The biggest challenge

 

There’s no denying that the last month has been the hardest month of my life. The next month is going to be harder. Am I prepared for that? No. Will I cope? Yes. I’m not quite sure how yet but I know I will. Friends and family keep telling me how much they admire my strength, yet I don’t feel very strong. However, hearing that gives me the boost I need to carry on and knowing it’s coming from those who know me best and those I trust most in the world reminds me that everything will somehow be ok.

I don’t want to go too much into the situation, it’s not meant to be an emotional read, but if you’re reading this now, you’ve probably read previous blog posts or follow me already on social media and will know that my Dad has cancer. You may also know from recent posts, or maybe even my lack of posts, that things have deteriorated pretty quickly. A few weeks ago we were summoned to a stuffy room in a hospital ward and told that Dad had a matter of weeks to live. Those words left me speechless, lost and broken.

Back in June not long after his diagnosis, we were told he’d be lucky to have a year. At the time and for a while afterwards that speechless, lost and broken feeling overwhelmed me, but soon it was a case of getting on with things. Dad coped so well with a LOT of chemo, he had good days and bad days but generally and in comparison to many others undergoing cancer treatment, he was pretty lucky. At the time of diagnosis, we were told the cancer was incurable and any treatment was to prolong his life and keep him comfortable. His positivity and love for life, his open attitude towards alternative remedies and his middle finger up to cancer gave us all hope. One of his scans surprised even the medical professionals and of course gave us even more hope to cling to.

Fast forward a few months and it’s a different picture. That speechless, lost and broken feeling isn’t going anywhere, and as I watch my Dad deteriorate daily knowing there’s not a lot I can do except be there and spend time with him, the only thing I can do to ease the heartache is to learn how to become a better person from it. The devastation has allowed me to sit back and look at the world in a different light and although it upsets me immensely that it has taken me til now, as a result of the biggest challenge I’ve faced, to start having a mindset shift, it’s the one positive thing I can take and share. Read my next post to find out more and please, don’t wait til you face adversity to change your mindset. Seriously, cliche as it sounds, learn to live every day like it’s your last!

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  • The Grahams for Graham

    When I was younger, my Dad used to set off most weekends on a hillwalking adventure. He’s bagged a fair few Scottish mountains, so when we were trying to decide how best to raise money for Maggie’s Centre Fife, I suggested climbing all the Munros. My Dad thought it was a great idea although when we discussed it during his most recent chemo appointment, he said, “It’s a shame you’ll miss some of the smaller hills because they’re sometimes my favourites.” That got us thinking, and it was actually my Mum who suggested we do the Grahams instead. Very quickly, The Grahams for Graham became the letter G of our A to Z for Maggie’s challenge.

    I’ve always enjoyed being outdoors; the views from the summit of a Scottish mountain, even the mist, wind and horizontal rain on a typical Scottish day adds to the experience, but recently, with my hip injury, hills have been something I have avoided. In fact, walking is something I have avoided. I think that’s why it seems like a good idea. It’s a challenge, and if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t feel happy asking people to sponsor me to do it. My hip has been great; I have stuck to a rehab plan and taken a step away from the things I was told would aggravate it. Here’s hoping that being sensible for the last six months has worked and I can complete this challenge!

    I also want to make this a social challenge, something that others, whether close friends or family or complete strangers can be involved in. The Great Outdoors, in my opinion, offers something that you can’t get elsewhere; a sense of wellbeing, an energy boost, a sense of achievement and a positive outlook. These are things that many of us often lack and I would love to think that by coming out and walking with us for a day, people can learn from it, use it to relax, gain confidence, find the motivation to do something else or improve their fitness by getting involved. We aren’t putting a time on this one; Cancer is probably as unpredictable as the weather and these are just two factors that may cause our plans to change at the last minute and our completion moving further into the future.

    There are 219 Grahams in Scotland; spread over the whole country, including 7 of the islands. Grahams are peaks which are between 2000ft/609.6m and 2500ft/762m with a drop of at least 150m between each peak. (SMC, 2018)

    The Grahams are found in the most beautiful, scenic, often remote parts of Scotland so not only are we looking to complete them, we want to make the most of the beautiful surroundings too. I will always post on social media when we are going and we would love to have you join us. All we would ask if you’re joining us is that you either make a donation or share our JustGiving page, tell your own friends and family what you’re doing and encourage them to donate.  We will make sure we always have a brew kit, banter and everything we need to keep you safe and enjoy your day in the outdoors!

  • Trimester 2: Another rollercoaster ride!
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  • The A-Z for Maggie’s

    Apparently I like to make things difficult for myself. I think it’s just a case of enjoying a challenge, but either way, after racking my brains for a few days, I decided that one single challenge wasn’t enough, and instead the best way to raise money for Maggies Centre Fife is to have 26 different fundraisers; a different event, challenge or activity for every letter of the alphabet. The A-Z for Maggie’s was born and shared with the family, who although said I may be taking on too much, loved the idea and will be involved every step of the way.

    The A- Z for Maggie’s isn’t just about raising as much as we can for Maggie’s Fife, albeit that is the most important aim. It is about my family and I doing positive things together, bringing others together, making memories and raising awareness of Maggie’s and the work they do to support those with cancer.

    This will be a work in progress and as we work through them, I’ll update and hopefully get some of you involved. Here’s the list so far; some confirmed (in bold), some are simply ideas, and the blank spaces; yeah, we need ideas!

    A- Afternoon Tea (hosted by my Aunt)

    B- Bag packing

    C- Coastal Path Cycle

    D- Donate an hour of pay

    E- Easter egg hunt

    F- Fitness class (Dates etc tbc)

    G- Grahams for Graham

    H- Hogmanay/Halloween Party

    I- Indoor rowing challenge

    J-

    K-

    L- Loose change collection

    M- Marathon

    N- Non uniform day/Name the teddy

    O-

    P-

    Q- Quiz night

    R- Raffle

    S- Swimming challenge/ Sky Dive

    T-

    U- Unwanted present sale

    V-

    W- Walk every day sign up

    X-

    Y-

    Z- Zipline

    Suggestions welcome. This is an ongoing challenge and can be added to at any time.

    If you would like to donate, please visit my JustGiving page, by clicking here.

    Now, scroll up to the letter G and click on that line to read my next post and find out why we are going to climb over 200 Scottish Hills…

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  • Positive vibes only…

    It sure has been a while since I last blogged!

    I suppose life took over and in the midst of enjoying myself, working a lot and being generally out of routine, writing wasn’t the first thing on my mind.

    I wish I could say I was writing now because I had something exciting and positive to blog about but unfortunately it’s more a case of trying to create positives out of a bit of a rubbish situation. A couple of months ago, I received some devastating news that would change everything. My Dad was diagnosed with cancer; a rare form in his liver. My Dad; one of the fittest 56 year olds I know; who’d been in Singapore, climbing Munro’s and camping only weeks before. I won’t bore you with the whole story so in short, what originally was fatigue, feeling weak and then latterly query gallstones, rapidly became a cancer diagnosis. Bad enough, until only two days later we were told that it couldn’t be cured. My partner has been through both his parents being ill and two of my close friends have been through this with their Dad’s. A friend of mine, whom I’d worked closely with to fund raise and raise awareness of bowel cancer, passed away only a few years back, and another friend was fighting a long battle with the disease*. However, hearing the news about my own Dad was so much harder. I thought I could relate and understand my friends, but now I know I really didn’t have a clue!

    My Dad is now undergoing chemo and compared to many others, is doing very well in terms of side effects and management. What we don’t know yet though is what difference it will make, what quality of life he can have and how long we can continue making memories together and I suppose that’s why I’m writing again. News like that can change a person, cause a person to give up and loose hope but my Dad’s attitude is the opposite and while the reality not easy to accept, he is positive, determined and willing to put up the fight and it would be wrong for me or anyone else to do anything different! He/we have a solid network of family and friends and right now, it’s about spending as much time as we can together and enjoying ourselves.

    Since the diagnosis, we have all been to visit the Maggie’s Centre in Kirkcaldy. Maggie’s are there for the whole family offering a range of support and advice; from a friendly face to legal advice, and the atmosphere within the building is amazing! The moment I walked in on my first visit, I felt welcome and at ease. Since then, my Dad has made use of the services Maggie’s offer and although we are still in the midst of a long journey and haven’t visited as much as we would like, I already feel like I want to give something back. Fundraising is a focus, a challenge and to me, part of the journey to come and an opportunity to do something positive during hard times.

    I will be raising money for Maggie’s both by undertaking personal physical challenges/events and running community events through my business to engage others in the hope that we can raise awareness and have some fun in doing so.  I’ll be writing about the highs and the lows, the training involved, the events and everything in between (except for gory details and the emotional part; that will be kept personal) but I would love it if you followed our journey and support my family and I to raise some funds for something so close to our hearts.

    * My colleague, my friend and one of my inspirations passed away last week after a very long fight. Her attitude was one that should be adopted by everyone; positivity, determination and resilience through adversity are characteristics to be admired and if I can have even a fraction of her strength and courage, I will be happy. I am so proud to have worked with her, learned from her and called her my friend.

    Sleep tight MF xxx

  • Trimester 2: Another rollercoaster ride!
  • Exercise in Pregnancy
  • October Workout 11
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 4
  • October Workout 10
  • Omni Bumps- Upper Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 4
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