I wasn’t scared……well, maybe a little

A few months ago I found a little lump in my breast…..slight moment of panic. A few days later……it was gone……sigh of relief. A few weeks later…..it was back…….moment of: what the heck do I do now!?!

To be perfectly honest, the temptation to just ignore it was pretty strong. I spent a couple of days doing jsut that and I did really well. But no matter how hard you try to pretend these things aren’t there, they niggle…..and niggle……and niggle. You can ignore them but they never quite leave your brain.

So I decided to have it checked out. The doctor I saw couldn’t feel anything and I wasn’t actually that worried. I am not sure whether this was just complete denial of the whole situation or a genuine feeling, but I assumed it was nothing to worry about. The doctor shared my lack of concern but still referred me to hospital to make sure. 

The appointment came through quite quickly, and still I wasn’t worried. 

The day of the appointment came, and still I wasn’t worried.

I drove to hospital and got myself a cup of tea because I was early, and still I wasn’t worried.

I find the right department, let reception know I was there, sat down, and still I wasn’t worried.

I had a look around at the people in the waiting room and the numerous leaflets with titles like ‘coping with cancer’ and all of a sudden it hit me; today could be just a routine check with a positive outcome and I’ll be home for lunch, or it could be the start of a long horrible journey. 

A lady of similar age to me arrived for a post treatment check up and all I could think about was whether she had children and whether they knew what their mummy was going through.

Luckily I didn’t have to wait very long. The nurse who saw me was lovely and she didn’t think it was anything to worry about, but she sent me to have a scan anyway.

The scan confirmed that it was just a bit of dense tissue and I was sent back to the nurse with the result. By this time the waiting room was so full that it was standing room only and it was a very strange feeling to know that not everyone in this room will be as lucky as me. Some people will, like me, be home for lunch and that be the end if it. But for some this will only be the start, and their lunch will be truly ruined by the prospect of the awful journey that is ahead of them. 

Again I didn’t have to wait long to be seen and the nurse confirmed the resukt of the scan. She also pointed out that I did the right thing by having it checked out. Then she sent me on my way.

And I went home, and felt lucky, damn lucky.

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Not so bad, considering

Yesterday morning I was all ready to sit down and write a post about how tiring and not nice my day was on Friday. Being a mummy is the best things in the world and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but there are days when you’re so tired, when the kiddos are so naughty and when there is so many colds, ear infections and other things going around, that you just can’t enjoy it all. 

So I was all ready to write and just popped onto facebook to check out how some of my Dutch friends were doing (I love facebook for enabling me to keep up with what people in Holland are doing even if I don’t get round to speaking to them) and it hit me right in the face…..

What was I complaining about. 

One of my oldest and dearest friends (one of those ones you don’t see but will always have a little place in your heart) has been dealing with the immense pain of a loss of life so awful that I have no words to describe it.

Another friend of mine, who is part of an awesome charity called Global Clowning (look them up and donate a few pennies if you can), is currently in Greece, dressed up as a clown, handing out food, clothes and a bit of laughter to refugees out there.

And I was complaining about a bit of tiredness, an ear infection and a cold. I felt ashamed.

I know that I am allowed to moan about my little problems even if there are millions of people have it much worse, and I know I will. 

But not now. Not today. Today I will mourn a loss that is not mine, today I will hope the poor refugee children will end their day with a banana in their tummies and a smile on their faces. And today I shall be grateful for what I have. Please take a moment to do the same.

Thank you and good night.

So you want to be a vegan?

Well, not really. So what is your point then, I hear you ask. I tell you what my point is, my point is we eat too much meat and dairy. All of us (well apart from the veggies and vegans amongst us of course).

I was raised on a 90% vegetarian diet and I can tell you this for fact, you and your children do not need meat to grow. Those of you who know me in person are aware that I did quite well in the growing department. For the rest of you kindly reading my little blog, I am 6ft tall (that is 1.83 meters if that’s your bag), now that is a little on the tall side for a woman. Admittedly it helps that I am Dutch (we are the tallest in the world aparantly) but even for Dutch standards I am tall. Which surely proves my point quite nicely, you do not need meat to grow!

You also don’t need meat to be healthy, my mum is the proof of that. She isn’t tall, but she did suffer from high blood pressure and was put on medication which, she was told, it’s almost impossible to come off. Now, my mum is a bit like me (or I guess I’m a but like her), tell her she can’t do something and she will do anything in her power to prove you wrong. So after checking with her doctor she cut out the following foods:
– all meats
– salt (almost all cause you need a little bit)
– most dairy apart from a bit of soft cheese every now and then
– most processed foods
– most refined sugar
Now 6 months later she has not only lost nearly 2 stone (about 10kg) she has also been taken off her medication completely! Within 6 months she has brought her blood pressure down to a normal level purely by changing her diet! That’s amazing right?

So you don’t need meat to grow or be healthy. It is also very very bad for the environment and the way most animals are treated is just damn cruel! I have watched a few documentaries lately about how our food affects our lives, the lives of animals and our planet and there are bits that I just don’t want to be a part of anymore. Meat is the first thing, but also milk, cheese and eggs. I have always used free rabge egss thinking, that’s fine right? Well, I guess it is if you are happy for the little male chicks to be chucked in a massive grinder when they are still alive! If you want to know what I am talking about watch Vegucated (it’s on netflix) and is very interesting.

From childhood we have been overloaded with messages like:
“Milk makes your bones grow strong.”
“You need meat for protein.”
“Eggs are healthy.”
Our parents also grew up with these messages so it is hardly our fault that we build our diets around what we have been told is healthy. But who are these messages coming from and how factually correct are they?

It isn’t until you educate yourself properly that you can make informed decisions on what you want to feed yourself and your family. There aren’t many things we have control over in this life, but one of the things that is completely in our control is what we decide to eat.

My decision was that I wanted to cut my own meat and dairy intake by 90% and I can tell you, it isn’t only easy, it makes you feel great! I have more energy, my skin looks better, I have lost quite a bit of weight without being hungry for even a second and I feel better for choosing not to be such a big part of an industry that should be ashamed of itself!

If you want to live a long and healthy life (and who doesn’t want that) you need to start by giving your body what it needs. Make sure you know what you put in your body, read labels and if it is full of stuff you don’t recognise, don’t eat it. Don’t assume you need meat and dairy (cause you don’t) and I promise you will feel better for it!

If you want to find out more about veganism, healthy eating or how we can use nutrition to fight disease, the following documentaries are a very good place to start (all are on netflix)
– Vegucated
– Hungry for change
– Food Matters (this is my favourite and will really open your mind)

Happy eating everyone!

I just don’t know what to say…

Living in a different country from where you grew up is without a doubt difficult at times. No matter how hard you try, you will miss birthdays, weddings, parties, summer bbq’s and afternoons of endless cups of tea with your sister or best friend. No matter how big or small the occasion, it’s hard.

It is most difficult though when something bad happens. When disaster strikes either your family, friends or your fellow countrymen it is extremely hard to not be around.

The airplane disaster from last Thursday is without a doubt the worst thing that happened to my home country since I left it. Flight MH17 was shot from the air and there were no survivors, 193 of the victims were Dutch. Reading about parents who waved bye bye to their children never to see them again makes me so sad it is hard to keep back my tears. The words: “The death count has risen by 3 because 3 babies didn’t have their own seats” saddens me to the core and make me cry every time I think about them.

The stories about how the site has not yet been secured, how the bodies have been man handled and how the victims possessions have been looted are infuriating. The thought of children’s and babies bodies being out there, being treated in this awful disrespectful way is leaving me speechless and tearful. Not being able to mourn with my fellow Dutchies has never been harder.

Please spare a thought for the victims and their families.

Failure is not an option

Sometimes I forget that my body is just not capable of doing certain things.

Sometimes I forget that I was the girl who could only stop running by falling over. Sometimes I forget that I was the girl who had no balance whatsoever. Sometimes I forget I was the girl who had to practice for days be able to catch a ball, skip a rope or join in with any game that involved any kind of coordination of anything.

This went mostly unnoticed by my friends and other classmates because what I lacked in physical ability, I made up for in sheer determination. I would practice and not give up until I could perform whatever skill I needed to an acceptable standard. Giving up or failing was not something I even considered, it was not an option.

Nowadays I function a lot better and as said above, most of the time I forget that I am the girl who can only put her coat on if starting with the right sleeve (please don’t ask me why because I have no idea, but it just won’t work if I stick my left arm in first!). This afternoon I had a classic reminder of the girl I used to be and probably still am. I was looking for something in our garage and came across my inline skates.  I used to love those things, I was never any good (what a shock, I know) but I enjoyed them anyway. So, I thought I would try them on. They still fitted but surprise surprise I couldn’t stand up. My husband kindly reminded me that I have a bad knee and it might not be such a good idea, but I ignored him and pulled myself up on our garage door. I moved my foot forwards about half an inch. That was enough. There was no way I was going to let go of that garage door.

And enter the moment that my awkward body shows me up. I could not sit back down. I physically couldn’t do it. My husband said: ‘Just get up the way you sat down’. Sounds easy enough, but I couldn’t remember how I got up and even if I did I doubt it would have made the slightest difference. The only way to get down would be if my husband would hold on to me and lower me down (hopefully gently), and right at that moment Elisabeth runs off. So whilst my husband runs after our little whirlwind I am standing there wondering what to do. I decide that the only way is to try and take these skates off which is not an easy task as my legs are rather long and I am not known for being able to easily reach my toes. But to my great relief, I manage to take off one of my skates and sit down to get the other one off as quickly as possible.

Twenty years ago I would have spent the next few weeks with the skates glued to my feet, but not now. I am quite happy to just not be able to do certain things. But only sometimes, most of the time failure is still not an option and perfection is always the aim, whether it is possible or not.

 

How relaxing is a spa day?

I will tell you how relaxing a spa day is. It is amazing, mega, super duper, fantastic, awesomely relaxing.

My lovely husband got me a voucher for a spa day for two for my birthday, including a massage, facial, manicure and a two course lunch. Brilliant!

I wasn’t able to go earlier in the year (as one is not supposed to go when one is pregnant), but now everything is sort of starting to get back to normal after the miscarriage, I thought I deserved a treat and booked it. I took a day’s holiday from work because I didn’t really want to wait until they had spaces at the weekend, and today was the day.

I had assumed rightly that my husband was not the one to come with me, so my good friend Rachael offered to sacrifice a day’s holiday to keep me company 🙂

The day started at 10am with a back and neck massage followed by a facial, all this lasted an hour and it made us all sleepy, it was lovely. The massage was a bit painful at times, but I guess that was only because I really needed one. The facial was awesome with hot towels, face massage, exfoliation and all sorts of other stuff I normally don’t bother with.

After this we did a bit of swimming, sitting around in the hot tub, bit of reading, having a cup of tea until it was time for our lunch which was delicious. We had starter, main and pudding. It was lovely and so much that I am not sure whether I will need dinner tonight.

After lunch I had a long swim followed by a cup of tea. At half past 3 we went for a shower and got dressed ready for our manicure. We both chose a colour for our nails (Rachael picked a beautiful dark blue and I went for a sparkly pink one) and had them shaped and painted. Unfortunately they waited with giving us a feedback form to fill in until we had wet nails, quite tricky writing and Rachael ruined the polish on one of her nails. We then had to ask someone who hadn’t haad their nails done to get Rachael’s car keys out of the bottom of her bag to make sure they didn’t all get ruined 🙂

Must go now, I’m so relaxed I might have to go to sleep 🙂

Snow……really?!?

I’m not usually one to moan about the weather, I like all seasons (although I do have a soft spot for spring) including winter. I don’t mind the cold, I like the cozy atmosphere the cold creates inside. I also like a bit of snow, it makes everything pretty and is lots of fun to play in.

But I’ve had enough now, winter has been going on for ages. We have had quite a bit of snow on several occassions and I am really looking forward to spring. There were some positive signs over the last couple of weeks. My daffodills are flowering, there was a day when the sun actually came out. I thought it must be on it’s way, spring, surely. After all it is nearly Easter.

And then Saturday morning my husband opens the curtains and from my cozy spot under the duvet (Elisabeth likes playing tent in our bed, can’t be a bad thing as it means I get to pend a few more minutes in bed) I hear him say: “No, really? Snow? You’re kidding.”

He was not impressed and neither was I. It’s the end of March and I am now officially bored of winter. Can we please please pretty please have some sunshine? Please?