stories of grace, hope and life beyond cancer


Be kind to yourself

The last few weeks since my surgery have been filled with special family time, days out in Cambridge, enjoying little man and the last of the summer and Joel’s last few weeks of holiday. But they have also been filled with lots of physiotherapy and adjusting to my new normal post-surgery.

Like each aspect of this cancer journey these weeks have been a bit up and down. My general recovery was remarkably quick, as predicted by the doctors (not believed by myself) and just a few days post-surgery, on a sunny Saturday, I was strolling round a national trust property! That certainly took me by surprise!! Regaining the movement in my arm on the other hand has been somewhat slower and more tricky… But each day is a little better and movement is slowly being restored.

I have been desperate to get back into exercising but I continue to be really tired and unable to do all that much physically. This has been a great source of frustration to me as I am sick and tired of being sick and tired!!

On Tuesday at a hospital appointment I was chatting to one of the lovely nurses, telling her the grand plans of my exercise regime and she gave me some wise words that I have been thinking about since then… She said, “Be kind to yourself.”

This got me thinking, how often are we our own worst enemy and harshest critics. How often do we expect unrealistic things of ourselves or do we not extend the grace that we would to others to ourselves.

For me, how this looks is giving myself proper time to recover, accepting the continued help from others, building up my strength slowly and trying to be ok that there are many things that used to be so easy that I still can’t do… and probably slowing down my exercise grand plan! 😉 I’m sure it looks different for you, but the principle is the same.

God is such a kind God and He shows us so much grace. As we are called to emulate Him, let us not only be kind to others and show them grace but let’s be kind to ourselves too.


Jumping hurdles

Today is Sunday (only just, but Sunday nevertheless). Just two more days left until I will be jumping another hurdle in my treatment journey. At 7am on this coming Tuesday morning I will be reporting to the hospital as Tuesday sees my surgery roll around.

I have found preparing for this surgery has been something of an emotional roller coaster (I even find the thought of the general anaesthetic a bit scary). I know in my head that the surgery is a vital part of my treatment and that it is such a positive thing, but my heart is still playing catch up on reaching such a positive place. It is a funny thing to know that something is good and right and yet still to feel so sad about it.

Over the past few days I have been really enjoying the Paralympics and they have served as a real reality check for me. I have been so inspired by the countless athletes who have faced all manner of challenges in their lives but who have chosen not to be limited by these challenges but rather to live their lives to the full. They are such an example to me and I have really found that watching them has helped me to pull myself out of my own personal pity party and gear up to face this next stage of treatment head on, all the while keeping my eyes on the treatment finish line.

I am so thankful for the excellent treatment that I am receiving, for the amazing hospital staff and for the love and support of my friends and family. I know that in this next phase I can trust God to give me the strength I need to face each day, just as he has done in the chapters that have already passed. As I prepare for the surgery I am reminded of and encouraged by the lyrics to Desert Song by Brooke Fraser (it’s such a great song – check it out on YouTube if you don’t know it) which talks about God’s faithfulness though the difficult times of our lives.

This is my prayer in the desert
When all that’s within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides

This is my prayer in the fire
In weakness, or trial, or pain
There is a faith proved of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flame

This is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on its way
I am conquerer and co-heir with Christ
so firm on His promise I’ll stand

I will bring praise, I will bring praise
No weapon formed against shall remain
I will rejoice, I will declare
God is my victory and He is here