A New Start : Free at Last

Last week my daughter started university. Until now I have always had this invisible bungee umbilical cord that keeps bringing me home just as soon as is humanly possible from wherever I am. I kept at it even when she turned 18, until she left last week in fact.

The title is a bit tongue in cheek but although I miss my daughter I am looking forward to not being tied down so much.

So what will I do with my new found freedom?

Well seeing as I am still tied to paid work I don’t suppose I will be running off into the sunset cackling madly and waving my arms.

What it is is an opportunity. I have only one really great need right now, and that is to get fitter. This is a priority I have put off because I always felt I had to run home. Interestingly I didn’t feel half as guilty eating out sometimes five times in a week. Aah, my excuse has gone off to educate herself and there is no where to hide.

To get fit I have to think about several things.

My current level of fitness is abysmal. I can walk on the flat for quite some distance but my joints are creaky and muscles ache. I was a bit like this before all my treatment but it seems to be worst now.

If you ask me to walk up a mild incline or some stairs I get very  puffed out. Although my sleep has improved my fitness levels haven’t for some time and I have put on weight.

And in that statement lies another issue. I love love love cake and biscuits, anything sweet. At this time of year even I turn to pies, spuds and stews. I love the carb rich diet that is so bad for you but I really can’t face salad in winter.

So I have come to an agreement with myself; I am going to slowly lose weight and slowly build up my exercise.

From tomorrow I am going to list all the food and try and work out the calories and fat etc. I have used Spark people for this before so may go back to that. I know my triggers as a rule and will avoid them.

I will weigh myself once a month on payday (the 27th) but I hope to notice the difference in my clothes .

As for exercise I have been inspired by a very good friend to try the Couch to 5k, (C25K). Its one of those things that even I can do. In fact it is designed for people just like me, as in very unfit. I wouldn’t call myself a couch potato most of the time. I tried it for the first time last night and I managed three 90 second runs although the last one was not so good. I was tempted to do a pre C25K as in walk normally then walk fast but it seems pointless so I shall stick to the plan.

couch in couch to 5 k

Getting fit and losing weight is not just a nice to have aim. I have a family history of diabetes and heart disease. I have been overweight or obese for the whole of my adult life. I am tired a lot and although I can put some of this down to my treatment its not all about that. I may actually live longer than my predecessors if I look after myself. I may actually get old. Besides I don’t like the way I look or feel. Getting breathless just bending down to  pick something up is no fun.

Finally I have already told the office at work and will tell my lovely MiL as she often brings cakes and goodies round. Got to love her for it but it doesn’t help the old waistline.

What I really want is to look as fab as my friend of course and maybe even go for a run with her one day. Wish me luck.

couch to 5 K





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Current Themes – An Update

A month comes round really quickly. Life has been very busy here, blogging is taking a back seat; normal service will resume soon.

Health and Fitness: The Venlafaxine continues to work and I am sleeping a lot better. It also helps that the weather has cooled down a bit. Now that I am sleeping I have been getting a better picture of my overall health. I am doing ok and can walk on the flat with no problem but going up even slight inclines causes me to be puffed out. I am also still not very strong but hope that will improve in the next few months.

Had my mammogram this week which marks the second year since first surgery.

Making Money: Although I am not doing surveys etc I have a plan which will earn me about £700 over the next year for a few hours work. This is to do with opening bank accounts and rotating money around. Fiddly but worth it.

I paid a chunk off my smaller mortgage last month. It won’t be long until it has gone.

Prepping: Doing two sorts of prepping this month.

First DD is going off to uni so we have been getting what she needs together. Nearly everything is done. I have also done her a sewing kit, care kit and first aid kit. We are putting together a tool kit and a bag for emergencies in case she gets woken by fire alarms in the middle of the night. It will contain food and water, cash and phone numbers plus foot wear and clothes.

Also this month I have been through my various emergency bags putting in water with a long expiry date, tablets also with long expiry dates and replacing old £1 coins with new ones as they are out of date in October.

Decluttering and Minimising: In the last month I have cleared DD and DN’s (nephew) rooms. All bags of clothes and knick nacks have gone into the spare room. I will be sorting that room last. Once DD has gone to uni I will be deep cleaning her space, DN’s is already done.

I also cleared the shed on the  allotment. It looked like it had been burgled. I think, like DDs and DNs rooms, it may be over two years since I did this. It was really messy and took three hours.

Measuring up this month for a new kitchen and small remodel of downstairs.

Personal Growth:  Its been busy at work as someone has been on holiday from the team most weeks over the last few months. I have caught up with piles of paperwork however and feel better for it now my ‘to do’ pile is minimal.

Since coming back off hols myself a few weeks ago I have got involved in several projects, all inter related. Two of thse are projects I have wanted to do but never got started due to time commitments and lack of confidence. However someone else has had the time and energy so I am tagging along and putting in my two pennys’s worth.

My Learning Set’s project also meets for the second time this month with the management lead. I am very happy that this has started getting off the ground as I felt that nothing would change.

I cannot tell you how much all this means to me. I have more confidence and know I have the ability to influence things in a positive way at work. If you has asked me only a few years ago I would have avoided it all despite my wanting to do good.

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Current Themes – An Update


Its been a few months since my usual update. Life has been hectic but good. So here it is for August.

Health and Fitness: So the big thing about fitness was sleep or lack of it. Well things have turned around massively since starting on the venlafaxine about 6 weeks ago. Although it had been prescribed I was waiting for a weekend where I wouldn’t be driving and if it made me drowsy I didn’t have to worry about it. I am happy to say that things have improved. Its a minor miracle. From waking every hour hot and horrible I am only waking every 2 to 3 hours. I even had a 5 hour stretch a few nights ago. The knock one effect is more energy and I am not eating as much. I have lost about half a stone in weight and do not need the all the rubbish I was eating. Activity levels, stamina and strength are much better. I am not going to bed at 9.30 any more. I am still tired sometimes but not fatigued in the way I was. When I have a nap I recover better. Not dieting yet as I am on holiday for a few weeks so will start cutting down after then.

Making Money: I have just about stopped all money making activities for the summer. Life is too short to be stuck inside when the sun is shining and I have a lot of stuff I want to do that hasn’t been done because of tiredness. Back to it when it is dark at night and I have nothing better to do.

On a positive note I have a savings plan that is finishing this month and the amount paid back plus interest will get paid straight off the mortgage.

Prepping: Have had a clearout of the camper van and realise I have 4 alternative cooking hobs that run on gas, all with cylinders plus a BBQ. I noticed a water leak last week at the end of my road but didn’t worry as I already had water put by in case our supply was shut off for a few days.

I have been thinking about money a bit lately. I have a small amount of cash in the house but I think I will build it up in case of problems with access like we have had occasionally in the last few years. Also shops can’t accept cards if they have no electricity.

There has been a lot of discussion about the cash economy over the last few months in relation to the gig economy but also tax. You would think it is a crime to be paid in cash, or to pay for something in cash. One man stated he hadn’t used cash directly in years. All very well but a little short sighted I feel.

Decluttering and Minimising: Well, got to be honest, not done anything bar drop a few books in at various places at work and at a festival I went to last week. No matter. Will be back to it soon.

Personal Growth:  The leadership course has now finished culminating in a presentation to the Chief Exec’s Representative. My little group has been tasked with developing a skills course that we felt was missing sponsored by the Chief Exec’s Rep. Apparently he will not only sponsor us but actually be involved.

This course has been an excellent thing for me to have done. Firstly I understood everything they were telling us and actually believed most of it already. They put into word and figures what I know which was satisfying. Its allowed me to develop some contacts across the Trust, and my little learning set will be long term friends. I have the chance to make a Trustwide differernce in a practical way which will be ongoing for a year or two I think.

Overall it has improved my confidence which was already at an all time high.

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Song for Grenfell

I fist heard this in the week on the way to work and I cried. It’s been an awful few months here in the UK and this song somehow says it all.


To make a donation: https://artistsforgrenfell.com/


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Cancer Update: 2 Years Gone Already

This time two years ago I found a lump in my breast. It didn’t hurt but I knew what it could be.

A year ago I returned to work after the surgery and treatments. Boy does time fly.

In that year I have gone from being hardly able to walk to working my full hours and maintaining the garden, allotment and house as before, well almost.

You see, I had no idea how my fitness would be affected by it all. I am still struggling a little bit but at least I know the reason why. Mostly it has to do with sleep or lack thereof.

I am lucky though, I am still here and as far as I know clear of cancer. Can’t ever be fully sure until they produce a blood test like they have for prostate cancer. Until something occurs to make me think otherwise, I am happy to be here.

I have had my 6 month check up recently and got some good advice about taking the tamoxifen at night. This was about three weeks ago and things have definitely improved. The night sweats have reduced to waking me every few hours. Much better.

In the same vein my GP prescribed venlafaxine, an antedepressant that has the side effect of reducing the night sweats. I haven’t tried them yet. I will let you know.

Apart from the intermittent fatigue and general wekness still, all is good. I am in a good place mentally at the moment and am enjoying life.

I am even starting to think about proper excercise. this is in anticipation of going on the next drug, anastrazole, which may decrease my bone density, and because I have put on weight.  I was already well over weight but the sleeping issue has caused me to eat more.

So there it is. not much of an update as life has gone on as if nothing happened…………

which is fine by me.


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Current Themes – An Update

A brief look at how things are going and where I want to be with life.

Health and Fitness: Still having very disturbed sleep. I lost my Fitbit so can’t see how bad it is in black and white but certainly I am waling every hour. Happily i may now be on the road to improvement.

I finally got to see my GP a few weeks ago but I hadn’t taken the info I had on venlafaxine as a treatment for menopausal sweating. I finally got to see her again today and she has prescribed this antidepressant at its lowest level. This is not a route I would have gone down but nearly everything else affects oestrogen levels. Not a risk I want to take.

Overall, when I get enough sleep, by going to bed at 9pm usually, I am doing plenty and keeping busy. I have even lost a bit of weight.

Making Money: Still doing OK but slowed down. I am too tired to do loads of surveys plus its too nice to be stuck in on a computer. No big wins but over the last month earnt enough to pay for a storytelling festival I am going to in July.

Prepping: The events of the last few weeks have had me and DH discussing escape routes. It doesn’t take long to bung up Derby with traffic.

Decluttering and Minimising: Decluttering has slowed down due to being away a bit but also I am spending more time on the Allotment when I can. Energy levels have to be managed so that means one thing at a time. Frustrating but necessary.

Personal Growth:  The leadership course continues. I am in a good place right now and hope to keep it like that.

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Anthems For Our Times

The UK has responded to the last two terrorist attacks in the usual way.

I was moved this last week by the concert arranged so quickly and supported by so many to raise funds for the victims of Manchester and was pleased that The Red Cross started a fund for all the victims of these horrendous events.

The song of the moment was by Oasis, a Manchester band sung here by Ariana Grande and Coldplay’s Chris Martin.


Supporting victims of the Manchester attack

Here is a link if you want to donate to the Red Cross.


Robbie Williams ‘Angels’ also took on special meaning:

Thanks Youtube for the links.


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