#beinghuman by Rose Driscoll

Doing the dishes is something I hated doing, it made me feel like a non-stop washing machine I felt anything but human while doing this despised chore.  Oh, how I loathed a full sink no matter how many times I cleared it the sink would still be full by the end of each day.

Most days I did everything I could to avoid the mess, putting it off, I even thought of buying a dishwasher but even then I would still need to load them.

I thought doing the dishes was pulling me away from the things that really mattered like spending time with my boys it was also pulling me away from things I enjoyed like reading, watching tv, going out…all I could see was this never-ending full sink.

However, since Isaiah got sick my views have been changed as these few months I’ve felt like a robot going through the motions to help Isaiah survive. I’ve had to do a lot of things that I would happily rather do the dishes than doing them. Nowadays I feel the most human when I’m standing at my sink with a cloth in my hand and elbows deep in fairy liquid washing dishes beings me back a sense of normality in a very chaotic chapter of my life.
Being human is doing things you really don’t want to do even the dishes which I now embrace with welcoming arms.


washing up



Life’s Firsts

When we’re born it’s all about our firsts.  Our first poop, our first smile, our first sleep through the night.  Then we celebrate the first step, the first word, the first day at school.  It’s all about firsts.

As we get older those firsts dwindle but they are still as important.  The first date, the first job, the first baby.  They are still there but less often.  That is until some form of trauma or loss occurs.

I now find myself relishing firsts in the same way as I did when the children were first-born.  Since Felix’s diagnosis, firsts have become all-encompassing; the first haircut, the first birthday, the first Christmas.  We are currently increasing clinic visits to three weeks for the first time, Felix got winded for the first time yesterday, we are soon to go on our first holiday abroad since Felix was diagnosed.

When we are growing, these firsts are exciting and exhilarating.  This time around I approach these firsts with caution and trepidation.  I can remember last year as the first Christmas loomed upon us – I was pleased and relieved to see it come and go.  The seconds are easier, this is now the #newnormal.

This occupation we have with firsts are apparent not only following trauma but also through loss.  Any first moment, experience or occasion without a loved one is significant and tough.  My heart goes out to all of those experiencing firsts through loss.

We all have and do live through these firsts.  When we are younger, firsts tended to be emblazoned with happiness and delight.  As we get older our firsts become shrouded in hope and resilience.  It is this hope and resilience that is #beinghuman.  In the most emotionally charged moments, we survive.  We survive because we are driven by our inner soul and our we are motivated by our mindset. We know that we have to live through these firsts before they become a last.

As our first foreign holiday approaches, I am drawing on everything that is #beinghuman so that I enjoy and relish how lucky we are to have this first.  I have to bury my worries and caution and replace my feelings with the happiness and delight that I remember from those wonder years.

I really can’t wait for the second though!

#beinghuman #doit #blogit

Life's firsts



#BeingHuman ~ A Guest Post by Sarah Burbidge #2

The Heathrow airport scene in Love Actually is what being human means to me. The hugs and the excitement of being reunited with those you care for, being loved and supported. Whenever I walk through the airport gates at a UK airport, I always feel that someone will be waiting for me, which is silly as I’ve got my train ticket booked and everyone will be working!!
I suppose the thought arises as you’ve been away and you are sure you’ve been missed or hope someone missed you.
We do need love to feel human, be this from family, friends or just having someone there to look out for you.
What if due to circumstance you don’t have that, if you choose a life of solitude, does this make you less human?  In my opinion yes it does, but a Buddhist monk would disagree.
You need positive connections to feel human.
Charities are set up to support those who don’t have support from others. If they didn’t have this then they must hate the world. Surely this is when drug abuse,  violence or/and you get radicalised into a group who latch into your ill beliefs and situation.
When I hear stories of terrorist or racist violence these people to me are not human. I’ve googled the definition of humanity many times in recent years, trying to comprehend ‘why someone would take someone’s life’. Within the headlines, bombers are often called cowards. Does this mean that to be human you need courage, I think so.
We started on this planet fighting with dinosaurs didn’t we and sending our husbands off to hunt for food for our families and fight for our country. That must have taken a lot of courage on both sides.
You need courage to feel human.
I’ve talked about terrorists, but what about bullies are they human? Yes they are, they are humans making mistakes, based on people making mistakes on them.  But if you don’t follow my moral code then no you are not human as you lack compassion and empathy.
You need to show compassion and empathy to be human.
But what if you lack the skill to show empathy. What do you become? What if you don’t have the ability to feel, see, touch. Are you less human?
No no you are still human on a different/unique scale to most.
So in summary being human is to exist with other humans and appreciate the world and beauty around you on whatever scale that may be.
Thanks Kerry for making me think 🙂 however I don’t think I’ve got an answer…..

A Guest Post #BeingHuman #blogit #1

I was recently asked if I was interested in supplying a blog for a fellow oncology mum’s blog page. She’s a highly respected and successful blogger so it’s nice to be able to get to a wider audience and increase my own visibility, but truth be told that isn’t the reason that I chose to write. I’ve mulled over the topic for a while thinking of what angle I can take on the topic, coming up with some ideas but nothing really felt right or held any cadence, that is until 10 minutes ago when I got a text from a young chap I met at the weekend – calm down, much more harmless than you think!

You see, we were at a charity event called the LimbPower Junior Games which is an annual event at Stoke Mandeville Sports Centre. It’s a sporting event for those with limb difference, in which children get to try a vast range of adaptive and inclusive sports. We went last year, when M was just finished chemotherapy and was only just coming to terms with being an above knee amputee. The whole family participated and loved it so much that we were determined to go back again this year. It is a fab day and LimbPower really is a worthwhile and forward-thinking charity, so if you know someone who has limb difference (congenital or acquired) they are worth looking up (limbpower.com).

Danny spent a considerable amount of time chatting to M and discussing how she can communicate more effectively with our Enablement Centre in order to get the most from the provision of a sports limb. He has since texted me asking for further contact details so that he can forward information to help us in selecting limb components etc, and it was then that I had my lightbulb moment (which M will find even more amusing as only this morning as I was driving her to school she asked what I was doing with a lightbulb in the car’s centre console “Do you hold this up above your head Mum, and wait for a great idea?”, “Oh if only it were that simple Love” I replied – but I think she might have a point, so I might not remove it just yet!!).

But Danny’s text today made me realise the ‘being Human’ has what has gotten us through M’s cancer / amputation … Being human to me, is about having frailties, recognising them in yourself and seeking help, but also supporting others. There have been so many individuals who have picked us up, comforted, shown love, care, compassion and thoughtfulness to us (all started out as complete strangers – many have become trusted friends and caring advocates). These connections were often forged when we are least expecting them and probably when we most needed it. I personally don’t believe in divine intervention but to clumsily paraphrase … maybe there ‘are’ more things in Heaven and Earth than in my philosophy. All I know is when I needed strength and guidance it came to me – through human contact and interaction. It only takes a few moments looking at current global events to be reminded of the quote “When I was a boy and I would see scary things on the news, my mother would say to me ‘Look for the helpers, you will always find people who are helping’” F. Rogers.

I also feel that truly ‘being human’ is contagious. I see first-hand those that have been helped reaching out and helping others, through charities or trusts, bereaved oncology parents go forward with their grief and try to make a difference to those who are still going through treatment, those who are widowed set up groups to elicit further ongoing support … the list goes on. Behind every charity or support group you encounter I believe there will be individuals who have experienced pain and loss and want to assist others.

For me too it is also becoming important to contribute and support others, feeling united by our common experiences and with that aim of trying valiantly to help and support those who are going through similar circumstances. I didn’t choose to become an oncology mum, but now that I am, I have developed a skill set and experience base that strengthens my daily life. I know what diagnosis day feels like, what surgery day fears are, and how every x-ray brings ‘scanxiety’, and I have learned many techniques in coping and not coping. These have been born out of the human beings that have surrounded me through my daughter’s diagnosis and treatment and beyond.

So, my reason for doing this blog is for someone I have not yet met, but I feel to be a kindred spirit who has soul, grit, love and smidgen of vulnerability, whom has listened and counselled me and who I know will continue to do so, and therefore I feel universally lucky to have this fellow human being as my friend.