George’s Hypno Journey… Part 2!

So, I’m back to finish the story about when we took our nine-year old son for hypnotherapy following his panic attacks about taking our little dog off her lead.

The first time we went, I can’t lie, George was a little giggly and I did suspect that he didn’t really ‘go under’. The massive panic attack and throwing himself on the floor that followed a week later, kind of confirmed it!

So, in the spirit of not giving up, I text the lovely Michelle at Fairy Heart Therapies and asked if we could come back to see her. Thankfully, George was very keen to do this too… he was desperate to get this problem sorted.

This time felt a little different.  It was all much more familiar and George wasn’t as giggly and excitable. He was more keen to get up on the ‘proper bed’, stick his head down the hole and get on with it!  Once lied on the couch, the warmth of the cabin and Michelle’s relaxing tone started to work its magic.  Michelle went through a similar scenario as before and George slowly felt his eyelids get heavier and heavier with each sentence.

There was no giggling and less twitching and moving as we went on. This felt a lot better.  Then things seem to shift and we both felt that he was ‘under’.  I’ve no idea if this is the right terminology, so I apologise for any hypnotherapy practitioners that are tutting right now! 😊

Michelle kneeled down, just under George’s ear and gently spoke about taking the dog out, about George loving watching her run in the park or on the beach.  How he didn’t feel panic, he felt only joy at watching her run around. Michelle stressed to him that he felt really really good watching her do this and how important it was for her to get exercise.

This went on for around five minutes and then George was counted out of his sleep, down from five… which he rose from on number three.  He stretched and smiled and when asked if he knew what Michelle said to him, he said ‘No’.  This was a good sign.

I didn’t want to waste any time, so when we got home we went to the park with the dog and did just one minute of letting her off then called her back and walked her the rest of the way around.  It was clear to see that the initial fear wasn’t half as bad as it was the last time we had done this.  We sent Michelle a pic of us as promised to show her we’d done a minute.  On the way back, George kept saying how good he felt about it… just like Michelle told him he would!

I didn’t want to rush George into anything after this and it was probably a week before we tried again for two minutes which we did on the way home from school.  Success again.

The third time we went out would now be for three minutes. We went over and got to the back of the park and let her off.  This time she ran over and said hello to another dog. Now was the time to really put this to the test as last time she did this George had screamed and frightened her off.  I must admit, I felt a little nervous at what his reaction would be.  I was shocked to see that he was cool as a cucumber.  He understood that she was just going over to say ‘hello’ and that she wasn’t going anywhere far. We must’ve done well over the three minutes before we called her back and walked back around the park.  I was buzzing… and so was George.

A week later we had friends to stay for the weekend and on the Saturday morning we once again took the dog to the park. George went off to play with his friends and I went and threw the ball with the dog.  Five minutes later, George came over and wanted to play ball with us… which he did for a good 15 minutes!  The timer wasn’t even on this time!  He was happy to take in turns throwing the ball and running around with her.

This was a MASSIVE achievement… and he loved it!  George couldn’t bare the thought of taking the dog out just a few weeks ago and now he was out playing with her and not even looking at the stop clock, counting down the seconds before he put her on the lead!

The final test we decided, was to take the dog to the beach and let her off and play.  Going somewhere a little less familiar would really test George’s fear and of course, his hypnotherapy treatment! So we jumped in our van a week later and headed to the beach.

Just as we pulled up, George started to complain of being extremely tired and not able to go! I don’t know if this was genuine, but I wasn’t going to pander to him and just said ‘the sooner we go, the sooner we can go back home’.   I don’t know what that was all about, but once we got on the beach and he saw how much fun Dusty was having in the sand, he got a ‘second wind’ and was absolutely fine. Phew!

We ran, we played and enjoyed every minute of being on that beach.  There was not one jot of anxiety or fear on George’s part… and for us, it felt like a massive weight had been lifted.

For us, hypnotherapy has most definitely helped our son with his anxiety and helped us move forward with some new family adventures!

A big thank you to Michelle at Fairy Heart Therapies for your time and patience with us.

You can also check out my blog all about me having Reiki with Michelle and how much it helps me to relax. 💗

Until next time,

Love & Hugs from TOMD xxx

🐶💗

Advertisements

George’s Hypno Journey… Part 1!

After a year of panic attacks, it was time to take some action to help my son get over his fear of letting our dog off her lead… so, after trying to solve the situation in a number of different ways with no success, we looked at Hypnotherapy!

For the last 14 months, my son George has found it impossible to cope when it comes to taking the dog out for a walk.  He could just about manage to walk her on the lead, but any time it came to taking her off the lead, he would suffer with severe panic attacks.  This trigger of panic all stemmed from an incident that happened when our dog was just a few months old.

One particular afternoon, our little puppy decided to follow some lads to the other side of the park and into the car park.  With the four of us all panicking, she bolted and ran across the road that our house sits on.  Thankfully a neighbour managed to secure her i in their garden and she was fine.

A few weeks later, we were out with her again and I’d persuaded George that everything was going to be ok.  He was very nervous about this and I’m sure the dog picked up on this.  As she ran across to greet another dog (which they do constantly when they’re puppies) George started to panic… and scream.  Our pup was having none of this and decided to run home – she literally took herself to our front door.  Sadly though, from that point on, George couldn’t cope with taking her out anymore.

We tried so many was to encourage George to let her off.  We’ve tried the softly softly approach to help gain his trust in her, tough love, persuasion and even bribery.  We went to an enclosed park space especially for dogs, but he wouldn’t entertain even getting out of the car!  As time went on, his anxiety only increased.  It got to a point where he would have a full on panic attack at the thought of taking her out.

I was at the end of my tether, and short of writing into ‘This Morning’ and asking that Speakman couple for help, I decided to look at getting George hypnotised.

Thankfully, I knew just the person to help…  I messaged my wonderful Reiki practitioner Michelle from Fairy Heart Therapies and got George booked in.

I can’t lie, having George be so afraid of taking the dog out has been quite a strain on the family.  We bought a campervan this year to replace our car and we envisaged having these wonderful adventures over the summer… running through forests and walking along beaches (all very idealistic and Instagram ready!).  But that just didn’t happen. We managed a few canal walks but that was about it.

George himself was really keen to get over his fear.  He so badly wanted to feel ok about taking our dog out and watching her run, but the memory of her running away as a four month old puppy would trigger the panic.  He was even a little excited to see Michelle and try some hypnotherapy!

‘The Cabin’ at Fairy Heart Therapies is a sanctuary of calm and warmth and George was very keen to get in and see Michelle.  When I say keen, I mean giggly, overexcited and not exactly in the right frame of mind to have hypnotherapy performed on him!  Michelle chatted for a little while about why he had come to see her and about his feelings and fears.

Michelle explained to George about why his brain kept reminding him about the scary situation with the dog and how she will be able to talk to this part of the brain and tell it to switch that feeling off.  She told him that she will explain to his subconscious part of his brain that Dusty (that’s the dog!) is ok and that he will not feel panic when she is taken off the lead.

Once George felt more relaxed, sat in the comfy chair, Michelle started to introduce an exercise that would help him focus on becoming sleepy… counting from 10 backwards and with each number his eyelids would get heavier and heavier.  George smirked and fidgeted and I was already starting to think he was just playing along.  Then Michelle moved onto another exercise, explaining that he was standing at the top of a flight of stairs and his eyes becoming heavier with each step.

He looked peaceful, but I still couldn’t tell if he was ‘under’ or not!  It all started to look promising… until he did a little smirk at the end and I wondered if anything had really happened. My heart sank.  Rightly or wrongly, I was pinning all my hopes on this working.

We then talked through some exercises we could do to help George with the panicky feeling.  Giving the feeling a colour and using our bodies to push the feeling away whilst repeating the mantra “keeping calm”.

Next day, on the way home from school, I decided to  walk with George and the dog around the park on the way home.  Just one minute at a time was the recommendation, so that’s what we did.  George did his deep breaths, pushing the anxious feeling up into his shoulders and down his arms and kept saying “keeping calm”.  We managed a minute before Dusty was back on the lead.  It was clear to see he was still struggling.

Any attempts over the coming days to go over the park was met with excuses.  A week later I approached the subject of taking the dog out… guess what happened… he had  complete meltdown!

We were back to square one!

To be continued…

Love and Hugs,

TOMD xxx

I’m a ‘Queen of Comparison’ living in Funksville!

I know… I’m talking in riddles again! Just hear me out on this one… it’ll be worth it!

Theodore Roosevelt once said ‘Comparison is the Thief of Joy’.  Well last week I really felt that someone had stolen my joy!  You could argue that I maybe it was ‘that time of my cycle’, but if you’ve read ‘Be Still My Beating Ovaries’ you’ll know that just isn’t happening (though I swear I still have some kind of ‘cycle’). Whatever was going on, I was really not happy and it’s all because of comparison… or as my mentor calls it ‘Comparisonitis’!

It all started with doing some research for my new business website.  I need to put an ‘offering’ together for the social media and virtual assistant services I am going to offer as part of my ‘Social in Somerset’ business (cheeky plug!) and I was checking out other websites offering similar.

I was in awe of what these different people had to offer.  PR, Marketing, Copy-writing all with years of experience and degrees in this, that and the other.  The more I looked, the more deflated I became!  Why would someone chose to work with me over some of these talented individuals?

I really did get myself into a right old funk! The problem with getting in a funk, it ends up being so debilitating.  No motivation, feeling exhausted for no good reason, no joy!  Teddy Roosevelt was right!

Think about how you feel sometimes when you flick through Instagram. Do you ever look at the pics that throw up on the ‘For You’ function and start to compare?  The perfect bodies (the whole place seems to be full of butts!), the beautiful tidy houses, the smoothies you should be making (which I did for the first month of the year!), the workouts you’re not doing and the gorgeous looking accounts that are killing it with their 50K followers!  Phew! That’s a whole lot of comparison going on right there!  No wonder I’m in a funk!

Don’t get me wrong, I love Instagram. It’s quite a friendly platform, especially when compared to Twitter (some days you could liken it to travelling on the London Underground!) but you can find yourself falling down the ‘Perfect World’ rabbit hole and feeling pretty shitty when you finally claw yourself back out!

If you’ve read previous blogs, you may remember that I am currently doing a self development course called ‘Get Excited About Your Life’.  In a nutshell, it uses your ‘life story’ to look at your behaviours, your triggers, your pivots within your life (both good and bad) and look to move on from the negative ways you feel, not only about yourself, but your business/work, relationships… basically your life!

What I’d been experiencing with the work thing was derived by fear.  I’m going through a pretty big change at the moment in terms of work.  Leaving my comfort zone of PA with a company and work colleagues I’d been with for 15 years and going out on my own offering a service I’ve recently qualified in.  Turns out that things that had happened way way back in my past,  (we’re talking 20+ years ago) had been triggered and all that self doubt and feeling of not being good enough came flooding back.

This stopped me moving forward with anything to do with my business.  The tasks I set myself for the week, I left. I did everything to avoid it.  I was afraid of being judged, afraid of not being good enough, afraid of failing. So if I don’t do it, I can’t fail can I?

So how do you get out of a funk?

Use Your Tribes…

We all have tribes in different areas of our lives… from our dearest friends, colleagues, exercise buddies, course cohorts… there should be no reason to deal with your funk on your own.  But if you do retract from the world when you find yourself in ‘Funksville’ with a serious case of Comparisonitis, there are other ways you can turn it around.

So, how do you drive yourself out of Funksville? 

So, with my head ready to take action, I confessed my feelings to my course cohort through the medium of ‘Facebook Live’ (I do love a FB Live!). Not only did this make me feel a lot better to say it out loud, but being vulnerable and truthful gives others permission to do the same and helps you to realise you are not alone.

Sometimes however, we can take up residence in Funksville.  We’re quite happy to sit in our pit of shit and wallow… and that’s ok, but sooner or later you really need to think about getting out.

If you don’t want to declare your feelings there is another way.

The quickest way out of Funksville is to head straight to Gratitude. 

Whilst you might be down in the dumps with whatever situation you’re in, you know that there is always someone in a worse situation than you.  When you start being grateful for what you have, rather than what you haven’t got, there is no room in your head for negative thinking.

Stop thinking about what you haven’t got and start thinking about what you have got.  Make a list… 20 things you are grateful for… Or on the flip side, you could think, I might X but at least I’m not X.  Once you start to do these things, your funk will start to clear, even if it’s just a little bit… just enough to get you out of Funksville!

On my course, I am just learning about how to use gratitude in every day life.  Just being thankful for breathing in and out without any problem whilst walking the dog today, something as simple as that can change your mindset from negative to positive.

So chat to your tribe, start making that list. Breathe in the fresh air and be grateful.

Until next time,

Love and hugs,

TOMD xxx

PS; Of course, I’m no expert on turning negatives to positives, this has simply been my experience over the past few days.  If you’re feeling more than just in a funk, go and talk to a professional.  Seek help.  It’s ok not to be ok and taking that first step of saying “I need help” is the biggest one you will take.

PPS; If Funksville looked like that picture, I don’t think I’d actually leave!

Be still my beating ovaries!

silhouette of man touching woman against sunset sky
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So, how did I come to the decision to have my ovaries removed?

Yes, you heard that right. At 37, I made the decision to have my ovaries removed… I went into hospital and had the old egg factory shut down for good!  It wasn’t quite as straight forward as that, so let me explain what happened.

I remember back in 2012 there being a lot on the news about the cancer gene BRCA1 and BRCA2 which are the genes that are recognised as the breast cancer gene. For a while there had been a lot of talk about how you could get tested if your family had a history of breast cancer and when I thought about it, this meant me!

My mum, whilst in her 40’s, had pre-cancer cells identified after a breast reduction operation – they were found in what the consultant took away (more details in my boobs blog).  My Nan had breast cancer, as did her sister.  There was only one other sister (my great Aunt) that had so far escaped.

For those carrying the gene, there was a very difficult decision to make considering whether they had surgery, or whether to have more regular check ups dependant on their chance of the gene turning into cancer

For me there was another reason why I wanted to look into this.  Mum was fighting ovarian cancer and there is a clear link between breast and ovarian cancer.  There was no way I would want to put myself at risk, especially with ovarian cancer being called ‘the silent killer’ due to its lack of symptoms in the early stages.

So, having made the decision to get our family history checked out, I went along to the GP who made a referral to the Genetics Department at the hospital.  What followed as a consultation to talk over my family history and an explanation of how our genetics work, what the process was, time frame etc. Then, with my mum’s agreement, they would need a blood sample from her to determine if she had the gene.

I then went onto see a consultant to discuss more about potential results and procedures. We discussed my family situation, my desires for any more children (NO WAY!) and what I would like to do if the result came back positive and negative.

It was explained to me that if the result came back positive, I would know for definite and could make a concrete decision on how far I would want to protect myself against cancer in the future.  If the result came back negative, it would mean that Mum didn’t carry any of the BRCA genes, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t carry another gene out there… they just haven’t found it yet!

Basically, I would be making a decision on either a definitely, or a maybe.  After several months of waiting for the results to come back, the latter was the reality I dealt with.

I was given an option to leave things be, but as there were no routine checks for ovarian cancer like there are for changes in the breast, this could be leaving things to an element of chance.  I was offered the option to have my ovaries removed on the basis that there might be another gene out there that my Mum could be carrying, therefore giving me a  50% chance of carrying it too!

After a lot of consideration, I decided to go ahead and have my ovaries removed.  My whole family were behind this decision especially my husband (nothing to do with the fact that he dodged the vasectomy bullet, or should I say scalpel!).  Whilst it seemed a drastic move, the consultant was happy to do it and happy to put me on HRT so I didn’t plummet into menopause at 37.  I’d had all the children I wanted (two’s enough for me!) and there seemed no good reason to keep them.. the ovaries – not the children!  I also wanted to give my mum (and my family) some peace of mind that I wasn’t going to have the battle she had… at least not in this part of my body.

So, by the summer of the following year (2013), I went into hospital to have my ovaries and fallopian tubes removed by keyhole surgery.  It wasn’t a decision I made lightly, but it was the best one for me and I never had any doubts about what I was about to do.  Oh, apart from when they started wheeling me along on the bed down to the Ear, Nose and Throat Theatre.  My husband asked them a little concerned ” You do realise she’s having her ovaries out don’t you?”.

I was fortunate that the surgery went well, and apart from a small infection in one of the incision sites afterwards (and I couldn’t drink for a week!!) I made a quick recovery.  The HRT I’d been prescribed seemed to hit the spot and gave me no problems whatsoever.  But not everyone is the same, so this is something that needs to be considered very carefully and monitored.

I’ve never looked back since having it done. I must admit, it’s strange not to have any kind of cycle – and I still don’t know if I have one on an emotional level (my husband would say ‘YES’) but I certainly don’t miss them.  When I’m 51, I will slowly come off of the HRT and allow myself to go into the menopause gently… like walking down a hill, instead of jumping off a cliff at age 37.

What sits well with me, without sounding morbid, is that Mum left this world knowing that I wouldn’t be going through the same battle that she unfortunately lost.

To find out more on ovarian cancer visit the NHS website;

https://www.nhs.uk/be-clear-on-cancer/symptoms/ovarian-cancer

Symptoms to look out are;

  • feeling full quickly or loss of appetite.
  • pelvic or stomach pain.
  • needing to pee urgently or more frequently than normal.
  • changes in bowel habit.
  • extreme fatigue (feeling very tired)
  • unexplained weight loss.

 

Until next time,

Love and hugs from TOMD xxx

 

Writing ‘My Story’! Intro week of ‘Get Excited About Your Life’

blackboard chalk chalkboard concept
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This week I started my Introduction or ‘On Boarding’ for my new course ‘Get Excited About Your Life’.  This is a course which will help me to look at key points of my life and help me to move my mindset to a positive place which will inevitably help my business.

We’ve had a few actions to take on for this introduction week – one being to do a Facebook Live to our group.  Now, for me it was fine as I’m a complete show off, but for some of the ladies in my group it was a real baptism of fire… and they all nailed it!

The other big task for the week was to write ‘My Story’.  No rules, no template to follow… just write my story as I ‘feel it’.  This will be used as the basis of my 1:1 sessions with my mentor Andrea.

Jeeez! Where to start with that! How long should I make it?  How much detail is required?

I decided that I would tackle this after a meeting on Thursday.  I stayed on at the venue and made the most of the unlimited coffee and continental breakfast bar!   I powered up the laptop and started to type away.

Two hours later and I’d covered a lot of ground, revisiting lots of events in my life that I hadn’t thought about for a while, stuff to be proud about, stuff that I learned from and other situations in my life that still affect how I deal with situations today.

There was a point that I found incredibly hard to type about.  The experience losing Mum.  It’s amazing how my brain has managed to cope these last two and half years and almost put a lot of the feelings into a little filing cabinet so that I am able to function on a daily basis. Now and again though, the filing cabinet is opened and the documents come falling out… or the tears come falling down.

Being sat in the middle of a Brewsters crying at a laptop is not a good look so I made a hasty exit.

When I got home I managed to finish my story, warts and all and submitted it to Andrea.

After putting it all out there I thought I would feel like a weight had been lifted, but for a little while, the opposite happened.  I felt heavy and filled with anxiety! The following day I couldn’t catch my breath and just felt generally shitty!  Was this meant to happen after baring all in a word document?

That night I was due to go out with hubby for the night, and whilst I really just wanted to join my son and put my pj’s on at 6pm, but instead I got dolled up and went out.  I’m so glad I did.  Spending some much overdue time with my man was just the tonic (with Gin) that I needed!

Since then I have felt much better and I’m really looking forward to working through all the aspects that make me who I am and turning it into positive mindset.

The course is all about putting yourself out there, having belief in what you’re doing and owning it. I have no doubt that by the end of the 13 weeks we will all be nailing it and completely owning it!

I hope you will follow along with me on the journey!

Until next time,

 

Love and hugs,

TOMD xxx

 

 

My Mental Health Story – Part 1

Awareness of mental health in the current day is more prevalent than ever. We have so much discussion around it now with World Mental Health Day, Mental Health Awareness Week, Self Care Sunday and people in the public eye speaking openly about their struggles.

My mental health story starts way back in 1995 when I was 19 years old (totally given my age away now!).  This was long before the days when everyone had a mobile phone (unless you were a ‘yuppy’ from the city), let alone all the social media apps and the stress they bring, but at 19 years old, I suffered with anxiety and depression.

I remember at the time, people made comments on why I could possibly have anxiety and depression.  At 19, what on earth would I have to be depressed about?  No mortgage, no money worries, happy family life, but here I was.

There was one specific night where it all came crashing down.  I remember it so vividly.  It was August and I was at a house party with my school friends – the ‘Butch Girls’ (if you’ve read an earlier blog you’ll know who they are).  You remember those parties… parents are away, house full of friends, bowl of disgusting concoction of alcohol and playing daft games and talking shit!

As I sat there within a circle with a post-it note on my head I felt a strange sensation… like I wasn’t really there.  I felt like I was actually above, looking down over us all.  As my heart started to quicken, I felt more and more panicked. I got myself outside for some air… I just had to get myself out of that room.

The next thing I remember is that I was driving home crying my eyes out.  When I got home I sat with mum and dad for a couple of hours and just balled.  I couldn’t say why I was feeling like this, but I just couldn’t stop the crying.

Unbelievably, the next day I managed to get in to see my own doctor (it was 1995 don’t forget!).  I wrote down how I was feeling… the tightness in my chest, unable to catch my breath, this dark cloud that quickly descended over me.  I was so glad I’d written it down as when I got in there I just couldn’t get the words out.

Rightly or wrongly, my GP prescribed me Prozac.  Now, I’m not about to start a whole medication vs natural remedies/talking therapies debate – but in my case, that’s what happened.  I do believe, however, that if you need a little help down the medication route then why not?  If my leg was broken I’d be given crutches and in this case my mental health was broken and I need some help to fix it.

I was immediately signed off work for two weeks.  I remember my head being a complete blur, the ability to think clearly was so difficult.  Just counting money was a struggle and I remember taking my brother to the local shop if I fancied bar of chocolate as I just couldn’t do it.   That was, of course, when I felt like eating! I found the whole process of eating meals too much bother… which for me was unheard of!   I used to constantly think about food in my teens!

Two weeks off work turned into four weeks and during that time, I was happiest driving around town in my little car on my own. Nobody to make conversation with – just to drive and listen to my music. I also remember sitting in my room watching old videos of myself, trying to recall how I used to be.

Friends used to call up (on the landline!) to speak to me and I would tell Mum to say I wasn’t home or couldn’t talk right now. It felt too difficult.

After the four weeks, I went back to work… very unsuccessfully.  I remember walking into the office which I shared with three other girls. My line manager walked in with me and nobody said a word… nothing.  As I sat at my desk I could see that my audio machine was unplugged.  It sent my heart panicking, racing, thumping in my chest. My brain couldn’t work out how to plug the bloody thing in.  Still nobody in the office said anything.  I was suddenly engulfed with feelings of not being able to cope – all because my equipment to do my job wasn’t plugged in!

I ran into another office and called my line manager.  I needed to go home. I couldn’t do it.

Another three weeks off and I was given a gradual return back to work, first doing a couple of half days increasing slowly to full time. This was much better this time as I was able to ease myself back.  My colleagues however couldn’t understand why I was depressed with one quoting “you’re 19, what have you got to be depressed about?”.

By the Christmas I was starting to feel much more like myself.  I’d lost some weight (every cloud eh!) and was feeling a lot better about myself.  Over the festive season I forgot many times to take my tablets and by the January I’d stopped.  What I wasn’t expecting was to be feeling the same again by June.  I had to go back on the tablets as the anxiety was returning.

I hadn’t addressed the issues that had got me feeling like this in the first place.

The previous eighteen months had been quite a traumatic one when I looked back.  My mum had been in hospital in Bristol for five weeks following three lots of surgery and the complications of a blood clot.  All of this was going on as I was completing my exams at college and subsequently starting as a trainee medical secretary at the local hospital covering summer annual leave!

Then six months into my employment I got a permanent job with a consultant… who I didn’t gel with. That affected me more than I realised.  During these months I thought I was ok and carried on.   However, lots of little anxieties had piled up and up until one day, one tiny thing sent my world crashing down.  That was the night at the house party.

I did get better though.  I had some counselling through work and gave myself longer on the tablets and came off them slower than I had before. I did get back to my old self and felt the stronger for it.

Over the years, as with everyone, life throws you some curve balls… and I’ve had a couple of massive ones. But this experience of having depression at at a young age has helped me to look for the signs that things are right and make sure I take on board some self care and not bottle things up.

I’m thankful for the doctor for giving me those tablets. The crutch I needed to help get me back on track.  There are lots of therapies out there, and if you’re feeling like you need some help, you need to pick the one that is best for you… with no judgements.

It’s ok to talk about mental health. The stigma each year diminishes a little more. Don’t bottle feelings up, talk to someone, because small feelings can soon turn into big black feelings, until they pile up and topple you over.

Until next time,

Love and hugs from TOMD xxx

Bras, Boobs and You!

This weekend  I had the wonderful job of going to M&S to get our teen re-fitted for a new bra.  She will not thank me in the slightest for telling you that! What fascinates me is that there are just so many there to chose from… Underwire, balcony, plunge, minimiser, T-shirt, sports, strapless, backless, multiway… and that’s just the few off the top of my head!

The money stats surrounding the bra industry are pretty jaw dropping too…

The UK lingerie market is now valued at $3.18bn (£2.47bn), according to the latest industry figures from Euromonitor’s Passport database.  The market has grown 0.7% on last year and accounts for 22% of the women’s underwear market in Western Europe, which grew 1.3% in 2016 to exceed $14.3bn (£11bn).

This got me thinking about the whole fascination with boobs!  Just go back to the 70’s… when every other joke on Benny Hill revolved around how well endowed the women were… or little Babs Windsor with her well endowed chest in the Carry On films. How different it was back then huh?!

However you view them, boobs play a big part in a woman’s life… big or small!  Even at the early development of those little rosebuds, that would kill when a little dickhead at school would accidentally on purpose elbow you in them.  This would be shortly followed by the excitement of getting your first bra and believing you had now entered the big world of womanhood!

Then there’s the amazing job they do in feeding our babies.  From swelling up during pregnancy to having your milk come in and feeling like you could easily pass as Dolly Parton’s niece… or great niece even! How old is Dolly these days?

If you are able to breastfeed, that is a different story for everyone.  Some women could literally feed a village with the amount of milk they express, others find it impossible to get a bottle’s worth out!  And then there’s the tremendous amount of pain and anxiety they can cause new mothers too.  Not everyone has a great time of it when they decide to breastfeed and difficulties with feeding can lead to painful mastitis.

Unfortunately, there’s a serious side when it comes to our boobies.

We also have to be mindful of checking our boobs regularly for signs of any changes.  Hands up who does this monthly without fail? I wish I could confidently put my hand up, but I am guilty of just having a prod and a poke every now and then when I remember! Whilst I know about the visual changes I should look for, I’m not so good at checking what’s going on underneath the skin!

As I was stood in the changing room with Ellie, I couldn’t help but think about my mum.  It’s pretty obvious that my daughter has been blessed… or cursed (whichever way you want to look at it) with the genes of her Nan which seemed to skip straight past me and right onto her.  Being in an adult’s bra’s (the ones with nine hooks at the back!) at age 13 is a bit shocking, both physically for her and on the wallet for me! No more 2 for £20 offer on here!  She also has such a slight frame (being blessed with a figure like her paternal Nan) that getting her boob scaffolding right at this developmental age is vital.

My mum, being small in stature suffered with sore shoulders and backache due to the weight she had to carry up front! In 1994, her GP referred her to Bristol and after consultation, she underwent a bust reduction.  What transpired was not expected.

They had found pre-cancerous cells in her left breast in what they had taken away.  This was back in 1994, and what they had to offer then was probably very different to what would happen now.  Mum was offered what was effectively be a tummy tuck, and what they took away from her tummy would be put inside her left breast.  Long story short, this operation didn’t work.  The stomach muscle rejected and mum was in hospital for a total of five weeks following a blood clot complication.

This happened at a crazy time of my life. I was 18, at the end of college completing my exams and about to go straight into the local hospital as a trainee medical secretary. I remember swotting for exams on daily trips up to Bristol to visit Mum.

I don’t remember seeing Mum get upset, she kept that to herself behind her bedroom door.  I can’t even begin to imagine how she must’ve felt. She would’ve been 45 at the time, only a few years older than I am now and even though this hadn’t developed into cancer cells, the 10% chance they gave her was enough for her to decide she didn’t want to take the risk for the sake of her family.

Instead, what I do remember is my Mum being the crazy, lovable, life loving lady, who would now and again get her chicken fillet prosthesis out at parties and make everyone laugh with her wicked wit!

I want to be just like her when I grow up!

Until next time,

Love and Hugs xxx

For advice on checking your breasts for cancer, visit: https://www.breastcancercare.org.uk/information-support/have-i-got-breast-cancer/checking-your-breasts

For information on signs and symptoms of breast cancer, visit  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-cancer/symptoms/