It’s world reflexology week – Give it a go!

There’s a week for everything these days, isn’t there? This week (19th-25thSeptember), it’s the turn of World Reflexology Week. I’ve always been more than a little curious about reflexology, but have never got around to treating myself… until now, that is. On Monday, I managed to start my week off in a somewhat more relaxed style than usual, due to a fabulous invitation that I received from The Association of Reflexologists.

Now, I’m not much of a foot fanatic. In fact, I actually can’t stand touching the things. Moreso other people’s than my own, obviously! There’s no denying, however, that they are pretty practical and highly useful though so treating them right will naturally only reap rewards. This is why I jumped at the chance to give it a go.

So, what on earth is reflexology?

In a nutshell, it’s a form of massage which is used to relieve stress and treat (but not heal), illness. The theory is that different points on the feet and lower leg correspond with different areas of the body, and the massage stimulates thousands of nerve endings on your feet. This is said to kick-start your body into responding to biochemical changes, therefore promoting better health. Complimentary therapists also work on hands, face or ears, but you’ll have probably heard more about people having the therapy on their feet, as it’s the most popular.

reflexology-foot-map

What was it like?

Relaxing… oh, so relaxing. My session was organised with a lovely lady called Nicola, from Nicola Warren Reflexology in Beckenham, just a 20-minute walk from my house. The setting was very calming, and Nicola was more than welcoming. I was asked questions about my health and what I might hope to achieve from having a session. I was also asked if any aspects of my health were concerning me. “Well, since you mention it, since having chemo I’ve had a lot of aches and pains from being pre-menopausal (damn you cancer), as well as a sore hand that no one has managed to diagnose just yet. Other than that, not much at all at the moment”. Hurrah!

Reflexology is popular with those suffering from stress, anxiety, insomnia, sinus problems and many more symptoms. It is also very popular with pregnant ladies and those trying to conceive. Unfortunately, I didn’t think about trying it out when I was having treatment for breast cancer because I’ve since heard that it is a great option during chemo. Having had a session now, I can totally see how this would be the case.

After my initial consultation, I was told to sit back and relax and for the next  40-50 minutes or so ( I’m not going to lie, I lost all track of time), while Nicola worked her magic. I tried really hard not to fall asleep because I did that once in a sound therapy session and felt like I’d missed the all good stuff! Once it was all over (sad times), Nicola mentioned that even though I seemed very relaxed, my feet were telling me I was a little stressed, which most probably had a lot to do with it being the week before a festival I was working on, and she also felt tension in the ‘liver point’ on my foot – Most probably down to the fact that I’m partial to the occasional gin or two ;)

Is reflexology for you?

Why not!? I left Nicola feeling on top of the world! Seriously. It was a glorious day outside, and as I walked through the park to get home, I was beaming and feeling totally relaxed. In a very unlike me move, I even decided that work could wait a little longer, so I sat down for an extra twenty minutes and basked in the sunshine.

What did reflexology do for me?

Aside from total relaxation during the session, I also had the best night’s sleep I’d had in a long time. One thing that may (or may not if you’re a cynic) be linked to my time with Nicola, is that my hand pain left me for a whole week. It’s sadly back again now, after a long day of working outside in the cold over the weekend –  I’m not sure if it was just a coincidence, but I hope to do more research to see if it was in fact reflexology that helped.

As the Association of Reflexologists say “Some people find it works for them – some don’t. The best way to find out is to try it!”

I’m certainly hoping to go back for more.

If you’d like to try it you can find a reflexologist local to you over on The Association of Reflexologists website HERE or find out more info on their Facebook page.

*Update – I have also just noticed that I didn’t have a hot flush (one of my chemo side effects) for 7 days! 

world-reflexology-week

beckenham-park

reflexology-week

Until next time! x

 

Breast Cancer Care – Pink Ribbonwalk

If you follow me on one of the many social media platforms, you’ll know by now that last I have had my final Herceptin injection and that all of my hospital visits have now come to an end. If you haven’t heard the news, then clearly you need to up your social media game. Anyway, hurrah for final injections!

You don’t know how relieved I am that I can finally move on and never have to hang out in hospital waiting rooms again. If I’m honest, I feel like  a bit of an anomaly – It seems that a lot of the blogs and comments that I read  from other younger Cancer patients, seem to portray a struggle to move on after treatment, but (oddly?) I feel completely healthy – It’s almost as though it never happened.  I’m sure there must be other people like me. Please tell me there are. I really wouldn’t want anyone to find it a struggle to move on.

The way I see it is that if we worry about cancer coming back, then it has won. If I think about it daily, then it has won again. It’s just not going to happen. I’m going to live my life, and if it does come back, then I’ll win it all over again. There is plenty for me to be getting on with and cancer isn’t one of them.

Speaking of getting on with things… I recently did the unthinkable and walked ten miles for Breast Cancer Care. I know ten miles may not seem like a long way to a lot of people, but this is coming from a bit of a lazy slug, who struggles to keep active because I’m drawn to sitting in front of my laptop and working. Things are slowly changing, and on a whim a while back I signed both myself and Alex up to do the Pink Ribbonwalk. He loved it… in the end!

Anyway, thanks to family and friends, I managed to raise £384.77 and even though we were a little sore from trying to complete it as quickly as possible, we came away happy that we’d done it. I’m sure it took us a little longer than necessary because of all the pictures we were taking in the first part of the walk, but what kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t do that, eh? ;)

Pink Ribbon Walk

London Tower Bridge London

Alex & Zoe

City Hall

The show must go on

Until next time x

 

15 brilliant places in London – Epping Forest

In an attempt to get out and about more often, I have decided I’m going to work my way through the Time Out London list of ‘15 brilliant places in London you probably didn’t know existed’. Number one on my hit-list being Epping Forest. Alex just loves it when I come up with these ideas (he doesn’t).

When the article popped up in my Facebook feed on Sunday morning, I got dressed and asked my chauffeur to pack his day bag (snacks), along with the little dog, into the car and off we went. The novelty of a short road trip soon wore off when we hit the good old London traffic, which extended the journey by about fifty minutes. Don’t worry; we managed to battle on through, and when we arrived it was time to de-stress and take in the countryside vibes. Er, well, that was when we managed to find the track away from the surrounding roads which were heaving with tons of Sunday day trippers and motorbike squads.

Two hours on, after Betsy the Chihuahua had finished shouting at all of the horses and any other dog that passed us by – I think I had managed to decompress just a little ready to return home. Alas, we didn’t see any of the peacocks, snakes or hundreds of species of flowers that Time Out promised. I presume we saw ancient oak trees… We saw trees anyway.

Sometimes I guess it pays to do a little planning. I’ll make sure we do that for our next brilliant ‘London’ adventure.

Epping forest you were lovely, but so is the park at the bottom of my road… and that has trees too.

I’ll probably give you another chance though ;)

Epping Forest

 

Betsy The Chihuahua

Epping Forest Day Trip

Got a bit tangled… Besty clearly wasn’t fussed.

Dog lead tangled in tree

Hanging around for the perfect Instagram shot…

Epping forest walk

He went with this one...

Day Trip to Epping

I went with this one

Epping Forest Day out

 

Until next time x

 

Like a boomerang, I’m back

Oh, hello there. Yes, I’m still alive, don’t worry! Since we last spoke, I’ve had radiotherapy, Christmas, moved home, been to Barcelona and am now just sitting here wondering where the heck time flew to?! I clearly lost my blogging mojo in the process, but like a boomerang, I’m back, to fill you in with my mundane goings on.

Hmm, where should I start? When we last spoke, I was about to start radiotherapy. Boy, was that a slog. Four and a half weeks of daily commutes into St Thomas’ hospital in December took it’s toll and there were a few melt downs on the radiotherapy table. Just a few, mind. Again, it all started when I wasn’t treated in a way that I should have been by a staff member and then the tiredness just kicked in and a few tears were shed. The rads themselves were pretty easy for me to deal with. I just had to be put into position and lay still for a few minutes, with my hands clasped above my head… Just a bit of boob prodding to knock it into its spot for the waves to hit precisely where they needed to go, but nothing that was too difficult to handle.

I think the difficult task for me was trying to work during the day and then get the underground during rush hour to my appointment. I detest busy trains and that, combined with the wait for my appointments didn’t really work for me. “You won’t be waiting for rads appointments’ my oncologist said ‘ It’s much better than here” she said. Hmm. She was right, it was better, but there were waits and lots of them, mainly when the machines broke down. One of the waiting rooms was by far the most depressing of places I’ve ever been to in my hospital ‘career’. Bad times St Thomas’, bad times.

Anyway, I got through it and finished up on Christmas Eve, when we treated ourselves to afternoon tea at Sketch, which, I must admit disappointed me somewhat. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something just wasn’t right. I’m not sure if it was the eccentric service, the stiff couple of friends on the table next to us, or the food, but it just didn’t sit right with me for the price tag that came with it. I had a much more enjoyable time at Fortnum and Mason back in October… Just sayin’.

Now, on to the home move. We were looking for somewhere to move while I was having chemotherapy. Perhaps not the best time to make decisions, but we found a place and spent the whole of January with the builders in renovating and I’m now sitting here in my spangly new palace, having ditched my London postcode for one just on the border, in Beckenham. I hope to get to a blog post soon with pictures galore, but there are still some bits for us to finish off… you know the story – the bits you sort of can’t be bothered to do because normal life has resumed. We’ll get there soon, don’t worry!

In other news, I’ve been ill for the past few weeks with a God awful cough, cold and sore throat. Er, not really fair after the last year, but things are now on the up and just about normal life can resume very soon. Bring. It. On.

Oh, I also went for my first haircut. It’s really taking its time to grow, but hopefully once I’m finished with my Herceptin injections we’ll get a bit more action in the length department!

Chemo Haircut

Until next time.

x

Pleeeease God, Let Me Keep My Brows!

So, it turns out I’m blogging again. Alex whipped up this new blog design for me over the weekend, and I really couldn’t say no, after all the trouble he took to bring it a little more up to date. We toyed with the idea of starting up a totally new blog with cancer in the title, but I decided that as SeeByZoe is a blog about my life, then why should I change it just because cancer has just decided to bust in on that action. I may as well  just keep on nattering on about it all over here because I’ll only have to swap back over when I get through all of this!

We popped down to Devon last Wednesday and returned on Sunday. The weather was pretty shoddy for most of the time, and on the one sunny day that there was, it was so over-crowded that we decided to do adrive by and head back to chill at the apartment. I’d like to say we were scoffing cheese and drinking fine wines, but eating clean, ready for the chemo, scuppered those plans. Boo. Hiss.

I have now been a Vegan for two weeks… Who’d have thought it? After a few attempts in the past, it took rotten ole cancer to push me into it. I’m actually really enjoying it – particularly because Alex has been doing all of the cooking! He has been amazing. I’ll do my part in the kitchen soon, but I’m trying to get up-to-date with all of my work before any sickness kicks in. The doctors say being freelance is a bonus, but little do they know how much I stress about getting everything done. I do see their point though as working from home means I can just take a few little naps throughout the day, and then just sit right back in front of my laptop when I’m feeling up to it. I’m much luckier than so many people, and I think it’s that thought that has been getting me through all of this. Well, that, music, Alex and the kids pets.

I’m more than prepared for the chemo to start next Thursday. There are a few things before that which I’m not looking forward to at all, but if they get me over the finish line, then I’ll take what’s going to be thrown at me. Suck it up and get on with it Zoe. You can do this!

I have to say that most of my preparation has involved shopping! I’ve stocked up on natural skin care products, ready for the effects the treatment may have on my skin. I have also purchased a wig (more on that soon), as well as an Anastasia brow palette (with stencils, cos I ain’t no artist!), just in case I have to draw those suckers back on. I was hoping my get ready routine would be reduced by half because of the expected hair loss, but then I figured if I lose my brows and lashes on top of my hair, then it could take me even longer… We shall see.

Pleeeease God, let me keep my brows and lashes… I haven’t exactly been blessed with amazing ones as it is – it’s not asking too much to spare me them, is it?! I’ll let you take the hair, at a push, but not the lashes and brows!

Anyway, I’ve rambled. My next few posts will be the story of the wig and Wilson, the PICC line that never quite happened!

I hope you all had a lovely Easter and ate lots of lovely chocolate for me. I’ve just been sniffing the stuff like a glue addict – Wasn’t really into the vegan chocolate that I tested out, but on the plus side, it’ll all help my figure when the chemicals start getting pumped in ;)

Until next time.

x

Anastasia beauty Express for brows and eyes…

Cancer Brow Anastasia

Just a dog chilling’ in Devon…

Besty Chillin' in Devon

 

Vegan feasting…

Vegan Curry

One cat in hiding…

Cat in a Bag