I’m slightly late with it, but it’s that time of year when I get all introspective and retrospective and all the spectives, really, and think about what I achieved in the last year and what I’d like to achieve next year/this year. It’s been difficult to get into that headspace this year – even though the time between Christmas and new year is usually my most productive and thoughtful time, it hasn’t come naturally, probably because – well, look at the state of this year.
Regardless, I’d like to have a little think about it, look at my previous goals and set some new ones. So this is what I said I wanted to achieve in 2020:
standing at the back door accommodating winter in gusts, the clear sharp moon in my throat and my friends on a screen on my coffee table but I can’t hear them over the bangs and they have left their seats already to watch their own displays. I had run upstairs with Peter and counted again, at least eight of them, like I did on November 5th. It’s the first year I didn’t hear a countdown – I always forget the Hootenanny ignores the coming of the new year, carries on, and the TV was muted anyway, but this time, with just the two of us in the house, at least in flesh, we did not count but we did kiss late and the bang and crack and light that had been going on since daylight now overtook the house, everyone’s house as our web conference brought six of us together in stereo. Amidst the madness I was grateful for the fireworks blurring one year into the next because the expectation would have been too much weight to place on one count, on ten numbers standing separate and fragile, so instead the community decided we would have a gradual bringing in of cheer, a blurring of time, as it had been all year, and watching all the displays from the back door, the clear sharp moon in my throat made me hopeful, each blast of light and sound proving that despite everything, so many of us were standing upright on this earth and celebrating, still finding some glimmer of joy or hope and throwing it in the air like a penny in a fountain.
If you like your books in electronic flavour, pre-order now and my guts will be spilled onto your device on the official release date of 7th February 2020!
Here’s the blurb:
“Lynch syndrome is a genetic condition that makes it more likely for a person to get cancer. In other words, it’s the world’s worst loyalty programme.”
Colon cancer, uterine cancer, duodenal cancer. Colostomy bags, infertility, genetic testing. But also, joy. Also adventure. Also grit.
GUT FEELINGS spans ten years from the author’s first diagnosis to the life-changing surgeries for her second and third. Racking up a collection of medical experiences – and losing countless organs along the way – Sam Rose has stories for anyone facing the uncertainty of cancer or Lynch syndrome, to help patients and survivors feel less alone.
When it comes to work, we’re all looking for ways to re-engage with our productive sides. It’s been a long year for everyone, whether your work shifted to all remote or you’re still going into an office. Now, this year, more than ever, we all have a lot to balance. However, adding something creative to your plate could really help your work life.
Hobbies are a great way to help you focus and get rid of short-term bursts of stress. They give purpose to downtime in a good way, giving you a sense of accomplishment. And now, even in these isolated times, they can give you a chance to engage with a community, even if that community is online. So how do you do that and what should you try? This graphic offers some insights, and it taught me a couple of new things – including the meaning of “eustress”. As someone who has a day job but also multiple creative passion projects, I found that some of this really resonated with me.
Despite the huge emotional burden of a cancer diagnosis, many patients and survivors are missing out on vital mental health support when coping with the illness and its aftermath.
According to a 2014 study, 54.1% of cancer survivors need help managing concerns about their cancer coming back. Another study suggested that it’s common for cancer survivors to experience some symptoms of PTSD such as nightmares, avoidance, hypervigilance and negative self-perceptions. Despite this, not all cancer survivors are receiving mental health support to help them deal with a potentially life-threatening diagnosis.
As a three-time cancer survivor engaging with the online cancer community about this topic, I recently Tweeted the question:
Cancer patients and survivors, I’m curious about how much your medical team spoke to you about your emotional and mental health, particularly after treatment. How prepared were you for the emotional impact of cancer? #cancersurvivor#AYA
I was overwhelmed by the number of responses my Tweet received in just a few hours. Experiences varied, from patients not being informed at all of the mental health support available, to being given leaflets or names of resources, being referred for counselling upon request, or being provided counselling without needing to ask. The number of people that fell into the first category was concerning – though for me as a cancer survivor, unsurprising.
I watched a movie on the Sony Christmas Movie channel, missing some probably key bits of information and describing all the super important stuff I picked up to a friend via DM as I watched. This is the slightly mad result.
Morning all! I am feeling that kind of chipper I feel when a procedure I wasn’t looking forward to is over and done with, and today that procedure was as short as they come – a coronavirus test. I was apprehensive about getting it and did a little search online beforehand to try to gauge what it was going to be like, so I thought I’d write up my experience here in case it helps someone else who’s also looking and has anxiety about these things like I do.
Greetings, earthlings. It’s been a while since I blogged and I haven’t really explained much about what I’m doing these days. As you know, I’m working on my PhD, while still working my day-job in marketing. I’d like to tell you a little about what my PhD is all about, without giving too much away or going on and on. There’s so much I could say about it, but I’ll try to keep it straightforward!
Thank you so much if you tuned in to hear me on BBC Radio Northampton this evening! If you would like to read my poem in full, you can see it below. The radio show is available on BBC Sounds here and it’s available for 30 days – just fast forward to 1 hour 41 to hear me!