Beauty Despite Cancer

I’ve just had my first guest blog-post published – on Beauty Despite Cancer (BDC).

There are beauty solutions available for women undergoing chemotherapy
There are beauty solutions available for women undergoing chemotherapy

Having looked at the various contributors and their stories I can honestly say I felt humbled.

So my first post focussed on my own experience of what efforts are made – charity-wise – to tackle cancer – notably in Walk The Walk and Race For Life. I intend to mention more about these fitness challenges in future blog posts on Em’s Way To Go.

A relatively simple injury has challenged my self-esteem, my image and my sense of how attractive or unattractive I am.

Cancer treatment can compromise a beauty regime
Cancer treatment can compromise a beauty regime

At my last visit to the Fracture Clinic I met a woman who couldn’t brush her own hair. Even personal grooming is compromised.

It doesn’t too much imagination, then, to realise female cancer patients face a far greater challenge in this respect.

“Women don’t stop being women when they are diagnosed with cancer,” says Jennifer Young from BDC.

The aim is to give back a sense of control
The aim is to give back a sense of control

She explains that the treatment often damages more than just the disease it’s targeting – so patients can often suffer from dry, sore, sensitive and itchy skin – and that’s why she developed the Defiant Beauty skincare range.

Research carried out in 2007 revealed many female patients reached a low point in their cancer treatment when they no longer recognised themselves in the mirror.

So, basically, Beauty Despite Cancer offers an online magazine full of practical advice for women who face a changed beauty regime because of cancer.

Giving them back a sense of control can only be a good thing.

See my profile on Beauty Despite Cancer here

And here’s the home page!

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Cleared for take-off?

I’m discharged.

X-ray from six weeks ago - fifth metatarsal fracture clearly visible
X-ray from six weeks ago – fifth metatarsal fracture clearly visible

The six weeks is over – the bone is officially healed.

I was given the news after a one-hour-45-minute wait, during which time I’d met a prison officer who’d broken his arm in two places falling downstairs at home (“my daughters help me”) and a carer who’d smashed both his elbows out walking his golden Labrador when she spooked and pulled him to the floor (“Lucy hasn’t left my side since”).

I was brushing a woman’s hair and fastening her pony-tail when I was called over  – she couldn’t reach around and neither could her mother (“C’mon, this lady here’ll do it”).

Mr Bhalla, who examined me, explained I had “good flexion”.

Long waits are inevitable at the bone clinic
Long waits are inevitable at the bone clinic

How did he know the bone was healed?

“You ran in here”.

Apparently no physiotherapy is necessary as my recovery is good – and walking will do the trick.

The shoe can come off – good news – now I just need to find some suitable ceremony for dispersing with it or maybe I could make it into some Modern Art installation?

Gettin' a groove on - but it'll be another six weeks before I can run again
Gettin’ a groove on – but it’ll be another six weeks before I can run again

What about exercise? Well, predictably, the high-impact ones, the ones that cost the least money to do – ie running and Guerrilla training – will have to wait another six weeks (“It’s three months after a fracture”).

The pay-in-advance ones – swimming, cycling, cross-training, spinning etc – they’re all fine.

Funny how getting injured didn’t automatically make me any  better-off financially to make these adjustments!

Yoga? Fine as long as I don’t stretch the foot, put all my weight on it.

Will the bone be more vulnerable? He doesn’t see any reason for arthritis.

It was good to see the original X-rays (on the computer screen) – especially with the realisation that this time the clean oblique break shown in them had healed.

Mr Bhalla explained the fracture was not near the joint and that, apparently, is “good”.

Things are changing, blossoms on the trees, the sun’s out – a contrast from the filthy coldness I contended with when first injured.

My foot’s changed too – healing happens.

Now join me as I continue towards my running goal.

Eve of the Fracture Clinic

Well – tomorrow’s the biggee!

He's smiling - will I be?
He’s smiling – will I be?

Time for my 6-week check-up at the Fracture Clinic.

Good news – I no longer hobble. Or even limp. The bone soreness is still there but the grotesque elephant-man swelling is gone. The outline of the tendons can be seen. The OAP-style bloating of the ankle has vanished too.

And I’ll be honest with you, when they said six weeks I couldn’t really envisage any improvement whatsoever.

But there has been a coming-to-terms-with-the-situation – or acceptance – and you’ll have gathered I’m a pretty impatient person.

No Love Like Shoe Love!
No love like shoe love! But when can I ditch it?

In “The Lore Of Running”, Tim Noakes, MD, says; “Finally, after some months (!), the athletes learn to accept their injuries and to modify their ambitions to accommodate the inadequacies of the mortal body.

“When this occurs, the athletes are likely to be over the injuries.” (My italics)

So is Time really the great healer?

There is still plenty of work to be done regarding this foot – very much a Work In Progress. And plenty more to go on this Blog.

The science behind a lifestyle screw-up
The science behind a lifestyle screw-up

Now I just need to know I’ve got the right questions for when I finally get to see the doctor!

  1. How can I know if the bone has healed?
  2. What physiotherapy will I need? (So far I’ve been offered nothing at all)
  3. Do I need to keep wearing the shoe?
  4. What advice on exercise? When can I start doing it again – eg – running, guerrillas, high impact.
  5. What are the chances of this injury happening again?

I just want, above all, to be treated as if this injury, small though it is, is not inconsequential.

Okay it’s not life-threatening. I can still work.

I just want some acknowledgement of the impact it’s had on my life. As if I haven’t imagined the whole thing.

The one thing I really don’t want right now is disillusionment.

Once again – watch this space.