Achieving and believing

I have to start this post with a confession; my confidence has been knocked. Since the hospital stay over New Year I’ve been feeling pretty down, and for the first two weeks of 2012 have found myself looking at Tom and welling up.

Still feeling weak as I recovered from a mystery virus, I spent most of my days in bed watching Six Feet Under, a programme where every episode begins with a death. It might not seem the best box set to be working my way through in my current state of mind, but I was hooked. Yet however entertaining it might be, it was hardly an occupation that made me feel I was achieving anything with my life.

The sadness would creep over me as soon as I woke. Every morning I ask myself how I feel, and these mornings were all filled with the same answers; weak, a bit sick and thoroughly pissed off.

I clearly needed to rest, but my mind was railing against what my body was telling me to do. I wanted to clean the flat, to be able to cook for Tom, to meet friends for coffee, to have the energy to do some yoga. I wanted my appetite back. Even the simplest task of cleaning the kitchen was too great for me.

I wasn’t eating well, I hadn’t been drinking my Chinese tea, the green shit sat untouched on the table, and I found myself falling asleep during every meditation. I felt disconnected from the world and unable to reply to all my emails and texts. I didn’t want to write a new post on the blog and I didn’t want any visitors.

I was overcome by guilt at what I perceived as being a failure to keep the faith and couldn’t see a way out of it. Well this is it, isn’t it? I thought. My life from now on would be an endless cycle of treatment after treatment; a treadmill of hospitals, needles and never being able to promise I can make a social commitment in fear that that day will be an ‘off day.’

I knew I needed to do something to get myself out of this rut so I booked in for EFT with Emma. An EFT session is similar to a session with a psychologist in many ways, but I’ve found that most of the psychologists I’ve seen tend to err on the side of pessimism.

One recently suggested that I was trying to mend a certain relationship because I had a ‘limited amount of time left.’ It may have been a casual, throwaway comment, but I picked her up on it and it stuck with me – she thinks I’m going to die soon.

With Emma it’s entirely different. She challenged my negative outlook and reminded me that my future is far from written. The problem was that the knock I’d taken by being hospitalised over New Year had made me forget that I can beat this. The aim is to beat the stats, not be a victim of them.

Emma told me a few home truths I think many of us forget. We can often be our own harshest judges. She asked me whether, If the roles were reversed and Tom was sat on the sofa after a chemo, I would be leaving him a ‘to do’ list; to clean the kitchen, do a food shop. Of course not, yet I was expecting it of myself.

“Have you always been a high achiever?” Emma asked me. I’d never really thought about it, but I suppose that I am proud of what I’ve achieved in my profession. I’d known what I’d wanted to do since I was fifteen and pretty much dedicated my life to my career.

In some ways I’m glad I was so determined; being a broadcast journalist is a brilliant job and fantastically rewarding. I was working for national channels by the time I was 25 and had done it the hard way, starting out in local radio.

But the hours are long and your life gets overtaken by the job. It was all about my career and looking back I led an unhealthy life. Fourteen hour days, six or seven-day weeks, grabbing any old ready meal, accompanied by a glass of wine most nights. Unfortunately, it took cancer to stop me in my tracks.

Emma and I talked about achievement. What did I think I’d achieved most in my life? I was glad I’d done well in my career but that wasn’t what I treasured and was most proud of. I consider my strong relationship with Tom and the amazing group of friends I have to be my biggest achievements. I’m never going to look back from my deathbed and think, ‘If only I’d done the washing up that time when I’d just had chemo.’

As Emma pointed out, some would consider a high achiever to be someone who sets out to achieve the impossible, who tries to win even when the odds are stacked against them. Today, I’m feeling well and positive again, having just returned from a lovely Sunday lunch with friends who made me laugh and forget all the bullshit for an afternoon. I’m typing with Tom by my side reading a three-week-old Observer and I feel I can be that high achiever again. But my project isn’t a clean flat or cooking dinner for Tom every night, my project is to beat this disease – and that will be my greatest achievement yet.

p.s. Tom would like to point out that cooking dinner for him every night is a very valid achievement and that the Observer was only two weeks old.

p.p.s  I wouldn’t usually use the blog for something like this but it’s my blog so sod it!  One of my best friends and one of the nicest people I’ve ever met is running the Brighton Marathon in April for Cancer Research UK.  Matthew has accompanied me to many of my chemo treatments and has thus seen first hand what it’s like to be a cancer patient.  I think for that reason he decided to set himself this massive challenge and raise money for a charity that will hopefully one day be responsible for a cure for this hideous disease.  This is no mean feat as Matt hadn’t even been on a run before he started training for the marathon.  Please give if you can.

http://www.justgiving.com/MatthewMiles1

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63 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jojo
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 17:19:41

    Lovely post, Ellie. Easy to hold yourself up to impossible standards. I think there’s a lot for all of us to take away from this. x

    Reply

  2. Linda Ann McCrea
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 17:34:59

    Hi Ellie,
    That was a stirring and emotional but delightful blog .So very understandable. People who are well cannot be positive all of the time let alone precious people like you Ellie, who are fighting with the wind in your face .
    I genuninely wish you and Tom a bright ,happy healthy future together and of course that this disease will go away not just into remission, but stay away forever .
    I really hope your greatest & most momentuous achievement yet is beating this invading illness. God bless you as fight this like a warrior. Of course it must be exhausting trying to read into the future & hold on to positivity all of the time .
    I, as a nurse applaud and admire you sooo, so much. You have had much to deal with as a very young lady .I know when you are cured that you will write a book of memoirs to help fellow sufferers.My tentative suggestion is :- a book to guide nursing and medical students understand cancer patients` needs more astutely. I imagine you have been at receiving end of some great care, but also some dire care and dire attitudes !
    Lots of love &prayers this way.
    Linda :Belfast N.Ireland

    Reply

  3. Gemma
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 17:36:57

    Keep your chin up Ellie – You Go Girl you are a TRUE inspriation xx

    Reply

  4. Elizabeth
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 17:38:11

    I’m sure very many people would be consumed by morbid thoughts most of the time if they were dealing with what you’re dealing with. You do incredibly well to stay positive for most of the time, and are admired by many for that. But it is entirely understandable that you will sometimes feel like the mountain you’re climbing is just too steep. I and countless others, wish you the strength and hope to carry on fighting. xx

    Reply

  5. Chloe Greene
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 17:39:47

    So glad to see this post Ellie. I always learn so much from reading you about what really matters.
    You are achieving so much by being a fighter and inspiring so many people.
    Sod the dishes.
    Hug Tom and be gentle on yourself beautiful Ellie.
    And I live in Brighton and will sponsor Matthew.

    Reply

  6. Nicola
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 17:41:20

    Ellie,
    Just read this. I think that all of these feelings are perfectly normal and valid. I think that when we all feel ill or sick, we are battling with the fact that we ‘should’ or ‘could’ be doing something, anything and we can’t because we are in bed ill. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling like that. Heck, I’m making myself feel guilty because I have a day off work and ‘should’ or ‘could’ be tidying, making food, or any number of any other things, but I’m not. I’m sitting here doing nowt! I feel bad for it too. But I’m forcing myself not to. I’m going to just sit and appreciate that I have a day off and I’m alive! I am so mad at the psychologist. How dare she suggest anything like that. How the heck does she know anything? It’s your life and it’s your future and she has no right to suggest anything else. You made me laugh when Tom chipped in about making him meals every night. Men and their stomachs haha. Anyway I’ve written far too much. You’re doing great! :-) Lots of love to you.

    Reply

  7. Marianna
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 17:46:06

    I second everything Elizabeth said. Looking forward to hearing from you soon……
    Marianna x

    Reply

  8. Ann Newman
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 17:47:53

    Good grief Ellie, you of all people are allowed to have a bit of ‘down’ time now and again and no one but you is more adept at fighting your way out of it. As we are continually saying, you are an inspiration to us all, whether we are ill or not. If only half of us who are fit had your type of gumption we would help ourselves no end, but the strength you have with what you are going through gives us all a kick up the back side and tells us to stop moaning. Love and best wishes to you and keep fighting that c. devil. x

    Reply

  9. Mel kingdom
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 18:02:33

    Hey

    I just wanted to say Hi and thanks for the latest blog. It seems to arrive whenever I need a good ole kick up the bracket. Today’s moan (and luckily fwas my poor teaching skills, trying to get my eldest to ride a bike and he kept running over my feet (wearing new Uggs – gah!)

    Keep up the fighting spirit Ellie, you are a true inspiration to so many, but on a personal level an example of the type of person I aspire to be (hope that’s not to stalkery :-D)

    You did mention your friend Matt and on that note, I am doing my first half marathon in June and would be honoured if I could run for a charity of your choice.

    Anyhoo, take care, sending lots of positive vibes your way!

    Mel

    Reply

  10. Fee
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 19:24:18

    Hi.Have been reading your blog since it appeared in the Daily Mail. Am so glad you are feeling better so you can achieve your dreams. You are a brave and inspirational person. Love and best wishes,

    Fee

    Reply

  11. DEBORAH MORGAN-SMITH...........Surrey
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 19:29:59

    Dear Ellie
    I have been beating cancer for 9yrs now and recognises EVERY feeling you have been experiencing since your hospital stay. After all these years, my memories of hospital stays haunt me still, probably because they are places outside our comfort zone, where scary things happen and where we have little control. I think that a lot of cancer people suffer from a mild form of Post Traumatic Stress after every hospital stay! Nobody expects you to be anything other than selfish, self- obsessed, self centred, ALL the time right now. It doesn’t get more OK than this for anyone to do/not do what they want, when they want. You are fighting the hardest battle that exists and it takes every ounce of energy to do so. And, importantly, it can only be done YOUR way, there is no blue print and each person’s cancer fight is different, and tailor made by them. Nothing else should take priority. You just need to give yourself permission to go a.w.o.l for a while from the menial demands of everyday life. Besides, the people around you who love you so much need to have things to do to distract them from what they are watching you go through.
    The counselling is necessary…very. You need it, you are going through a hell of a time.
    I hope that there continue to be many responses to your latest blog entry Ellie because the energy the comments generate will hopefully lift your spirit.
    Always in my prayers. God Bless xx

    Reply

  12. Fran
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 20:23:44

    Before cancer I saw a girl who wasn’t chasing a dream, but catching it. Yes, this is a BIG dream, so just make you’re carrying a BIGGER net!

    Reply

  13. Gary
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 20:30:02

    Great post Ellie, thinking of you alway. Stay strong and kick ass girl. YOU CAN DO IT. X

    Reply

  14. Helen Foulds
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 20:31:57

    Its fair to say I’ve missed you the last few weeks and I’m sorry to hear you’ve been feeling down. Keep listening to Emma! She’s totally right you’ve got lots of achievements in the future to look forward to. Good luck to Matthew in the marathon, it’s a good course so I’m sure he’ll enjoy it and I’ll pop onto his page later to sponsor him xxxxx much love to you and Tom x

    Reply

  15. Claudia
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 20:36:57

    Ellie remember to be kind to yourself whilst you remain that high achiever! The biggest barriers to overcome are usually the ones we build in our mind. Stay strong and focused because simply put, “you can do anything you put your mind to”.X

    Reply

  16. tracie carter
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 20:46:44

    Ellie, I have missed your posts, think about you everyday and send you good thoughts. Ellie if you had your leg cut off yesterday would be wondering why you could not run a marathon today? Of course not, even you are allowed a break! Come on, you are on the home run, you need to stay positive, you need to believe and achieve. You have come too far and more to the point you have inspired us all. So like a trainer, when someone is flagging we give them encouragement, we will all be like your trainer and root for you and get you over this sticky patch. Come on Girl – forgive yourself, love yourself, tell yourself everyday that your body is healing itself, tell yourself that you are on your way back to perfect health and keep visualising it. Come On You Can do it. Hugs to you…….(I know its easy for me to type these words I don’t think I could inspire people the way you have) but you are so special – I emailed you before, but I have a beautiful log cabin in the grounds of my home (but in its own private secluded grounds awa) set within a lakside setting and woodlands, if you and tom would like to use it as a secret get away, its also about 20 mins from the hospital you only have to let me know and I will send you pictures to view your welcome to have it for your use and have an all expenses break for the two of you.

    Reply

  17. fiona simpson
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 21:11:50

    Hi Ellie

    Was wondering how you were in the absence of your blog. So sorry that things took a dip, but Emma is right. You are allowed “down” time. Who Isn’t. What I admire about you is that you are selfless. Despite the upset and downs and The trails and tribulations that you encounter, you don’t think of Ellie…. Maybe its time you do. I don’t know you from Adam, but if every person out there thinks with the positiviity you do, this place would be a lot better off.

    Leave the dishes and the cleaning and give Tom a massive hug, I hope and pray you continue to fight this awful disease . (my father in law, at the age of 85 hast just been diagnosed with bowel cancer.. he is a fighter even in his latter years so you go girl).

    Love and beat wishes, Fiona (northern Ireland)

    Reply

  18. julia knowles
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 21:27:55

    Ellie, it’s great to hear that you’re feeling more positive it sounds as though Emma was just the light that you needed.
    I will be delighted to sponsor Matthew, good luck to him. I cycled 26 miles yesterday (it nearly killed me) & i thought then, how the hell can anyone run this far?
    keep smiling,
    lots of love to you & Tom
    xx

    Reply

  19. lorly
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 21:43:39

    ah ellie, setbacks make the way for comebacks, and I may sound like an American self help guru saying that but it is true :-)
    You have more fight and determination than a huge percentage of the population, and you just keep getting back up and fighting, and dragging everyone along with you, because we all care and always check the blog for your posts,
    Your hospital stay would knock anyone off their feet, so give yourself a break and give yourself permission to chillax a bit, that is as important as the Chinese tea and smoothies and all the other good stuff you are pouring into your body, and as a journalist who has achieved what you have, you are still achieving in your career, aswell as fighting this pain in the arse cancer, because your blog is read and followed and commented on by so many,
    You have a perspective that not many people are blessed with, and you value things and manage to connect with people so easily, that they are all rooting for you, me included, and the thing is, all this positive energy coming your way is doing you good, in so many ways I am sure of it, anyway I’m sending you a massive hug and loads of good wishes,
    I even had a Rocky Road with you in mind yesterday, it was not as good as the Starbucks ones tho :-),
    all the good wishes in the world,
    Lorly
    xxx

    Reply

  20. Mrs Smiles
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 22:39:57

    Ellie – you are so right. This IS your biggest challenge yet. 99% of people ‘fall into’ a profession, yet you fought to do what you wanted. Statistics are to console the weak. And please don’t ever think your ready meals and wine are anything to feel guilty about: there are plenty of heroin addicts out there enjoying rude health. You’re in my thoughts.

    Reply

  21. Suzanne Wishart
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 23:47:14

    Hi Ellie

    Keep the faith. You will beat this! There are perks to chemo-you can wear nothing but pjs for days and not feel guilty! I know I do.

    Regards
    Suzanne

    Reply

  22. Jules Hume
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 23:59:24

    Brilliant and insightful post Ellie….stay strong mrs

    Jules xxx

    Reply

  23. mary
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 00:16:33

    Ellie, reading your blog I know how this story ends. You are going to beat your cancer and you will be dancing on your 80th birthday with your wonderful husband, and all your children and grandchildren will hear about the time so long ago that you beat this disease. It will be a distant memory. It’s your fate to beat this, and you will. It cannot be otherwise.

    I don’t know you but I admire the hell out of you for your honesty, insight, and humour. I so look forward to following you on your path to recovery, and to hearing about the life you will continue to lead in the future. To your very good health and to a magical 2012 for you and the people who love you.

    Reply

  24. Susie Kroon
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 04:31:19

    Hi! I live in Colombo. I pray for you everyday, and I’m believing and trusting in the Lord for a miracle of healing for you. Please think positively, I know it’s a hard thing to do right now. I lost my mum to lung cancer, twenty years ago. Please be strong, when you get up every morning, say aloud ‘ I am going to enjoy this day!’. As I am a Christian, when I’m sick I claim the Scriptures of healing out aloud. Do take care and God Bless!

    Reply

  25. Lisa Facey
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 10:43:53

    Oh Ellie, you’re allowed to feel like this now and again, don’t be so hard on yourself. Glad you didn’t go down the spiral though and you picked yourself back up as soon as you could. You’re a fighter and a winner Ellie, nothing will keep you down for long, and if the dishes pile up, throw them and get some new ones, they’re only dishes…..

    Reply

  26. Laura S
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 11:27:16

    Hi Ellie
    I think given what you went through at New Year it’s only understandable that it knocked you, what is impressive is that in the space of two weeks you have addressed it, assessed it and given yourself a talking to and re-ordered your life! You weren’t wrong when you said you were a high achiever!
    You have also helped me to reassess my attitude towards the washing up…….

    Reply

  27. laura
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 11:38:40

    You can do it… you’ve already proved your body well by your WBC … Keep going… I’ve sponsored Matt, x laura And Boys

    Reply

  28. ladyleftfieldlover
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 11:42:23

    It’s wonderful that you’re smiling again and you have so much to look forward to this year!

    Reply

  29. Michaela
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 12:01:00

    Happy New Year! I hope it’s a good one for you. I just wanted to say a big thank you to you for having the courage to fight this horrible disease and write this blog. I too had a shitty start to the year (tumour has decided to take off from my lungs like a rebellious teenager and start a rave in my liver now) but reading your blog has helped pull me out of my melancholy & get ready to fight again with new treatment.
    Thanks again.
    Big hugs
    Michaela
    xxx
    PS I am also on mistletoe treatment now & it makes me feel a million times stronger & healthier. I’m not claiming it as a cure but it is fabulous for improving sleep, appetite, energy levels etc & as an added bonus it helps you tolerate other meds e.g chemo much better (& keeps white cell counts up) It’s not woo science rubbish & is being properly researched as we speak.
    Feel free to check it out at
    http://www.mistletoeforcancer.org.uk/

    Reply

  30. Philippa
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 12:30:33

    Ellie, I have also been reading your blog since it was featured in the Daily Mail and I have wanted to say this to you for a while: Please don’t ever feel guilty about your feelings, or feel like feeling down is “giving up” or the equivalent of a “negative attitude”. You are entitled to feel however you feel, whenever you feel that way, and I hope that there are people there for you (like Tom?) who can listen to you and provide support no matter how low you are feeling. Your resilience is amazing but I also feel like sometimes there is a pressure on sick people, especially people with cancer, to always be upbeat, reframe things into the positive, etc. It is natural to feel miserable when you feel like your body is betraying you and you are going into hospital/ getting injections frequently. Although I don’t have cancer, I have had an autoimmune disorder since I was a child that has at times required hospital stays/ frequent injections and has made me feel like my body is betraying me, and so I know this. I think it is very healthy to be able to express those negative feelings, and it’s good to have people around you who are willing to sit with you and be a good support while you’re feeling that way.

    Anyway, Ellie, it sounds already like your mood is gradually becoming more positive again and I hope that trend continues. :) Also as someone else said – please don’t feel guilty about your former fast-paced lifestyle or current struggles to consume all that tea/ green stuff – life is just random and unfair and like another person said there are lots of people out there who abuse their bodies terribly yet have perfect health.

    I am often thinking of you and I wish you all the best. I hope that your treatment works well.

    xxx

    Reply

  31. Laura Selway
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 14:15:23

    Hi Ellie. Let me start by saying I am not a reader of blogs, let alone someone who leaves comments on blogs! I join blogs of friends or friends of friends to show willing and read the odd post every now and again when I feel guilty that I haven’t been. I have my own blog because, as a writer, I think i should but even that just happily languishes away in my favourites bar! I joined your blog right at the start to show support for a family member of a friend, your cousin Hannah. Again, if I’m honest, i never really intended to avidly read your blog however, after seeing your post about the church in Norfolk, I have been hooked. I love seeing the emails that tell me there is a new post on here, it’s like getting a letter when you don’t recognise the writing on the envelope. 2011 was an eventful year for me and my family, with many tough challenges and undoubtedly the worst night of my life. I have found you blog a real inspiration through this time, reminding me to think positively and face things head on. Above all, I love the way you say it how it is, you are a person facing adversity with hope who falters along the way but ultimately is determined to succeed, it’s a good lesson for all of us! Thanks for this post, it had me in tears but reflects really well how your blog, and attitude, has helped me and undoubtedly others to see through the fog and keep a positive outlook when all else around us is falling apart.

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  32. Mojo
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 14:46:43

    Hi Ellie
    I must say, you have been heavily on my mind the last few days and I’ve been checking on your blog to see if id missed a post from you ! I was so relieved to get that email alert!
    Echoing everyone else’s comments and sending you love, hugs and strength. Remember “the strongest steel goes through the hottest fire” and you are a truley inspirational woman who will beat this crap and we all believe in you.

    Chin up chicken xxx

    Mo x

    Reply

  33. Louise
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 16:19:29

    I felt like that during chemo & was so angry that I didn’t have the energy to clean or wash up. I’m glad you are feeling better I hope you’re getting your appetite back x

    Reply

  34. Asha
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 16:34:45

    Thanks for sharing your feelings really brave,always you are in my prayers.
    Keep strong may God bless xx

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  35. Dave Hollingdale
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 17:47:04

    good afternoon Young Ellie. This blog of your shows all your moodswings and the underlying feature of all your writings is the honesty and truthful emotions you express in your writing.
    You my friend is the only person that knows what you are going through the rest of us can only imagine and sympathise with your situation but I can tell you from my angle I have always detected adegree of much positiveness in your thinking at ALL times. This demonstrates that you will continue to fight on and achieve as you always have done. You have been andwill continue to be an achiever Ellie cos wel it is the only way you know isn’t it.Your Emma seems to sum things up succinctly and from this priviledged reader I follow with much admiration and I have you in my thoughts.

    Take Care Dave

    Reply

  36. Julie E
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 18:40:08

    How spooky was thinking about your blog today and wondering how you were doing. Do whatever you need to do whenever. I know chemo and radiotherapy made me so tired and 2 years down the line still feel great fatigue……… and general ******* (insert expletive of choice) about the whole breast cancer thing! Take care and sending you positive thoughts.

    Reply

  37. Joan Zia
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 21:53:32

    Dear friend, you are brave brave brave! You are so greatly loved by so many people… Glad you met a helpful “councellor”, who inspires you… (actually its YOU who inspire us !!!)
    Lots of prayers and love always…God bless..
    Joan xxxxxxx

    Reply

  38. Isabelle
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 21:55:47

    Dear Ellie,
    Today after weeks of procrastination I went to the breast care centre to get look at as I had found a lump and was concerned. Fortunately it wasn’t something serious but I am glad I did. I have had thyroid problems for nearly 10 years now and I ferquently get through these phases that you describe, when I hate myself for not hoovering the lounge… I am glad you found the support you needed with friends, Tom and Emma. She sounds like a terrific lady and I wish there were more people like her around. I had counselling (that I had to pay for) when I had PTSD after the birth of my daughter and it was totally useless. Psychological support is really such a big part of the recovery process, I hope it gets some more funding and focus soon.
    Thinking of you every day and wearing my best Pink Tshirt every Dress Down Friday to collect funds for Cancer Reasearch UK at the office!

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  39. Jan
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 22:16:25

    Hi Ellie,

    Just thought I would add my four penny’s worth ‘strange saying?’ Anyway, have been out of the country for a few days , and like many of the others on here, I was looking out for your latest Blog . and listen missus, we all dont give a flying fig if you choose to use this blog for a good old moan, use us as a sounding board to get things off your chest , if it helps . Your therapist sounds like she knows her stuff, and is helping you through this blip… keep going we are all with you . am sending as many positive vibes as I can..love to you and your Tom
    Jan xxx

    Reply

  40. Elisa
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 23:00:59

    I like Emma! and I’m writing down her words for all the times I can’t manage to be the ‘perfect wife’. thank you for sharing her words and thoughts, it was like a group session. (I wonder if she will charge you more for that!) EFT=Ellie Finds Treatment!! ps:does tom have a brother or, better, a clone? (let’s not tell my dear husband about it). elisa

    Reply

  41. Elisa
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 23:09:46

    Pps (I hope it’s allowed) if you should ever need tvmovies to get addicted to, other than 6 feet under, I suggest: the big bang theory (it’s a good laugh) or downton abbey (and the outside world will magically disappear!). elisa

    Reply

  42. Nichola Munro
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 23:15:43

    Hi Ellie,
    I was in the year above you at Senior school and I first heard about your illness in the Daily Mail, and tonight I have just come across your blog. It’s hard to know what to say but I just wanted to tell you, you are inspirational and I wanted to wish you well on your journey back to good health. Reading your blog puts a lot of my worries into perspective. I wish you health and happiness for the future.
    Best wishes
    Nichola xxx

    Reply

  43. Michelle Dyer
    Jan 18, 2012 @ 00:22:16

    You are a rock, a beautiful rock, stay strong and determined not to let anything beat you. I love your strength and determination – never ever crumble!

    Reply

  44. Nicola
    Jan 18, 2012 @ 10:42:39

    Dear Ellie

    I’ve been following you and was so pleased to see you doing so well before this blip.

    I’ve just got home after being in hospital for several days with neutropenic sepsis and also had to face all those dreaded needles with only the back of my hand for access and medical staff who refuse to believe how crappy my veins are and inflict unnecessary and pointless pain. It was a struggle at times to be treated as an intelligent, sentient, human being, never mind an expert patient. I too had all those fears of this is it: it’s going to be stay after stay in hospital etc… My life is changing.

    Hospitals are such drab, depressing environments with hopeless food (at least mine was and my hosp has no specialist oncology ward either) which adds to all the stress and anxiety when you know that what your body needs is healthy, nutritious food. I too am very fastidious about my diet – no meat, no dairy, nothing processed, masses of veg, pulses, wholegrains and of course juicing and basically had to rely a lot on my partner to bring in food for me.

    But now you’re home, which is in itself brilliant. And you’re starting to feel better – again brilliant! – and you can gradually get back on track and rebuild your physical and mental strength. And such is the psychology of illness, that once you’re feeling better, you won’t be able to imagine being ill again and all your spirit, determination and optimism will return.

    I’m sending you lots of positive vibes, Ellie. Vrooooooooooom. There they go.

    All my best wishes

    Nicola

    Reply

  45. Kelly
    Jan 18, 2012 @ 11:01:56

    Hi Ellie

    You are an achiever.
    I know many people who don’t come to work each day cos they can’t be arsed to get out of bed despite there being nothing at all wrong with them.
    You’re a fighter, you’re already winning and ahead in the battle.
    If you were not you’d already have laid down and given up.
    It’s hard to fight the demons that sit on our shoulders. My proudest achievement is my son, battling years of IVF to have him. However having lost my Dad to an accident when I was 4, I am now suffering crippling panic attacks and anxiety over the idea of something happening to me and me being taken away from him. I shout at myself in my head sometimes “get a f***ing grip woman”!!!
    Get so angry with myself when I can’t seem to shift the worries.
    You sound like you are doing a fabulous job of that – being pro-active in speaking to people who can help you, which is the most important thing to do when those fears and doubts grip you. You are very lucky to have found a therapist you can talk to and who challenges your thinking. Some are so rubbish! Like anything, have to sort your way through to find the best ones.
    Keep going. And, if some days you don’t want to wash up but stay in bed and watch tv, DO! To quote Madonna lyrics “If it makes you feel good, I say do it”. If it makes you feel good, it’s positive and that’s how you battle and fight on. Sod the washing up!! Lots of love, prayers, strength, stars and courage. Keep going Girl!!

    Reply

  46. makemeadiva
    Jan 18, 2012 @ 21:58:25

    hello Ellie, I’ve been reading since last year and I continue sending positive thoughts your way. I saw WordPress had launched a new blog theme and I thought you might be interested when you are feeling up to it. http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2012/01/12/wedding-theme/

    Makes me wish I had someone to marry!

    All the best wishes in the world x

    Reply

  47. Julian
    Jan 19, 2012 @ 11:40:20

    Ellie, you are allowed to feel “down” when you are ill. I think it is a natural part of illness. I know in my recent stay in hospital I ended up in tears one morning in bed whilst listening to a particular piece of music (and as a man, I normally don’t do crying). Guess what the first piece of music was over the headphones when I slid into the MRI scanner later that day? It is quite difficult to hold still for the scan when you are in tears and sobbing :)

    One thing I’ve found to help with mood is to concentrate on what you can do – not what you can’t.

    And others have said – forget the washing up – you will have plenty of time to do that once you are well (or you could just get a dishwasher :) )

    Reply

  48. Cat
    Jan 19, 2012 @ 17:24:30

    Ellie,

    I am certain that you have heard this on more than one occasion but I wanted to write something to you and I thought it best to write what I feel. You are an example of what it is to be human. You have such a resource of strength that just reading your blog stimulates my belief in the vastness of possibilities that exist in this world. I wish for you just good health and the rest I am sure you will figure out yourself.

    Keep on keeping on…

    Love
    Cat
    xxxxxxxxxxxx

    Reply

  49. Heather MacQueen
    Jan 20, 2012 @ 11:56:06

    Hi Ellie,

    Don’t let the bastards get you down! Or should I say, the thoughts in your head. You are going through “shit” at the moment and no one will ever be able to comprehend what is actually going on with your body and mind. You may not have full control of what your body is doing right now, however, you are in control of your mind and your thoughts. You have every right to feel every emotion there is, and that includes being happy. When I feel my mind starts to wander off into a “negative mode” I consciously switch to thinking about something else…..I may even jump and up and down like a loony just to get a “state” change. Try it out. Whenever you feel like crap, switch your mind to something else. Do star jumps or shake your butt in someone’s face….if it doesn’t change how you feel, it sure will change how other’s see you;-) Think about how lucky you are to have a wonderful boyfriend, a wonderful family and all these strangers who really care for me……The best way to make us forget about our “crap” situation is to help others in a worse situation. Trust me, there is always someone else that is going through more shit than “we” are! Sometimes by focusing and helping them, we take the focus away from our own worries and give our bodies a rest from the stress that our minds create. Does that make sense?

    If you had a friend come over who was constantly telling your how stupid you are, why can’t you stop moping around, they wouldn’t be a friend for long would they? So why say those things to yourself? There is not one single person who is not inspired by your story, please please please remember that when you have your moments. You ARE truly inspirational!

    You are a strong woman Ellie and you are a role model to every other women/man that will go through the same shit that you are going through now. You can do it, like I said, don’t let the bastards get you down, you’re better than that, and we all know it:-)

    Heather

    Reply

  50. Rosie Butler
    Jan 21, 2012 @ 11:47:50

    Good morning Ellie

    this is an illness that is fought on so many fronts – and for all the advice that abounds there are generally only a few truths – here is what we learned on our journey ….

    only you know how you feel emotionally and physically – and you will sometimes be too exhausted to know which is worst, just that it’s xxxx.

    how you talk to yourself is just as important as how you feed yourself – so food that is good for you as well as positive self talk go hand in hand

    small goals lead to bigger goals… there is no time limit

    do what you love – if its beleiving in fairies and reading lots of fairy tales then that’s what you do – being mentally engaged in something that interests you lets your body quietly get on with fighting back and getting stronger

    you have a world of support close around you – not just the family and frends that can hold you… touch you… kiss you…. but a world of virtual friends no less caring and no less committed to supporting you – think of it as a cast of thousands willingly walking with you, regardless of whatever else they have going on in their world, they share their humanity with you…

    this is the year that you marry the man you love – life doesn’t give anyone a guarantee for a happy ever after … we have to find that for ourselves, and yes we do …. often in the most unexpected places

    dream your dreams Ellie, dream them large with all your heart and soul

    fairy hugs

    Rosie Butler

    Reply

  51. Helen
    Jan 22, 2012 @ 21:49:42

    Ahhhhhh, lovely post Ellie, what an incredible and beautiful woman you are. And sharing all this with us, WOW! If I lived near you I think I’d have to pop in and do the sodding washing up!!
    Keep fighting, keep loving, and keep away from the kitchen sink!
    Love and best wishes as always
    Helen
    xxx

    Reply

  52. Rachel u
    Jan 22, 2012 @ 23:17:02

    Keep going Ellie-I’ve been living with stage I’ve melanoma now for 2 years with not a single symptom apart from the mental trauma of people telling me I’m dying-we will do it cos the whole face of cancer treatment is changing-if all else fails go get a large glass of wine and watch some sex and the city x we will prevail xx

    Reply

  53. Rachel u
    Jan 22, 2012 @ 23:24:00

    And sorry forgot to add don’t you just hate the princess diana head tilt ???

    Reply

  54. sarah
    Jan 23, 2012 @ 16:48:47

    Hi Ellie,

    Just wanted to you too know that all of what you are going through is normal reaction to this cancer shit and judging from your comments you are not alone, we are here with you all the way hun, I’m in the same shitty cancer boat with stage IV breast cancer and mets to both lungs, somedays I just can’t operate at all, like you said even cooking is too much, It seems to go in waves up and down, one minute I’m Miss Positive green juicing, doing yoga and not eating naughty sugary foods the next minute I’m stuffing my face with chocolate, cakes and normal tea coffee, I too have some green tea shit sat looking at me I actually shiver before drinking it as its so flipping bitter urghhh. Its so hard to keep positivity up especially when your physically exhausted, I’m nearing the end of my radiotherapy sessions only 2 more to go, maybe its this thats been making me so miserable or just the fact that I’ve got a terminal disease!!, I try planning for the future thinking about work career plans but just can’t seem to face any of that, it takes all my energy to work on the ‘live healthy and get in remission project’.

    As rachel said above we will beat this thing, just keep on moving and shaking hun, were not dead yet very much alive, sod statistics we don’t fit into the norm we are unique people with our own individual journey there is no right or wrong to this everyones healing is personal.

    Sending you love, light and healing vibes
    Sarah xxx

    Reply

  55. Debby
    Jan 27, 2012 @ 00:05:22

    Hi
    New to this blog – so rooting for you – all love and best wishes to you, Tom and your family. Lots of love

    Reply

  56. Rebecca
    Jan 29, 2012 @ 15:58:08

    Hi Ellie – looking forward to your next entry (I have been checking for days now ;-) ) Keep keeping your head up! Thinking of you often and sending prayers, hugs and kisses to you! x

    Reply

  57. Charlie
    Jan 29, 2012 @ 21:45:24

    Hi Ellie, just wanting to send you some virtual (((((( hugs)))))

    Reply

  58. Clare
    Jan 29, 2012 @ 21:53:23

    Hi Ellie. We are often the people who put the most pressure on ourselves. Allowing ourselves to rest or cancelling arrangements with friends seems like we are allowing this god awful disease to win but often it is what we need to do to give ourselves a fighting chance.

    I was due to go back to work this week after my last chemo cycle in December but a check up with my Onc on Wednesday over rash, led to a biopsy on Friday (breast surgeon doesn’t think it’s anything to worry about) but am naturally paralysed with fear. I keep asking myself if my life will ever be ‘normal’ again and basically the answer is no. But there are still many good things to experience and embrace but I guess it just may take some time for me to learn to appreciate them.

    Thanks for sharing some of your fears – it helps to feel not so alone.

    Reply

  59. ladyleftfieldlover
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 10:40:50

    Thinking of you too, Ellie! Hope the reason you’re not posting is because you’ re just too busy living a wonderful life!

    Reply

  60. Michelle Cotter
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 23:47:40

    Ellie-

    I look everyday for updates. I always pray for you.

    Sending you positive thoughts and lots of hugs from Nashville, TN!

    Reply

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