams a day?
With APPs tracking every gram
A new day with focused new resolve
So wanting to abandon this sweet toothed poison
All undone by a creme egg well before 12
My body burns in the freezing night
A riot of inflammation and immunity

Sugar tax petition signed
Yet my saccharide hypocrisy remains
Killing myself sweetly with mono and di(e)

Cyclone Winston and the wild Rabbit

Currently hubby is somewhere over America on his way home, after his annual fishing holiday, which this year was in Kiribati one of the tiny islands in the pacific ocean roughly equi-distant between Los Angeles and New Zealand.

Yes, I am thinking lovely island, fine sand, lots of sunshine, very remote, no mobile signal and very intermittent internet probably only when a satellite goes over head. Sounds just perfect and a trip of a life time for a certain kind of fishermen.

However, this years trip will be more memorable than most and not for the fishing! To get to Kirabiti it takes time, so having arrived in Hawaii via Los Angeles the guys spent 3 days chilling out watching the Superbowl, visiting Pearl Harbour in the sun and the rain! One of the reasons for spending 3 days in Hawaii was that there was only one flight a week to Kirabati, which they didn’t want to miss so they weren’t going to leave anything to chance. Just a shame they hadn’t had the same thoughts about returning home, but more of that later.

As they were overweight with their luggage they had to leave some bags in Honolulu, now these guys do this type of trip every year and they know the closer they get to their destination the smaller the plane becomes, the lighter the luggage needs to be. So I have no idea what happened this year, as not only did they spend 18 months planning the trip but they were taking two non-fishing mates with them too, so they had extra capacity to carry all they would need.

In Kirabati, it rained and rained in fact it didn’t stop raining, it is of, course the rainy season in this part of the world, but in the months of planning the weather along with the luggage weight didn’t appear to been taken into account.

Having had a week of rain and poor fishing, I know this as I have been getting random Whats App messages throughout the week. The boys head back to the airport on Wednesday, to get their flights home and were due to arrive back in the UK late Thursday afternoon.

However, there is a technical fault with their plane, so they will have to wait for the next one. Did I mention earlier that there was only one flight a week to Kirabati, so yes, there is only one flight a week back to Honolulu and their left luggage!

I will not go into the complexities of working out all the time differences, but the time in Kirabati was the same as Honolulu but it was a different day! Needless to say I had the time of their multiple destinations set on my phone.

So, they check in for the next flight leaving, which was later in the day but to Fiji. This was of course going in the wrong direction but it was the only flight! This too was then cancelled. So that was it for Wednesday. By now I had had one very brief email updating me of the situation and asking if I could contact a couple of the other wives to let them know that, not only they wouldn’t be home as expected, but they actually didn’t know when they would be home. For one wife, her 60th Birthday party was planned for the Saturday night, needless to say none of us were particularly impressed!

It’s still Wednesday in the UK. I get home from work, feed the cats, and start researching flights leaving Kiribati on Thursday and there is again just one flight, and again it’s to Fiji, so I jot down the details and see that after Thursday the next flight would be the following Sunday. By some miracle hubby phones home, for literally one minute, so I just read out the flight details, he says he’ll call back and then he’s gone. By this time I have missed my much loved Tai Chi evening class.

Then, I suddenly realise I need to pop next door to feed the neighbours cats, which I had forgotten about. So with keys, torch and mobile in hand I run out the door to be confronted by Bob. Bob is semi-stray tabby cat of generous proportions, that lives in our wood store. So there is Bob with a rabbit in his mouth. I grab Bob and wrestle the rabbit from him, getting a little scratched in the process. Picking up the rabbit I cuddle it into my coat and wander back into the house, it is then I see a flea disappearing back into the fur on its head. Great.

I put the somewhat wilted rabbit into a carboard box, using a Hoover attachment to keep the lid on whilst I dig out a cat carrier from under the stairs. I find newspaper, some shredded purple paper, a dish for water and and a couple of carrots. So wild rabbit in now ensconced in its new home, still alive, lying on one side but moving its legs.

With the rabbit in the box, I finally get round to feeding the neighbours cats, and return home to find the poor rabbit tied up in the shredded paper so I spend another 10 minutes freeing it, from the purple paper.

For some strange reason I wonder if it was the weather that had caused the one flight to be cancelled, so I google weather only to find there is a Category 4 cyclone called Winston to the east of Fiji. There are some great images provided by NASA showing the size of the cyclone from space. Thinking that their flight might be cancelled again I check for other departures to find everything is now showing as sold out or cancelled until the following Wednesday! So that is it, they have one chance to leave Kirabati or they will be there for another whole week.

It’s at this point I begin to think praying may be useful; for the rabbit, hubby and his mates and anyone in the vast South Pacific in Winstons path.

I can hear the rabbit kicking in the carrier so I know that it’s alive. Hopefully it will survive the night and I can release it the next day.
It’s at this point I notice that my arm feels a bit strange, slightly achy and I remember the scratch I got from the rabbit / cat wrestling. Infection isn’t good, if like me you don’t have a spleen, so I rub tea tree oil over my arm as its the most antiseptic thing I have in the house. Although I have to take a daily low dose antibiotic I do have a stash of mega strong antibiotics for emergencies, so I dig them out from the back of a kitchen cupboard and put them in my work bag – just in case.

By now it’s 11pm so I go to bed. The flight hubby should be getting will be leaving 2am my time and if they get it, they will be landing in Fiji about 7am.

I wake at 4am to the sound of the rabbit kicking the sides of the pet carrier, so I get up and take it outside to see if I can release it but something is definitely wrong it’s legs are moving but it’s just lying on its side. So back in doors we go. By now the cats have woken up too and are noisily demanding food, so I feed them. I then check the flight departure details but there is nothing to say if the flight has left or not.

So it’s back to bed. When the alarm goes off at 6.20am I switch it off and roll over, so so tired. Next the phone rings it’s hubby they have finally arrived in Fiji – yeah – and they will be on a flight to Los Angeles in a few hours. It’s also 7.10am oops I am now well late. My arm still feels strange but no more so than last night. The rabbit is still alive so I call an out of hours vet for advice, who tell me to take it to my local vet, which doesn’t open until 9am. So between re-feeding the cats and making my breakfast, I call work to say that I will be in a hour late because of a rabbit!

I take the rabbit to the vets explaining the whole story, but it is too injured to be saved so sadly they have to put it to sleep. So much for my good intentions in trying to save its life, I probably just prolonged it’s suffering.

By 9pm hubby finally makes it to LA, and is offered accommodation and a flight the following day but by now desperate to get home he buys another ticket for a flight leaving within a few hours. I update the wives again. It’s 11pm again. I am off to bed again.

Lessons learned:
If a cat gets a rabbit it’s usually because the rabbit is sick, so let the cat have the rabbit and let nature take its course.
Keep some gardening gloves accessible for rescuing wild animals.
Cross examine hubby about all future fishing trips, contingency plans, fights and weather.
Don’t leave luggage in Honolulu, (chance would be a fine thing!)

Pancreatic cancer – survival rate unchanged in 40 years!

Last week on World Cancer Day, Cancer Research UK released the latest statistics showing that cancer deaths in the UK have fallen by almost 10% over the last 10 years. In addition, the 10 year survival rates from some cancers have significantly improved since 1971, all of which is positive news.

However this is not the case for pancreatic cancer where the rate of people dying from pancreatic cancer has not only increased by 8% but the 10 year survival rate still remains BELOW 1%,  the same as 40 years ago, which quite frankly is appalling.

Pancreatic Cancer has the lowest survival of all 21 common cancers

The general consensus for the poor survival rate is that it is often diagnosed too late, as there are few symptoms. However there is also another factor which is the lack of funding for research into pancreatic cancer which lags well behind that of other cancers.

“While funding for pancreatic cancer research has increased marginally over the past 10 years it still accounts for only one per cent of overall research funding and only two per cent of site-specific funding. This is despite it being the fifth largest cause of cancer death in the UK.”
Pancreatic Cancer Action.

I know that this will change, it has to, because as research into others cancers results in earlier diagnosis, treatment and longer life expectancy then at some point in time the spotlight will eventually be on the incredible low survival rate of those with pancreatic cancer.

Also I believe that the incidence of pancreatic related illness, like Acute and Chronic Pancreatitis, Cancer and Diabetes will continue to increase.  Why?  Because the pancreas is the one organ that regulates sugar levels in the blood and also the only organ that digests fats. So as our diets continue to increase in fat and sugar, namely in processed foods, so to will the stress on the pancreas.

If you want to show your pancreas some love try to moderate your consumption of sugar, fat and alcohol or at least take the time to read the label on 1 or 2 ready meals in your trolley, whilst waiting at the checkout, starting with what you buy the most. You may be surprised by their contents, I was and I had thought that I was a healthy eater.

References;
Cancer Research UK, article and stats on cancer death rates
Funding statistics for cancer research, from Pancreatic Cancer Action

 

 

 

Happy feet

Feet First – I have to laugh at myself, but for some reason my feet have been gaining more of my attention over the last 12 months. I think it started when I was stressed and anxious and totally stuck in my head so, in an attempt to ground myself I tried visualising breathing through my feet, yes I do know how bizarre that sounds, but it worked.

Other people may focus on their breathe in their chest or stomach, or wiggle their toes to feel grounded and more connected with the world. But for some reason this didn’t work for me, so I combined breathing with my feet and found a new method of stress relief!

Then after surgery in March, I spent months walking round in flat shoes basically it was just easier and more comfortable. As a result my posture gradually improved and I actually had a real sense of my feet being flat on the ground.

Once I discover Tai Chi in August, I was in heaven not only was I able to begin to exercise again but I did so with bare feet and absolute joy.  There is something delightful about standing in bare feet, feeling the texture of the floor or the coolness of grass whilst being totally balanced throughout the body.

Even if I have no time to do anything else, I will stand softly, upright and still, looking out of the window for a few minutes every morning, just to connect with my body, my breath and feel balanced.

Shoes Second – Once Winter came along so did more restrictive shoes, Summer is fabulous for bare feet, flat sandals, pumps/sneakers but Winter meant the return to more structured shoes, so I went though my wardrobe taking out all the shoes and putting back only the flat ones, with the exception of one pair of gorgeous high heeled black shoes that I have had for years and totally adore but only ever get worn occassionally. The rest I put on eBay, which to my surprise did very well.

I had heard about barefoot shoes, mainly for running, the shoes with 5 toes – but really that isn’t me and certainly not for work. Fortunately the purge of my shoes had left me short of just one pair of shoes, or so l told myself!

All I was looking for was one pair of black flat shoes, how difficult could it be? Well, very – is the answer!  I found some ‘bare foot’ black pumps but not only were they expensive they didn’t actually fit that well, so no sooner had they arrived they were returned.

Then completely by accident I found a pair of flexible, in this case foldable, black pumps a bit like ballet shoes that were completely flat and also in the sale – happy days. Afterwards I realised that I could also wear them for Tai Chi too, an added bonus.

Here’s to happy feet 🙂 how do you love yours?

 

 

2016 – Contentment & Creativity

I begin each year not with a resolution but a theme or two to focus on throughout the year.  But where do I want focus my attention in 2016?  There are just so many positive themes to choose from.

As 2015, and my year of gratitude comes to an end I have been continually surprised by what an amazing theme gratitude has been, as whatever happened I could always find something for which I was grateful and appreciative, which has helped me to focus on the positive during a difficult year.

One thing that I found, which arose from being grateful, was contentment. Contentment which I so easily overlook in my search for whatever is happening next. The one thing that illness gave me was the opportunity to be more reflective about my life and the wonderful people in it.

To me contentment is more subtle than gratitude. Gratitude is something that I can think about and then write into a diary or journal. But contentment is more elusive as it is a way of being. So I feel that my year of contentment will require the application of a bit more awareness, than normal 🙂

So, some of the things I am looking at doing are:

  1. Continuing with my daily gratitude diary.
  2. Creating space by not over committing myself – which is a habit of mine, then I wonder why I am stressed and tired.
  3. Thinking before I buy – do I really need it?  I can always leave it in the online basket for a week or two and see if I still want it!
  4. Taking time to be present, through meditation, Tai Chi and walking.
  5. Reminding myself when the going gets tough to Breath and Smile 🙂

As for the theme of Creativity, well that has spontaneously arisen from a combination of things that I enjoy and want to engage in more wholeheartedly, like:

  1. Spending more time sewing, I want to see if I can design and make one new item every month – cushion, skirt, bag or dress.
  2. Cooking, I am going to try one new recipe each week – I am fully aware that I may end up eating a lot of soup!! but seeing that I was kindly given 3 cookery books for Christmas there is no excuse really.
  3. My hurricane lamp project, each month creating a new theme.
  4. Writing this blog in an attempt to articulate my thoughts a little better and to create some pages with information about the pancreas, it’s function and the diseases that effect it.

So 2016, I am fired up and ready to roll, bring it on.

Cushions
A few of my previous projects 🙂

 

 

 

Today is World Diabetes Day!

I had no idea of the consequences of diabetes, which have been written about in this incredibly post by Emily

just consider it

Well today’s the day we diabetics get our own day, so let me say HOORAY! Ok that’s a bit much, for diabetes is an insidious disease that can have far reaching consequences. I thought that today is MY day, I would give you all a lecture about how to live your life to prevent type 2 diabetes. 1 in 4 people will develop diabetes in their life, that’s a fact. Trust me from my personal experience that it’s definitely not a good way to live your life for it impacts it with everything you do, and there’s no escape once diagnosis is achieved, except if you have gestational diabetes, and even then sometimes it will stay on in your body. Diabetes has an impact on every cell in your body, so listen to Aunty Emily and pay attention.

Essentially, diabetes is a condition where the body cannot produce insulin, which…

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