The Bog Slog

My friend Mandy has written this FABULOUS piece about the mud run we did a few weeks ago. So proud to have been a part of it (and pleased Mand didn’t include the picture where I did look like a hippo!!)

The Davies Diaries

It didn’t occur to me to question why it was called the bog slog. I had signed up to do a mud run and had a romantic notion of skipping through fields with my mates, sun shining down on us as we laughed and joked, creating happy memories. I was in quite good spirits that morning – make up on, hair straightened and all set to get on with it.

20160319_085452816_iOS Before

A huge group of us signed up for the 5k mud yard mud run to raise money and awareness for brain tumour research. Fin was just 11 when he lost his battle to this killer. 11. No parent should ever bury a child. We’re just not programmed to cope. Many of us watched this pan out from the sidelines unable to find the words or reach out in any meaningful way. I, for one, felt totally useless. I wanted to help…

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Guest Blog: It’s all about me

Yesterday I blogged about my boobs, and it made me think about this excellent blog post by my friend – who is currently recovering in hospital from an op – and has far more important things to say about boobs than me.  She writes so eloquently, I wanted to share it with you all – so here goes.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

It’s all about me!

Most, if not all of you, will remember the “No Make-Up Selfie” craze that swept social media last year. I duly took part on my personal FB page. I remember loving the unity between women as they complimented each other, understanding that a photo without make-up was a hard thing for many to do. There was sense of unity & it was lovely to see women supporting other women, not to mention the fantastic comments from lots of men. I also remember being surprised by the criticism about the craze. Cancer charities saw a rise in donations & it definitely raised awareness, which can only be good in my book!

It raised my awareness & prompted me to check myself as I’d not done so for a while. I then wished I hadn’t, which was a stupid thing to think but better than the thoughts that raced through my head when I found a lump. I went to see my GP who talked about breast mice & dismissed any concerns around cancer or simple links to hormones & the migraines I’d experienced.  The GP went through the tick list for identifying cancer from a lump & mine didn’t tick any of the boxes. I did what all internet savvy peeps do & googled breast mice as soon as I got home. Everything the GP had said tied in with what I read. I still felt a sense of disatisfaction with the GP’s approach, but I breathed a sigh of relief & carried on as normal.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago. The lump seemed to be more uncomfortable on an increasingly regular basis. I was still convinced it was linked to hormones, although the migraines have become less frequent. It was really disconcerting to have a lump in my breast that I seemed to be increasingly aware of. I went back to the GP. The infamous breast mice were discussed ago. The difference was, this practitioner decided to take a “peace of mind” approach & referred me for tests.

6 weeks, 2 mammograms, 2 ultra sounds, 3 fine needle biopsies & a mammotome later I have a diagnosis of DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ), described as pre-cancer cells, in the lump & another area. The spread of these cells means I am having a mastectomy & reconstruction in September. The after treatment will be decided after the removed breast tissue has been tested.

So, I have met my surgeon & have avoided the temptation to request 2 new Double D numbers! I know what to expect in September. As long as I have a plan I am fine. I will be busily preparing endless lists & filling in calendars in preparation for the family members who will be stepping in to cover my Mommy duties. My “Northern Bird” sister in law is intending to come round to devise a spreadsheet. The title of this blog entry stems from the numerous conversations we’ve had since all this started. She gets I don’t want a fuss but is concerned for me at the same time. She expresses this through taking the pee out of me!! Her approach is perfect!

Obviously a mastectomy is a big thing to have, it took me a while to learn how to spell it properly. It’s a big thing to have, both psychologically & physically. However, I am grateful it has been diagnosed now rather than further down the line when it could have been a lot more than pre-cancer cells. I only have a tiny idea of how someone would feel if being given a  true diagnosis of cancer. Whilst this is still a possibility, it should only be a small one. What will be will be.

The reason I am writing this is a) to save myself needing to send numerous texts to let people know or ruin completely pleasant conversations and b) to raise awareness. It was the someone starting a trend to raise awareness that has brought me on this path. I also want to say to people not to be afraid to question the professionals. I questioned mine, but I should have done it a lot sooner.  If I had not gone back to the doctors for a further explanation……well you can imagine the what ifs & maybes. I want my story to be a reminder to others both male & female to check all your lumps! If you have something suspicious, make sure you are thoroughly checked & examined. It’s better to make a nuisance of yourself & be safe, rather than sorry.

In the meantime, I have a good few weeks to fit in work, holiday & fun with my boys. After the op I will have plenty of recovery time.  I will need to ensure I relax, which isn’t my strongest assett. Guess what I’ll be doing, other than hospital trips, sleeping etc, to fill my time……

………………………….CRAFTING!! Yay!

So, nothing more to see here. What are you waiting for? Off you go…go check yourself right now!!

Guest Blog: What is strength?

Last year my lovely friend Emily wrote a Guest Blog. Today she sent me an email with what you’re about to read, and asked if I wanted to share it.  I couldn’t be more proud to share it with you all, and honoured that Em asked me to post it.

Lots of love to Emily – and Finlay. xx

What is strength?

An odd subject for a blog I grant you, but an issue that has been buzzing around my head just lately – begging to be addressed.  So here we go…

I like to think I am a fairly strong person.  Before children, when I was young, carefree and drinking wine with my work colleagues in various London bars, I used to think of strength as just physical.  Can I lift that heavy box?  Of course.  Can I re-arrange a conference room, moving various chairs and tables? Hell yes!  Can I renovate a dilapidated house, stripping wallpaper and knocking down walls?  No problemo!

Strength was measured by exertion.  My working hours were long, my social life packed.  I thought I was busy.  And then I had kids…

A 28 hour labour will make you reassess strength.  Now I discovered that any physical tiredness I once felt before kids was nothing compared to the intense toil of motherhood.  Sleepless nights, sore leaky boobs, the drain of the emotion that comes with being a mum. And the worry!  How many situations of impending doom can one person imagine?  What if he falls out of the open car window as we are driving along.  Hang on, have I even put him in the car?  What if a dog attacks him when we are at the local park?  And on, and on.  Endlessly.  Now strength was measured mentally.  Emotionally.  Could I get through another day without sobbing at a really intense episode of Bob the Builder?  Unlikely.  Sometimes Bob’s deadlines are really cutting it fine!

Life with children is fun, full and hectic!  Soft-play centres are my new drinking establishments of choice (often tea and a biscuit).  Football on a Sunday my new overtime.  My strength comes from my children, shuttling them to various activities, seeing them have a good time.  Life is pretty great.

But this last year has tested my strength even more.  Just twelve short months ago, a very close friend was dealt the most devastating of news.  Her gorgeous little boy, Finlay was diagnosed with a Grade 4 Glioblastoma Brain Tumour.  Fin has gone through brain surgery twice, has endured chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a clinical trial.  He is about to embark on a second round of gruelling radiotherapy and he is, quite simply, my new hero.  My new definition of strength.

Because throughout this horrible journey, Fin has been truly amazing.  He is brave – overcoming his fear of cannulas; funny –  ‘Why can’t I eat white bread!?’;  and truly inspirational – he has raised over £35K including gift aid for Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Brain Tumour Research and also broken a Guinness World Record!  And still he goes to school, trains for his black belt in karate and continues to be a kind and caring little boy. Oh, and did I mention the Pride of Britain nomination?  Put simply – He rocks!

Of course, there have been dark moments.  This is hell on earth and any parent’s worst nightmare, but during this most horrific of times there have also been moments of sheer beauty – ones that will be treasured forever.  Acts of kindness, generosity and friendship that have gone above and beyond.  People are good, and I have seen that goodness in abundance.

Just recently I asked my lovely Facebook friends to donate just £1 each to try and boost Fin’s fundraising to over the £30k mark.  And I was staggered at the response.  Friends I hadn’t spoken to in years donated.  Colleagues who don’t know Fin, but who know me, digging deep, helping him to smash his target! Thank you my lovely ones – your kindness is appreciated more than you know.  And this got me thinking again about strength and what it really means.

Because ultimately, more and more, I realise that strength comes from love.  I worked hard at my career, because I loved my job.  I got through a gruelling birth and the pitfalls of parenting because I love my children.  And our love for Finlay makes him strong.  And he is loved more than he will ever know.

There is still a long way to go for Fin on his journey.  Every day brings extreme highs and lows – like the worst rollercoaster in the entire world.  Ever.  But his amazing family will continue to fight for him, because they love him.  As friends, we will continue to support them, because we love them.  And if you are reading this, you can help too.  You can #fundthefight to help find a cure for horrible brain cancer, and make sure that no other family, no other lovely children like Fin, have to prove how amazingly strong they are.

You can donate any amount to Fin’s fund here and you can follow his journey on his Facebook page.

Thank you xxx