a transatlantic mommy / mummy blog – my kids say "tomato" & "to-mah-to"

CLIC SARGENT – Do Something Yummy Campaign – and a story about my Grandmother

Many families experience having someone fall ill with cancer. In fact it’s hard to find a family who hasn’t experienced  going though the process of fighting and treating cancer with a friend, family member or loved one. Besides the medical aspects, dealing with a serious illness can feel quite isolating. Sometimes – when you’re in that situation it’s hard to believe there are other people going through what you are – and that there’s help and support out there.

The CLIC Sargent Yummy Mummy Week is the 10th to 18th March 2012.   Anyone can join up and do something positive to help children with cancer.

This year, they are asking us to Do Something Yummy  and come up with new ways to raise money.  Click on the Yummy Mummy Link to join up and request an event pack. Yummy Mummy is a fundraising campaign run by CLIC Sargent, the children’s cancer charity and for six years, mums in the UK have raised money to support the charity through the year.

I learned about this week from Scottish Mum who took this opportunity to share a story about her Mother. If you’re interested in participating – Nickie @nickie72 From Typecast blog is one of the 4 Lead Blogggers on this campaign with Clic Sargent.  She has set writing prompts (like this one – write a post on someone you know who has had cancer and survived) to help bloggers join in with promoting the campaign and spreading the word.  Visit her blog if you would like to take part.

Like Scottish Mum, I have chosen to do a Yummy Post as I do know someone who has had cancer and survived.

My Grandmother, Jean, was beautiful and refined lady. She had excellent taste and always looked elegant – that is until her surgery to remove skin cancer. You see my Grandmother had some time over her life been exposed to too much sun on her face and consequently had to have skin cancer removed from her nose. She went in thinking she’d have a small patch removed. She didn’t even have anyone to drive her home. My Father was called to come be there with her and take her home. They basically removed all of the skin of her nose. ALL of her nose. To replace it they had sliced a nose and nostril sized chunk of skin from her forehead and up into her hairline – which they left attached at the bridge of her nose.  They then twisted and flipped the piece attached down over her nose to cover the bone and cartilage and stitched it all into place. This left an exposed twist of skin and underlying tissue on the area between her eyes, and stitches up her forehead in a line into her hair. Upon her return home I stayed with her for a few days as this strong lady – had to have someone there to look out for her. She was shocked at the procedure, and more so about her appearance.

After the swelling went down and the sutures to heal they were able to remove the extra skin between her eyes and over time the scars softened and faded and and her nose looked as gorgeous as ever. The only signs of it were a very slight white line of a scar on her forehead – visible only if you knew what you were looking at, and an occasional stray hair on the tip of her nose as it used to be on the top of her head (which she’d quickly remove).  The one thing that stayed the longest for her though – was her belief that she scarred or scary looking. She never, I believe got over that initial shock at her appearance, even though within just a few months she looked her normal gorgeous self. (the photo below was taken 1 year after surgery)

Clearly there was a disconnect between her expectations of the procedure and the reality. She was smart, with-it, well educated and used to seeking and receiving medical treatment as necessary.  The procedure itself isn’t a new one. In fact – it’s the oldest cosmetic surgery that’s known to exist. It was first chronicled in a medical book in 800 BC by the Ayurveda Physician Sushruta.

So maybe her Physician hadn’t explained the procedure properly, or my Grandmother or the Physician made certain assumptions. Whatever the case, it’s an excellent example of how we should all strive to be empowered patients. Working in partnership with our Dr to better understand treatment options, learning as much about the disease or treatment as possible and connecting with other patients or support networks who’ve gone through similar experiences. Had my grandmother asked to speak to another patient who’d had the same procedure – she’d have managed her expectations a bit differently I imagine. She’d have known it was full blown cosmetic surgery, and that as major as it was, it would fade and she’d go back to her normal lovely self.

That’s why I think it’s so important to support organizations that help patients connect with each other and provides resources and support through their patient journey.  For me, this means sharing my voice, and my Grandmother’s story to spread the word about Yummy Mummy Week, March 10th – 18th March 2012

Yummy Mummy Week is a fun-packed fundraising campaign during which mums do something yummy for children and young people with cancer, whilst spending quality time with their own children, family and friends.  Money raised throughout the week will be used by CLIC Sargent to provide clinical, practical and emotional support for children and young people with cancer and their families.


To find out more about Yummy Mummy Week 2012 go to www.yummymummy.org.uk or call 08451 206 658 to register for your fundraising pack. To participate on your blog or social network, visit Nickie’s blog Typecast to learn how you can contribute your voice.

About childhood cancer
Every day 10 children and young people in the UK are told they have cancer, and diagnosis usually comes as a shock. Treatment normally starts straightaway and can last up to three years. Although survival rates are over 80%, cancer remains the single largest cause of death from disease in children in the UK.

About CLIC Sargent
CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people. It provides clinical, practical and emotional support for young cancer patients and their families, from diagnosis onwards. For more information visit www.clicsargent.org.uk

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