Take The Ice Bucket Challenge!? – No Thanks

You cant fail to notice the world’s gone nuts over the ice bucket challenge. People are pouring ice cold water over themselves in a bid to raise awareness for charitable causes such as ALS and Macmillan to name but two. The effect however is becoming somewhat diluted the longer the craze goes on. It seems to me that people are forgetting or neglecting the real reason the challenge came about – to raise awareness and funds for these good causes. That aside there is also the issue over whether people should be wasting water when there are still countries with chronic clean water shortages.

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Whatever your view, I for one won’t be picking up the gauntlet. Why? Well because extreme temperatures pose a lymphoedema risk. Cancer Research UK state…

Avoid extremes of temperature, both hot and cold, including saunas, steam rooms and very hot baths or showers

I wouldn’t recommend trying this by any means, but this ice bucket challenge did make me giggle…

And for those who really want to do something worthwhile…

Chicken & Sweet Potato Soup

Serves 6
35 mins prep & cook

Ingredients:

3 Garlic cloves, crushed
5 tsp Ginger, grated
2 Large onions, finely chopped
250g Chicken breast, diced
2 tsp Chilli flakes
2 Sweet potatoes, diced
900ml Water
400ml Low fat coconut milk
2 Vegetable stock cubes
2 Limes, juiced
Olive oil

1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the garlic, onion and ginger. Cook until soft.

2. Add the chicken and cook until it turns white.

3. Add the chilli flakes and sweet potato, cover with the water and coconut milk. Add the stock cubes, stir and bring to the boil.

4. Once boiling, turn down the heat and simmer for 20 mins until the potato is soft.

5. Add the lime juice and serve.

Note:

– Chicken’s vitamin B3 and B6 content will help to maintain a healthy nervous system. A useful source of protein, and low fat if the skin is removed, chicken contributes to the growth and repair of all the body’s cells.

– Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin C. The orange variety of sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene which the body converts to vitamin A – an antioxidant that helps to fight cancer. In addition, sweet potato is rich in vitamin E, which is vital for healthy skin.

– Garlic helps boost heart health by actively lowering cholesterol levels, and allicin, a volatile oil found in the bulb, may help suppress the formation of tumors. It is also a powerful antioxidant, thanks to its amino acids, helping it to enhance overall immune function.

– Onion has an exceptionally high level of the flavonoid quercetin, a strong antioxidant which can block the formation of cancer cells.

– Limes are also high in vitamin C and are an effective immune stimulant.

– Even in small amounts, chilli are a helpful addition to the diet – one small red chilli contains high levels of the anti-viral, anti cancer and antioxidant carotenoid beta-carotene, some of which is converted into vitamin A in the body. Both these nutrients help to prevent the damage caused by toxins in the body, and can help stave off cancer.

(Source: The Top 100 Immunity Boosters by Charlotte Haigh).

Post Op Numbness – 11 Months

Nerve repair over the last 6 months has been quite slow compared to the first few months post op, which is probably to be expected. The slow down in progress was the reason why I decided not to post updates every week after a while, but now that it’s nearly one year since my op, I thought it was time to check things out again.

The photo shows where the numb area was in week 14 (3 months post op), to where it is now (11 months post op). Quite a lot of regained sensation over the year which is great.

Lets see how things progress in a months time.

 

Glastonbury Chalice Well

chalice-wellThe Chalice Well is a natural spring found within the walls of the World Peace Garden, a beautiful, calming oasis at the foot of Glastonbury Tor, which has been in use for over two thousand years.

Christian mythology suggests that Chalice Well marks the site where Joseph of Arimathea placed the chalice that had caught the drops of Christ’s blood at the Crucifixion, linking the Well to the wealth of speculation surrounding the existence of the Holy Grail.

The red of the water is said by some Christians to represent the rusty iron nails used at the Crucifixion. It is said that beneath its waters Joseph of Aramithea hid the Chalice of the Last Supper and immediately the waters flowed red.

Legend has it that the water has healing properties, this may be however because it contains iron oxide, which gives it a red tinge.

Last week I was in the area so I went to take a look. It really was the perfect spot to take in the afternoon sun on what was a beautiful spring day, and an ideal opportunity to sample the healing water for myself. You can drink the water for free (there is however a small charge to enter the garden).

(Source: Wikipedia)

Mosquito Repellents

This week I found not only my PJs but also my pillow had become home to mosquitoes. Not the nicest thing to find when your head hits the pillow it has to be said.

Being someone mosquitoes love to snack on and knowing that bites and stings are a lymphoedema risk, it seems it is that time of year again when I need to find ways to keep the little buggers away from me.

citronella-candleHere a few things I know work and a few new ones that are worth a try:

  1. On my affected arm swap the E45 and Argan oil combo to Avon – Skin so Soft, which contains citronella.
  2. Get out the citronella tealights and start using those instead of my regular scented candles.
  3. Get some more lavender, rosemary, lemon grass and marigolds planted up in the garden.
  4. When opening windows in my bedroom remember to use the fly screens too.
  5. Cook with garlic more.
  6. Get out my mosquito swatter just in case.
  7. Make sure there’s no standing water inside or out.
  8. Cook with soy bean oil.
  9. Cut down or cut out perfumed products, especially when going outside.
  10. Wear long sleeved, light coloured tops with a tight weave.
  11. Avoid excessive exercise particularly at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are out. Sweat, carbon dioxide and warmer body temperatures are also very attractive to them.

(Source: Amelia Island Mosquito Control)

A Bit of R & R

tree-hug1Since the start of the year I’ve become increasingly anxious about my first annual check up, which is now less than 2 weeks away.

3 weeks ago I could feel the pressure mounting and with the stress of working 12 days back to back and longer hours in general without a break, I had to get away and fast. Luckily I had a strong feeling this was going to be the case at the start of the year so had booked 2 weeks off work before Easter in order to take some time out and a break away from the norm.

If you’ve ever been on a post cancer workshop you will know that they strongly recommend planning in to your daily routine things such as exercise, being with friends, doing things for you, having some quiet time and being out in nature. This was exactly how I planned my time off, with something fun and/or relaxing to do pretty much every day. Long walks in the country, climbing trees, hugging trees, having fun with friends and trying new things. With no internet connection and not checking my phone every 10 minutes, it was certainly in that respect, just what the doctor ordered.

All I hope now is that I can continue to feel calmer in the run up to the hospital appointment over the next 2 weeks.

Trouble Sleeping? Try this…

We all have trouble sleeping from time to time. Recently I’ve tried listening to “soothing” music. Sometimes it works, others it doesn’t. When it doesn’t it can be incredibly frustrating.

This morning I came across a video which has an interesting list of suggestions of things for me to try:

  • Blue light from computer screens stop your brain from producing a sleep hormone called melatonine. So in the hour before going to sleep turn off your pc or tablet.
  • Make your brain tired by trying to think of an animal for each letter of the alphabet.
  • You’ll feel most relaxed if your bed is furthest from the door and faces the door. This is because we have evolved to spot danger so we need to have time to react and run away.
  • Behave as if you are sleepy and yawn to feel tired.
  • Eat a banana to relax your body and mind.
  • Listen to music.
  • Sleep on your right side which is better for your heart.
  • Actively try to stay awake and you will feel tired.
  • When you start to fall asleep blood flow increases to your feet. Having warm feet increases the rate of flow to your feet, so wear socks to bed.

Last night I tried listening to the following soundtrack. It must have worked because I don’t remember it coming to an end.