The Michael Blake Foundation

In keeping with Oesophageal Cancer Awareness month I have been reminded by a family member that The Michael Blake Foundation’s website is worth visiting. Like so many charities this foundation was set up following the loss of a family member.

Sadly it is not until we experience a specific illness personally that we realise just how little support and information is available and all credit to those that then turn their own dificult situation into doing something really productive and help others.

Having worked within the not-for-profit sector for many years I have seen how little charities are doing really useful work in their local communities.  Their website is: should you wish to donate, volunteer or in need of advice.




Oesophageal Cancer Awareness

Regular followers will know one of the cancers I like to raise awareness for is Oesophageal Cancer which is so readily mis-diagnosed or left undiagnosed. Too readily people reach for indigestion remedies which as we know often just mask symptoms rather than cure them.

If you are having repeatedly problems do not self-diagnose but go and see your GP and where necessary insist on being referred to a G.I. expert. There are so many treatments and procedures that specialists can offer before your problem perhaps turns into something more sinister.

Please visit the Oesophageal Patients Association’s website:-

Xmas Tree Festival

St Saviour’s Tree Festival is in full swing. I visited Sunday to see all the amazing trees decorated and sponsored by local charities and organisations.

This year there are two lovely memory trees where one can add a message in memory of a loved one lost. As we know it is a times like Christmas when we may be missing and remembering somebody we have lost this year. As I often post bereavement is not an overnight process and for those mourning the pressure to feel happy and festive can be overwhelming. For those who may have nursed a loved one with cancer the bereavement journey can be a complicated one with delayed grief mixed with feelings of relief that a loved one is no longer suffering.

Breast Cancer Awareness

My regular and lovely followers know that I like to help charities and causes with awareness and October as we know is breast awareness month. Today is, I am told,  ‘wear it pink‘ day for the Breast Cancer Now charity. I hear and I obey and I am suitably attired in pink.

For my own family we are very ‘aware’ of breast cancer having lost my maternal Nan and Aunt to this particular cancer and had my own scares. I will say however, that for all of us, every week, month should and must be breast cancer aware and regular examination is crucial – as with many types of cancer the earlier we discover anything untoward the better chance we have of maybe beating the odds.

For anyone caring for a loved one with any type of cancer ensure you get any support that is available for both your loved one and yourself.

Make the most of everyday and make it count.

Coping with grief?

The title of my blog today many would say is a contradiction in terms, and, of course it is. The British way is to appear to cope when really the journey through bereavment is a struggle and supressing those feelings only adds to the pain.

For those who may have nursed a loved one through cancer, to a certain degree the bereavement process has already started as we see our loved ones slip away.

As I frequently write we keep our loved ones alive in our heart and our mind and the TV Dr Hilary on the Lorraine programme echoed that fact today. He also agreed how it is far better to let our grief out and share and talk about our feelings.

My own personal experiences have made me determined to talk to the bereaved rather than avoid them or talking about their loss. As always it is kinder to give them the opportunity to talk, cry and realise you probably won’t have the right words. However, listening and checking they are OK is a start…and not just the week of the funeral it is the weeks, months and even years that they need your friendship and continued support.

Nobody copes…we may feel anger, sad, guilt, depressed along with a whole host of feelings which are beyond our control hour by hour in those initial weeks..but coping probably isn’t one of them.

There are of course great support charities around and steering somebody towards them and/or a counsellor if appropriate would be the act of a true friend.

Oesophageal Cancer -OPA

My regular followers will know there are a few cancer charities and conditions that I like to support with awareness. Oesophageal Cancer is one which is dear to my own heart.

In the past I was happy to donate my own story to the OPA -Oesophageal Patients Association and continue to help with awareness. Anybody that has worked within the not-for-profit sector and/or medical and health environments know the value of awareness and of course research.

The OPA now have various support groups and their website is well-worth visiting both as a patient and/or a carer of supportive family member.

Sadly Oesophageal cancers are often either misdiagnosed or not diagnosed. Also far too many of us self-diagnose what we believe to be ‘indigestion’ and reach for the well advertised remedies. This was the case with my own mother who did not receive the right treatment in time but certainly took a lot of ‘remedies’ encouraged by her GP!

As today’s blog is ‘listening themed’ listen to your body it is trying to tell you what is wrong; emotionally and physically which are of course more often than not inter-linked. Find out why it is reacting the way it is; diet…stress..or medical? Masking symptoms may be a short term fix but becomes the longer term problem.

Our digestive system is of course similar to our brain..rubbish in rubbish out! Seriously, if you are looking for a good book  and ways to be kinder to your own system:

The clever guts diet’  by Dr Mosley is an informative and interesting read.

Be slowly.

Closing comment Yes chocolate (with dark and high cocoa content) is good for you.