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Looking Forward

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2013 wasn't the best of years, with one thing and another. My Dad came out to visit over the Christmas break and I was impressed by how well he is coping with my mother's death. After the first few painful months, he has decided to stop wallowing in sadness and look forward. He has launched into several new ventures in an attempt to keep himself busy and take his mind of missing mum. I admire him.

I've decided to follow his lead. My personal grief isn't as all-encompassing any more. I don't think of Mum every minute of the day, and the tears are less frequent. A "new normal" has been established. So it's time to get on with living.

I've learnt that I'm more of an emotional eater than I thought. The last few months have seen me put on a fair bit of weight, partly through poor food choices but partly because of a "can't be bothered" attitude where exercise was concerned. I'm ready now to get a grip and focus on becoming healthier again.

I'm quite looking forward to it!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1BEACHWALKER 2/20/2014 3:25PM

    I hope things are better for you soon. Keep moving and making healthy choices and the rest will fall into place. emoticon

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LIS193 1/22/2014 12:49PM

    Here's to a better 2014.
Losing a parent is hard, I lost my dad 7 years ago and I still miss him..

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LEASIM1231 1/22/2014 6:42AM

    Wishing you a better 2014!

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MOM2BOYZ1GIRL 1/21/2014 3:04PM

    I am so sorry for your loss, I am glad that you are doing better. emoticon

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DR1939 1/21/2014 1:52PM

    One of the normal aspects of grief is depression. It is very likely that that was what caused the "I can't be bothered" attitude. For most people it is a temporary condition and gradually gets better. That seems to be the case with you. How long it takes and how severe it is varies with the individual, so what is right for you might not be right for someone else. There are support groups available to help with coping if you feel you need it (I'm not implying you do). You can ask your physician or call your local hospital and ask them about such groups. Hugs.

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UNSWEETMAMA 1/21/2014 1:20PM

    Losing your mother leaves a huge hole in your life, and it is bound to take some adjusting. I am glad for you to feel a little lighter and be able to focus more on your health.
emoticon emoticon

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The heavy weight of grief

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Dealing with Mum's death has been difficult, to say the least. I know grief is complicated and a long process, I know it's early days yet, but I'm naturally a happy, positive person and this great wave of sadness that has hit is taking it's toll. There haven't been many tears, but it's all I think about all the time. I've been through every bad emotion over the last few weeks - sadness, hurt, anger, disbelief, guilt..... I feel so tired.
I haven't taken care of myself too well during all this. At first, I was quite focussed on getting myself really healthy so "the same thing won't happen to me". Gradually, I've become more lethargic, don't want to leave the house, can't be bothered to shop let alone cook, no interest in going to the gym, and so on. My Dad has lost a lot of weight - there wasn't that much of him to start with - but I've piled it on of course.
I know what I *should* be doing to help me feel better - it's quite another thing to actually do it.
Next week I'll be going home for a few days. Part of me is really looking forward to seeing my dad again, part of me is dreading it.
I know everyone goes through this at some point, I know people survive and life goes on, I know things will get easier....just wish I could shake this overwhelming sadness off.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOLABLACK69 10/14/2013 11:30AM

    Once again, I am so sorry for your loss! Hope you're doing well! emoticon

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1BEACHWALKER 10/12/2013 10:38PM

    So sorry for your loss and for what you are going through. I know it must be hard and the grieving process is something you have to do in your own way. Hang in there and so glad you are keeping in touch with us. Thanks for coming to my Long Hot summer blog too. Meant a lot, especially with what you are going through. Take it a day at a time. emoticon

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MICHELELYNN777 10/9/2013 1:07PM

    Yes, grief is a heavy weight to bear and it is so personal. You will work through it in your way and your time. Although I don't believe you ever truly "get over" the loss of a loved one, you will continue living your life and hold memories of your mom close to your heart~she will always be with you in that way.

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WILSONWR 10/9/2013 11:37AM

    Dawn, I just read your blog after sending you the email about the goodie you sent me. Dawn, don't rule out grief counseling. I know when my wife passes, it will hit me very hard, and I plan to get some counseling then. I could probably use it now, but I've always been the type of person who thought I could handle things by myself. There is a limit, though, and we have to realize when we've reached that point. Take care of yourself!

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JACKIE542 10/9/2013 11:32AM

    Sorry Dawn I have been through this a few times, and you don't feel that way now, but times does make it better, I had to force myself to get out for walks, and took many trips to the ocean, it soothed me. Big emoticon

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BROOKLYN_BORN 10/9/2013 9:49AM

    Several of us have blogged this morning about our mother's death, some recent and some where time has passed. The "great wave of sadness" you describe is very familiar to me. Itwould hit me as soon as I woke up, like I was drowning.

I've vey sorry for your loss. After my Dad died, a friend said that I was now a member of a special "club" - those who have lost a parent and only members really understand each other.

You've gotten some good advice here already. Most important - take care of yourself.

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DR1939 10/9/2013 9:33AM

    Seven years ago my mother died and then 2 months later my 19-year old grandson was killed in an auto accident. I was surprised by the grief that swamped me. It very gradually eased over time, but it was hard. If you can find a grief-counseling group (check your local hospice organization) that sometimes helps. Also see if you can find someone who will walk outdoors with you. Nature is a great healer.

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KIMPY225 10/9/2013 9:31AM

    I am sorry for your loss. I know it can be so tough on your daily routine. Maybe you can start off slow again. You mentioned you want to make better decisions. Maybe starting with one change can help motivate you to keep going. Good luck & keep your head up!

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1CRAZYDOG 10/9/2013 8:22AM

  So sorry for theloss. Know you're not alone and do keep coming back and letting us know how you're doing. It does take such a long time to go thru the grief process, but it is a journey that will eventually get a little easier.


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CHIPLEY_FL 10/9/2013 8:10AM

    I am sorry for you loss. Keep checking in, it is a step.

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PJMOMMATO3 10/9/2013 8:00AM

    I am so sorry for your loss. emoticon

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SCHECK5 10/9/2013 6:12AM

    Sorry for you loss...I do have some of the same issues...my sister passed away 8 years ago and I still have sadness going on. emoticon

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NANA2PRINCESSES 10/9/2013 5:28AM

    So sorry for your loss. I'm not a grief expert, but from my own experience I know it does take time to walk the journey. Self-care becomes very difficult, but it is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. As with anything difficult, sometimes all you can take are baby steps toward healing.

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ARNETTELEE 10/9/2013 3:40AM

  I'm sorry for your loss.

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Enough sitting around feeling sad.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

It's been a tough few weeks. I know that grief is expressed in many ways, including changed eating habits - some people eat less and lose weight, others reach for comfort in the kitchen and gain. I now know which camp I fall into, having watched the numbers creep upwards once again emoticon

Enough is enough. A friend sent me this link yesterday.


I've signed up. It seems a good incentive to resume my quest for fitness, maybe drop a few pounds in the process, whilst raising money for a very worthwhile project. And it makes a change from harassing my friends for sponsorship money!

Their goal is to have 500 people sign up. So far, there are 109.

Anyone out there fancy an Autumn challenge? Come and join me!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1BEACHWALKER 9/12/2013 1:22AM

    I wish you happiness and healing through this tough time. One thing I do know is that exercise helps with stress and that is great you are doing this wonderful cause and the challenge! emoticon
Thanks so much for your kind comment on my 3 year at SP blog! I am happy to have met you too. Take care and good luck on the challenge! emoticon

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JACKIE542 9/4/2013 1:35PM

    Hi Dawn emoticon I think this is a great idea, I did look this up, for a really good cause. emoticon

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DR1939 9/4/2013 11:13AM

    Remember that every one grieves differently and how you do it is not wrong. Keeping fit by exercising and eating correctly allows your body to support your emotions. Sometimes taking long solitary walks is helpful; sometimes it is not. Try to increase the things that make you feel better. If you get so low that you cannot function, please see a counselor. emoticon

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DMEYER4 9/4/2013 6:49AM

  good luck on your challenge. I am glad you are moving forward. Have a great day

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Silent Killer :-(

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hello to my dear Sparkfriends, thank you for your messages and good wishes, apologies for my lack of response.

It's been a tough few weeks. I went home to England mid June and spent a wonderful week with my parents before travelling to the south of England to join my husband, daughter and son for our family holiday. During the 3 weeks we were away, my mum fell ill. By the time we got home again, she had been admitted to hospital. There followed 2 weeks of daily visits to see her, some days she looked very poorly, other days she was almost her usual self. On 1st August, I called in to see her before catching the ferry back to Belgium. Her consultant called me into his office and explained that it was likely Mum had cancer, although they wouldn't be sure until they completed tests the next week.

I arrived back in Antwerp around lunchtime the next day. My husband got home from Madrid that evening to find me feeling quite emotional and tearful. "Do you need to go back? I'll drive you now if you want" was his immediate reaction when I explained. I didn't know what I wanted to do. I wasn't prepared for the phone call that came a couple of hours later, my Dad telling me that Mum had passed away that evening.

The death certificate stated cause of death as Colonic Cancer and Malignant Ascites - advanced colon cancer that had spread to other areas of the abdominal cavity. Until 4 weeks earlier, she had had no symptoms. She only went to the doctors then because her legs were painful. Unbelievable.

I said goodbye to my mum at her funeral on Monday and returned to Antwerp today. It still hasn't sunk in. Trying to find positives, I'm just so grateful for the week in June we spent together, when she was her normal, "healthy" self. I'm also pleased that her illness didn't drag on for weeks and months, and she only suffered for a short while.

It's scary that mum's illness could have become so serious before she knew anything about it. Colon cancer is not routinely screened for here until you reach 70. I've been researching it over the last few days - apparently nicknamed the Silent Cancer as it is often symptomless until quite advanced. I think I will be asking my GP for regular tests before my 70th birthday....

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOLABLACK69 10/10/2013 9:43AM

    I am so sorry for your loss... emoticon

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BEBOP4ME 9/4/2013 4:31PM

    So sorry for your loss of your Mum! It is something you always grieve, but it will get better.

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ALIHIKES 9/4/2013 11:50AM

    Dawn I am so sorry for your loss. emoticon

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LIS193 8/28/2013 11:32AM

    So sorry to hear this, Dawn. My condolances :(

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I.M.MAGIC 8/26/2013 5:56PM

    Just thought of something I want to add to what I said...

Like myself, people who get colon cancer are often prone to a certain type of large colon polyps, which are where the cancer usually forms.
There is something that may help. A diet of fresh whole, preservative free foods, and...

Soluble fiber.

It's so simple, but so few even think about it, much less do it. You can actually reduce your chances of developing polyps simply by eliminating chemicals in your diet and raising your fiber intake, particularly the soluble form.

My gastric specialist has prescribed 25-35 grams of fiber daily. Some of that comes from the fruits and vegetables I eat, and some of it from a soluble fiber supplement.

My last colonoscopy, there wasn't a single polyp... so maybe it will help you too--and it certainly won't hurt... it does take a bit of getting used to... LOL

Wishing you the best...
Kathy emoticon

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LEASIM1231 8/23/2013 3:15AM

    How sad! I can't imagine how you are feeling at this sudden loss! I am very glad you were able to spend time with your mom in what you did not know at the time would be her last few weeks. Thinking of you!

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I.M.MAGIC 8/22/2013 9:47AM

    So sorry for your loss.

For myself...I had no symptoms either. I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time so my colon cancer never had the chance to penetrate the colon wall, and because of my other health issues they opted to skip chemo and radiation--such a blessing! I have been in remission now for 3 years...
The colon cancer screening is easy, though the prep isn't a very pleasant procedure, but it's SO worth it. I wish they'd had that for your mom before it caught everyone unawares. It really is a very sneaky disease... please do have that screening done soon, it isn't worth waiting, believe me!

My own mother died from an untreatable urinary tract infection (antibiotic resistant) five years after she'd had a major stroke. Since that stroke, we weren't totally unprepared for her passing--but it was till a shock.

I know how much your heart must be hurting right now. You'll miss her at odd moments of the day, and the holidays will take on a whole different aspect... but you will get through it.
The good memories you have will help...and your family will be there for you, don't be afraid to lean on their strength when you need to...
emoticon emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 8/22/2013 9:05AM

  So very sorry for your loss. **SIGH** It is heartbreaking when such a horrible thing takes a life so suddenly. My heartfelt condolences.

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STRONG_SARAH 8/22/2013 8:20AM

    So sorry for your loss Dawn.

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WILSONWR 8/22/2013 5:36AM

    I'm so sorry, Dawn. Losing a loved one is never easy, but losing one so suddenly is even worse. My dad died from colon cancer, and I am screen regularly - it has saved my life since they routinely find polyps.

You'll be in my prayers. If you need anything, I'm an email away.

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1BEACHWALKER 8/22/2013 1:06AM

    Oh, my I am so sorry to hear this Dawn! My deepest sympathies and thoughts are with you. Please do keep tested! Very important! Take care and know we are here for you! emoticon emoticon

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KAILYNSTAR 8/21/2013 6:52PM

    My sincerest sympathies. I am so sorry for the shock that you have had to go through. I'm glad to know that you managed to have a good time with your Mum before she was so desperately ill.

As for colon cancer, it can be hereditary. That much I do know. My Mom and has had some screening and found precancerous cells. She is fine though. I do know that what she has, is on my record as well. So I will go in for testing earlier in life as well.

I do know a lady here in town that passed away from colon cancer. She thought she had the flu. Finally she went in to see her doctor and found out what she had. She was gone in 10 days. Leaving a husband and a ten year old daughter behind.

I understand your shock and disbelief.

I wish you comfort. Love and beautiful memories.

You are not alone.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FITFRIT 8/21/2013 6:51PM

    I am so sorry for your loss. We lost my mother-in-law to the disease a few years ago now. She had a few symptoms but they were masked by her diabetes so we never realized until it was too advanced. She battled the disease for a year and a half, went from her boisterous healthy self to a mere 85 lbs and didn't remember most of us. It was devastating to watch and my youngest daughter was heartbroken that her grandmother couldn't remember her anymore. I am so thankful to hear you have positive memories of your time with her. Hold on to those.

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ALIHIKES 8/21/2013 5:55PM

    I am so sorry for your loss. It is so sad to lose a parent, and particularly tragic when the disease is advanced without early symptoms. My thoughts and prayers are with you and with your family emoticon

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MOTHEPRO 8/21/2013 5:34PM


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LILRUNNERGIRL 8/21/2013 3:58PM

    I'm really sorry about your loss. Your story has touched my heart. My thoughts are with you. Stay strong during this difficult time. emoticon

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DR1939 8/21/2013 3:56PM

    I am so sorry for your loss. In the US we have a very aggressive campaign to have regular colonoscopies. It has reduced the death rate due to colon cancer dramatically. I think the first one is recommended at 40 and then every 10 years if there is no familial history of colon cancer. If there is a history, then it is every 5 years.

Please do not feel you have to respond to this email or to the goodie that I am getting ready to give you. You need some peace and quiet in which to grieve. emoticon

Comment edited on: 8/21/2013 3:57:45 PM

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JACKIE542 8/21/2013 3:43PM

    So sorry Dawn, my thoughts and prayers are with you. emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 8/21/2013 3:44:33 PM

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UNSWEETMAMA 8/21/2013 3:13PM

    I am so sorry for your sudden and unexpected loss. I am glad too that you got to spend that time together when she felt well. Take care and be gentle with yourself.

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SNIC23 8/21/2013 3:04PM

    I know there are no words that can ease your pain when you lose your mother, but my heart does go out to you. At least you can find some comfort in the fact that she wasn't sick for an extended period of time and you were able to spend time with her recently. I'm sure this is very hard on your father as well, I cannot imagine being in his shoes right now.

My husband had his first colonoscopy at 43 and tried to insist that I get one too. Maybe he's right, I didn't realize that colon cancer was without symptoms until that far advanced. Thank you for sharing.

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KNYAGENYA 8/21/2013 2:14PM

    I'm so sorry for your loss. I will make sure to light a candle when I go to Church. Cancer is scary. I had cervical cancer 3 years ago and when I was having my hysterectomy the doctor found I had ovarian cancer as well. My only symptom was being tired. It is really important to get screened. I hope the doctors will allow you to be screened for it. emoticon

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Hello friends!

Monday, June 03, 2013

It's been almost a month since I last blogged here. I have a confession - I've turned to the other side....

I have opened a My Fitness Pal account, which has resulted in me not using SP quite so much. I'm using it for tracking food and exercise, the main reason being that MFP is more UK friendly. To be honest, I've struggled at times with SP, the talk of cups/ounces and a multitude of food brands that are totally alien to me. MFP has a HUGE British food data base and uses the more familiar measurements. I find it much easier.

On the down side, I've yet to discover the community spirit found on SP. I've said before that the best thing about SP is the people, and the tremendous support offered by total strangers who quickly become virtual friends. I've missed you!

So with your permission, I'd like to take the best of both sites, using MFP to keep me within my calorie limits and popping in here now and then to keep up with my pals and "chat".

May weight loss = 6lbs! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIS193 6/5/2013 12:27PM

    Don't feel bad about using another site for tacking food. I use FitDay because I find it much easier for the way I eat. You are right about the community though - SP has the BEST people!!

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PMRUNNER 6/5/2013 6:03AM

    What? you mean you would rather use MFP than convert your kitchen and eating to cups and ounces and converting your shopping to find U.S. brands? I guess that makes sense! I have some friends who have had a lot of weightloss success with MFP. I haven't tried it but imagine that it would be hard to beat the supportive community aspects of SP. I like that it is ala carte and flexible enough to use the features that you want to use and that work best for you.

Good luck on your continued journey!

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WILSONWR 6/4/2013 11:25PM

    Sounds like a great plan to me! Good to hear from you again!

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DR1939 6/4/2013 10:36AM

    Glad you found something that works for you. We just have to take the good parts of things and move forward. Glad you wanted to be with us.

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FISHER011 6/3/2013 8:08PM

    emoticon on your weight loss! Do what works for you! I ~LOVE~ you beautiful tulips background! emoticon

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I_WILL_ROCK_125 6/3/2013 4:06PM

    I don't see why not. The important thing is you are still going for your goals.

emoticon on the May weight loss.

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JACKIE542 6/3/2013 3:36PM

    You do have to do what works for you, and wow! you have had a 6lb weight loss that is very good.
Still miss you and I really hope that you stop by often and chat, and do some of those great blogs. emoticon Jackie

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UNSWEETMAMA 6/3/2013 3:07PM

    You have to do what works for you! If it's not too much hassle to use both for their different strengths, then it sounds like a good approach. We're here for you.

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1BEACHWALKER 6/3/2013 2:49PM

    Have missed you! I wondered where you were-now we know. Don't feel bad about that...so many here do that or have diet plans like Weight Watchers, etc. We want you here -we will cheer you on no matter what! You are part of our SP family now! Please stick around Dawn-we like your blogs too!
Wow-6 pounds! Good going!! emoticon emoticon emoticon
Have a successful week! emoticon

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    Congrats on the weight loss!

I know plenty of people who use both sites, I doubt anyone would begrudge you that! Welcome back!

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