Guilt: A Lasting Side Effect of A Cancer Survivor

That Guilty feeling

After a cancer diagnosis it is natural to go through many different feelings; It is like an emotional rollercoaster. Some people feel angry, sad or anxious whilst others may feel depressed or guilty. Myself, went through all of these and many more but the worst one was the guilt. Cancer turns your life upside down and you can just about experience every emotion there is, you have your ups and downs. I blamed myself for becoming ill. I looked for reasons why I got cancer.

Blame

I blamed myself for lifestyle choices that might have led to my cancer. Could I have done something differently? When I was in University I had many late nights; some nights where i had no sleep at all, where I was out drinking and dancing. Boy, I drunk! If I didn’t do that, would I have still fallen sick? Was it because I starved my body of a certain nutrient, that I didn’t eat the correct food or have a balanced diet? Did I compromise my immune system? I’m not really a junk food person, but we’ve all been there when we have had a takeaway on a night out. Could that have been the cause? Was my job too stressful? Was I working in the profession and putting too much strain on my health? Did I not give my body enough rest? Maybe, I didn’t exercise enough! Maybe, walking daily or doing a 10 minute excerise at home just wasn’t enough to keep my body fit and healthy.

Media

The belief that cancer happens for a reason can be an attractive line of thinking — where there’s an effect, there must be a cause. Right? That’s what we’re led to think.

“Don’t smoke, you will get lung cancer”

“Obesity is the cause of cancer too!”

“Exposure to carcinogens increases the risk of getting cancer”

“Too much sunburn can give you skin cancer”

“CT scans in childhood can triple the chance of developing brain cancer”

The list is an endless blame, causing us to feel guilty about the lifestyle that we lead. And, that moment when you get your cancer diagnosis you begin to question your life; you begin to lay blame on yourself.

I even read recently that drinking hot tea can cause Oesophageal cancer. Social media is to blame for the guilt that cancer patients suffer. What we read and what is shared around on the internet causes us to believe that we have put our own lives at risk by cleaning our houses with bleach or that we eat too much processed foods.

Companies lead us to believe that there products are anti-cancer by claiming that the ingredients help to fight off cancer cells, making us feel guilty that we enjoy eating our favourite foods.

Fault

Guilt and blame go hand in hand with cancer. More often than not we don’t know what causes it, Cancer is caused by so many factors – yet, we still blame ourselves.

Not only did I feel guilty that I got cancer but I also felt guilty that I had to take time off of work to have the treatment and operations; guilty that I was putting my family through such misery and worry; guilty that my young children had to experience such a horrible thing and even survivor guilt – why have I survived and my friend didn’t?

I felt that I was letting people around me down; family relied on me to be strong and I couldn’t be that person anymore.

Nobody was judging me but myself.

Warrior

I was constantly told that I was a warrior; that I had kicked cancers butt. But, I felt ashamed to be called a warrior as I didn’t see myself as someone who had won a fight or someone who had courage or a skill.

I just didn’t want my life to end; I didn’t fight and I certainly wasn’t brave. I cried every day, I was weak and I beat myself up for becoming so ill.

I did what everyone else who gets cancer does and that was to get through each and every day a day at a time. I attended my appointments; took the daily cocktail concoctions of drugs that was prescribed to me; laid in a machine daily for 5 weeks and had operations to remove the tumour

Cancer weakened me. It played with my emotions. It played mind games with me. I was psychologically and physically beaten.

Goodbye Guilt

I don’t want to feel guilty anymore. I don’t want to look within me for blame.

I want to look to the future now because that Is what I have. A future with my family.

I need to acknowledge my feelings and let go of the guilt. I will now focus on the positive and good things in my life. If I could fight the cancer then I sure as hell can fight the guilt.

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Mum, I don’t want to be different!

Attending Secondary School

It was my sons first parents evening since starting his secondary school and, like all the other parents, I was looking forward to finding out how he was getting on with his studies but also how he had settled into year 7.

He doesn’t attend our local school, instead he travels to the next borough. His older brother had attended the same school and he wanted to follow in his footsteps and go to the same school. My son started school in year 7 whilst his older brother was in year 11 – his final year at school.

Dyslexia screening

Although, I had appointments with his subject teachers I really wanted to talk to the SENCO.

Back in junior school – year 4 – I had been told by his optician that he was showing signs of dyslexia after they had done an intensive eye test on him. I had mentioned it to his school, but nothing was done about it as his reading age was beyond his years.

In the first couple of months of starting secondary school they put the children through a few tests including dyscalculia and dyslexia screening. I was eager to know the scores because of the previous test he had done, but every time I called the school I was informed that the results wasn’t through yet. A few months had passed and I received a letter from the school regarding the results. It had come back that my son was showing signs of dyslexia and they wanted to put him into intervention groups to help him with it. Of coarse, I wanted all the help he could get so he started to attend a special programme called Alpha to Omega and had extra Literacy lessons.

The struggles

As I mentioned before, you couldn’t fault my sons reading. At the age of 11 he has a reading age of a 17 year old. You could have a very intelligent conversation with him and his choice of wording would be very detailed, he was articulate and detailed. He would use a wide range of vocabulary when explaining things to you but this was not evident in his writing.

He struggled with his handwriting, spellings, taking more than one order, tying his shoe-laces, confusing his direction, forgetfulness and mixing up letters and numbers, such as ‘b’ and ‘d’ and ‘9’ and ‘p’.

He found it hard to get to grips with the times tables, recalling the days of the week and months of the year in order and remembering mathematical facts.

Learning to adapt

As the years have gone on, my boy has learned to deal with it himself. He has been persistent and resilient in his learning. He would choose the easier way out when it came to writing – simplifying his sentences omitting difficult words with easy words.

He wears his watch on the left wrist so he knows which is left and right, without it he can be lost -literally!

We have spent years practicing his times tables and we spend at least an extra hour a week just going over sums. He has learned to love maths and this has helped him.

He is given chores around the house to do, telling him to do one thing and following it with another order. For example; asking him to go upstairs to find a book and to put it back in another place.

Back to Parents Evening

Even though we have always believed him to show signs of dyslexia we have never actually been told by someone in education that he does have it.

My son has been attending two sessions a weeks for the past 4 months in school, missing out on subjects that he really enjoys to get the extra support in specific areas of need.

As we sat down with the SENCO and she went through his scores from the tests taken earlier in the year.

Mild in Dyslexia

Scored very low in Dyscalculia

We sat and talked about his struggles or signs and she agreed that he needs extra support, but what has been given to him may need to be at the next level as he says he is finding it too easy within the group.

Dyscalculia test

We are not sure that the results reflect his ability. As part of the test he was asked to answer by pushing the right or left button for the correct answers but obviously not being able to identify his left and right didn’t reflect the true answers.

SENCO have agreed for him to sit the test again in October with the new year 7’s coming up into the senior school and this time they will label the buttons with L and R to help him.

I don’t want to be different

It was the first time that my son had been told he was dyslexic and had dyscalculia. We had discussed it before but it had never been confirmed by a test.

As we walked out of the school, my son turned to me and said

“I don’t want to be different!”

My heart broke.

I told him that he isn’t different. He is still him. Nothing has changed.

I reminded him that we are all different and that the world would be a boring place if we were all the same. We all have something that makes us different from one another, but now we can work on his as we now know what he is struggling with.

Nothing changes for us, we will keep encouraging him to achieve and we will keep on spending time with him going over his spellings and times tables.

I understand that he just wants to fit in with his friends, that he needs to feel secure and safe within his environment. He reassures me that no one is picking on him for attending interventions, but it’s just painful to him to finally hear that he has different educational needs to his peers.

It’s time now for him to shine as now he is receiving the support that he deserves. I have reminded him that he has already acquired and developed skills to get him to where he is now. He is already in top set for Maths and English. We just need to be positive about this, I want him to know that it’s Ok to be different!

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Discovering my Perfect Fit with Hotter

An Invite to Hotter Store

Last week I was invited along to my local Hotter store in Romford after being selected as a Fit Fortnight winner to pick out a pair of shoes that I had won at Blogon the previous month. It was a chance for me to receive my very own cinderella moment where my feet would be measured by an expert to find my perfect fit.

What is Fit Fortnight?

Fit Fortnight campaign (was running between 13th – 27th May) is designed to help Hotter customers in finding a perfectly fitting show/sandal by measuring their feet and providing expert advice. All of Hotter shoes come in sizes 3-9 with some designs in half sizes and extra wide fitting options.

Front of Hotter Romford store

Meeting My Fit Ambassador

I arrived at the Hotter Romford store on bank holiday monday morning and was approached by a lovely young store assistant who instantly was welcoming and friendly. As soon as I mentioned that I was there for my Hotter Fit, the young lady then went off in to the back of the shop to get the Hotter Fit Ambassador.

Taking seat in one of the many comfortable chairs that were available. I waited for Elise, the Fit Expert to arrive.

Inside the Hotter Romford store

Elise, with her bright and bubbly personality, was a lovely young lady – whom was happy to listen to what I was looking for and eager to give me advice on what would be ideal for my lifestyle.

FIT Experts

Hotter are passionate about fit; from the design and technical teams who build clever fitting options into every pair, to the advisors who know the shoes inside out. Fit Experts are trained so that they can give you the best fitting advice possible. They take time to help you find your perfect shoe as they are passionate about finding you the perfect fit.

My Hotter Fit

After a brief introduction to Elise and a little chat about my lifestyle and type of shoe that I was looking for, I was given my cinderella experience. I had always bought shoes that were size 4 or 4 1/2, occasionally would I buy shoes that were size 5 as they would generally be too big for me. After having my feet measured I was surprised to see that my feet were actually a perfect size 5.

Getting feet measured in hotter store

Across the Hotter collection, many of the shoes come in half sizes and have three width fittings, plus a multitude of clever fastening features. Hotter shoes are designed to deliver your perfect fit.

I do a lot of walking and as I work in a school a lot of my time is spent on my feet. I was looking for a pair of shoes that would be comfortable, allow my feet to breath but also I wanted them to be stylish too. I had previously told a friend about my Hotter visit and they had mentioned that the shoes were for the older generation, I have to disagree with this comment. I found the shoes to come in a variety of styles and many of them mirroring the styles that you would find in other high street stores. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many beautiful and dainty looking shoes they had on offer.

  • Bright coloured hotter sandals
  • Hotter chase style shoe
  • Leah sandal
  • hannah hotter sandals
  • Hotter sandal choices

My Hotter choice

As we’re heading into the warmer months of the year I really wanted to find a pair of sandals that would looked pretty but would also last. I needed them to give my support when moving around with the children at home and at work. With the help from Elise, I chose three pairs.

A selection of hotter sandals

‘Leah’ in aqua nubuck, ‘Tropic’ in blood orange and ‘Hannah’ in coral nubuck/suede.

I really liked the look of the Tropic style and was looking for a nice vibrant colour, sadly the citrus yellow wasn’t in stock in my size so i tried on the blood orange. The fit just wasn’t giving me the support that i needed around the toes. I have quite slim feet and the Hannah sandals fitter perfectly.

Hannah hotter style sandal with floral embellishments
Hannah

Hannah

Hannah are flattering and flexible. They are a slip on sandal with an elasticated strap that gives you that added support.

“The signature ruffle detail on Hannah has been reduced to really let the beauty of this sandal show, and what a result! For feminine styling that can easily be dressed up or down, encase sun-kissed toes in a luxurious combination of Velvet Nubuck and Soft Suede.”

As soon as I placed my feet into the sandal I just knew that these were for me. My feet felt luxurious against the soft suede material. My feet felt like they were walking on air the whole time, the cushioning giving my soles the comfort that they need when walking.

Hotter Fit Fortnight

I attended the hotter fit fortnight event on the last day, so sadly this isn’t running in the shops at the moment. But, the store assistants are always there to give you advice and help you in finding your perfect fit. Hotter run these events throughout the year so keep an eye out for when they are next running in your local store so that you can find your perfect fit.

Hotter App –

EASY, FAST, FUN. FOOTWEAR AT YOUR FINGERTIPS. Hotter now have an app available to download where you can discover the latest of Hotter footwear.

*I received these pair of shoes in exchange for this review. All thoughts, opinions and photos are my own.

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