A statistic in the NHS crisis.
Audrey Birt's blog
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1w ago
  I can hear the noise as my chest moves up and down. I look around for the cat, the phantom snorer in the house. No-not here. Then I cough and it changes, of course it’s the wheezy crackles that have been my soundtrack since Christmas. Much improved, so much so that I’m free from the hospital bed and back home. Christmas has been packed away, a new year welcomed, gifts sniffed and tried-some eaten and life has returned to a normal rhythm. Except I feel so different. I’m depleted and fragile. I feel like a two dimension of my three dimensional self.  Christmas itself was full lo ..read more
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Sending thanks for all the kindness, cheers ?
Audrey Birt's blog
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1M ago
  The experience of kindness  It’s the time of year when amongst the stress of shopping and planning and paying for Christmas, there are the lights, the music and the kindness that make midwinter exceptional. My ability to enjoy this time is dependent on my ability to balance these polarities. I started to speak about my Mum recently who died five years ago and suddenly the seal on my emotions burst and the tears came. They were tears of loss which were unsurprising but beneath that was so much more. And generally it’s packed away at the back ot the wardrobe, never to be examined ..read more
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Breast cancer is a thief…
Audrey Birt's blog
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2M ago
  The view from the cancer assessment unit above, the bonus of a trip to the oncology centre in Edinburgh!  I wrote the poem below in October which as anyone affected by breast cancer knows it the breast cancer awareness month. I tried to avoid the cliche of posting this then. As breast cancer doesn’t go away come November. It’s there all the time, even when treatment is over. Of course as time passes it fades from the forefront of your thoughts and becomes a background hum you can’t quite switch off. And the hum gets louder as new scans come around or unexpected triggers hit you ..read more
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Who dreamed of being a princess?
Audrey Birt's blog
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5M ago
 When I was a wee girl I never dreamed of being a princess. For years I wanted to be a cowboy. In particular I wanted to be a certain Cheyenne Bodie-a good guy in the main. Maybe I just thought he was big and handsome but I’m told I wouldn’t answer to anything but Cheyenne for some time. I grew out of it as you will have gathered but never wanted the princess look or life ever. Perhaps that meant I was never likely to be pro-royalty. Mostly they didn’t interest me and as a concept I believe an inherited monarchy is very outdated for our times, as well as a barrier to a fairer society. But ..read more
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Unexpected grief.
Audrey Birt's blog
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5M ago
Unexpected grief? There are occasions that catch my emotions in such an unexpected way and  I was reminded of that when Olivia Newton John died recently. Of breast cancer of course. Last time I thought of her in relation to cancer was when she told the world ( and amazingly the whole world was listening) her cancer had returned but that she was going to beat it. All the war analogies followed and I felt so let down by her.  She could instead have told of her fears, the impact of treatment, even anticipatory grief but no instead for me at least it sounded like denial. Why shou ..read more
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For the carers
Audrey Birt's blog
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6M ago
 Caring for each other I’ve taken a big step this month and I’ve got help from carers, especially to let Andrew get out without worrying. I’ve found it hard. It’s an acceptance of my situation, a dependence on others, accepting strangers in to your home and that’s just the start. There’s an emotional toll I hadn’t anticipated; a rollercoaster of trust and testing patience for me at least.  I’ve decided to have direct payments but chosen to do it through an agency so I’m not acting as an employer. I didn’t quite anticipate the scale of the task if I’m honest, I was drawn to having co ..read more
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Summer days, drifting away
Audrey Birt's blog
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6M ago
  Summer days drifting away  When I did grief counselling it was striking that the bereaved often found summer worse than winter, when adapting to losing their loved one. Winter allows us to coorie in at home, the rest of the world closed off from our experience. But summer rubs your nose in the pain. Postcards from another world, of families, intact and making memories. The grieving sit alone, an acute longing separating them from how summer used to be.  I recognise that feeling as my summer moves slowly. Bereft of holidays or breaks from the relentless slog of chemotherapy ..read more
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I love spring….
Audrey Birt's blog
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9M ago
 I love spring.  The hopefulness, the renewal of life, the colours, the surge of energy that even we humans can feel, leads to a sense of optimism. To be honest I’m in need of optimism when it seems my spring and summer is likely to be consumed by further treatment for breast cancer, while adjusting to new drugs for rheumatoid arthritis. A powerful cocktail but not the kind you would order for fun. There’s no jaunty umbrella, frozen fruit or champagne in this one. I’m trying to arrange things to look forward to but it’s hard to know what might be possible and when.  So ..read more
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Fifty shades of yellow….
Audrey Birt's blog
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10M ago
  Surgery number two is done. The wound is 50 shades of yellow - pause to take arnica-and healing normally in-spite of its raw red reminder of what’s passed. But with surgery for breast cancer I find, it’s the recovery from the anaesthetic that challenges me. And this time it’s two anaesthetics in just six weeks and don’t I know it. I’m on day 8 of a headache, treatment for a sinus infection, nose bleeds and wabbit on a grand scale.  A fabulous Mother’s Day lunch in the garden was great fun and the family really made me ( and their Dad) feel loved. The sun and signs of spring hav ..read more
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Wabbit and crabbit…
Audrey Birt's blog
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11M ago
  Recently our grandson had to come home from nursery early. He’d had vaccinations and h temperature was up. He announced as he walked back in the door….”I’m ok, I’m just a wee bit wabbit.” My heart melted with this announcement. Partly because wabbit spoke to how I feel too -the perfect word. As well as delight at his use of the Scot’s word. It was the reminder too of how Scots permeates our day to day language and how uplifting ( and very cute) it was to hear him use it. We’re a land of many languages- reflecting the many influences on our island nation. He may even learn Gaelic in ..read more
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