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Friendly Fri (24)

Season of goodwill: Friendly Friday

Friendly Friday is about counting our blessings. Christmas , for all its crass commercialism, is called the season of goodwill. 

Today we want to thank the health professionals who care for us: nurses, surgeons, speech language therapists, oncologists, all the people who make up a head and neck cancer team. 

Olwen has made a virtual card to show our appreciation. …

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Christmas Do: Friendly Friday

We're a national network with members from all over the world as well as NZ. But we started with our little group of Auckland stalwarts and branched out from there. Today, Thursday, the Auckland Support Group had its last meeting of the year, not at Domain Lodge, but under the spreading chestnut (?) tree in…

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Programme for Coping: Friendly Friday


Gypzee Kerry, a kind and wise person, joined our group recently after having treatment for head and neck cancer. Kerry has worked in the field of drug and alcohol rehab and has some advice on how to recover after setbacks in life. I grabbed this from the Facebook page with Kerry's permission. 

A programme or guidelines I try to work by for recovering ......

A balanced lifestyle …

A helping hand.. easy to…

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Spring challenge: Friendly Friday

Spring is almost over but it's still here all around us with blossom, buds, new leaves, flowers and tiny fruit. Mild days, longer nights and sometimes, even in Auckland, episodes of sunshine. 

How do you want to share the love of spring with us? Post a photo on our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1116515895074395/ or find a poem ...…

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Another poem! Friendly Friday

Olwen and I are gradually building up a collections of poems for inspiration, pleasure, catharsis and insight. This week there is one of my old favourites by American poet Robert Frost whose short simple nature poems contain a world of meaning. I've left it a bit late but every spring I think of this poem…

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Friendly Friday - Poems for Inspiration

We have a new section on the website that Maureen and I find exciting and we hope you will too.

I've rearranged the Printables section somewhat and added a new subsection under the "Printables" link above to give a section for "Inspiration". To get us started I've added three poems.  They are illustrated with graphics and have an image and downloadable PDF format.

Some of these have appeared before but now they have a place to be together.

Our…

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A few weeks ago we had a post containing pics of animals we acquired to help us get through treatment. We also have pets of the past that have given people pleasure as they travel through this head and neck cancer-affected life. Here are some beautiful pet pics I could not fit in last time.

Here are Molly's beloved dogs, Frostie and Petey.…

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Pet therapy: Friendly Friday

People talk about rescue dogs and SPCA kitties but you can turn this concept on its head. Dogs and cats can rescue us when we are at a low point after treatment. 

I asked our Facebook group to share their pet pics to see how true this theory is. There were so many responses that I can eke out two Friendly Fridays from them. 

First up is Diana's sock-stealing cat Gina. Gina's a rescue cat but seems to have brought a lot of mirthful embarrassment to the household due to…

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Before my most recent head and neck cancer experience, I thought Botox was the ultimate symbol of 21st century decadence: a fixation on appearance and everlasting youth. But I'm a hypocrite because I would have grabbed the  chance to have it for my crows feet if someone had offered it to me free. It's very expensive, costing maybe $500 an injection. (This has not gone through the fact checker.) 

Now I find that Botox is a useful treatment for a range of truly unpleasant…

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Succour in nature: Friendly Friday

Succour means "assistance and support in times of hardship and distress". Spelled "succor" in American English. Not a word I would use much but one I felt was right for this Friendly Friday.

Looking at our Facebook group over the last few weeks, I was struck by how many people find support in nature when times are tough. Below are some photos taken by members and posted on our page. Most are from New Zealand, one is from the US, one is from Australia and only one doesn't show a…

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Diana and I spoke at an International Patients Day event in Auckland yesterday in order to describe the patient's experience of the treatment. The makers of the machines, Varian, were there and we were celebrating American technology for the US consulate. I had radiation as adjuvant therapy only - to mop up lingering cells after surgery. It was a tough treatment but I didn't have chemo and only one side of my face received the rays. This explains the somewhat upbeat…

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Cosette's Story

Cosette Calder, who lives in Christchurch, had a lot to live for when she was diagnosed with head and neck cancer. Hard as her treatment was, she knew her cancer was curable and she had a five-year-old son to look after. Cosette’s early symptoms are interesting too. They show us how throat cancer can manifest itself.  

Here is her story.…

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How to raise awareness of our support network on World Head and Neck Cancer Day? How to make new head and neck cancer patients aware that we exist and they are not alone? Diana and Olwen came up with a plan: provide care packs for patients undergoing treatment. 

We had recently rebranded with our tui…

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Path to Diagnosis, Part 1

With WHNCD less than a month away, I am replacing Friendly Friday with stories on aspects of head and neck cancer care. Olwen Williams collected and collated these stories.

Head and  neck cancers have a variety of symptoms and are often not recognised for some time.  Here’s how a number of people were diagnosed. These symptoms include a cough, a sore on the tongue, a swelling on the nose, swallowing problems, blocked sinuses. Other members, not…

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Imagine going into theatre for urgent cancer surgery and the reality of it suddenly hitting you. Imagine the kind anaesthetist singing you sleep.

This is just one of the acts of kindness, above and beyond the call of duty, experienced by our members during treatment. (I don’t think singing is taught at medical school.)…

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