My mum; I just miss you so

I just miss my mum so much. I have been pottering around the house all morning as I do most weekends and evenings and there is a feeling of great emptiness in this house and in my heart.
I don’t miss dementia – dementia does not define my mum. My mum was magnificent kind and caring but there is no escape from all dementia brought to mums life and mine as a son to witness

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For mothers and daughters, wear your support.

When I joined Breakthrough Breast Cancer I looked forward to Fashion Targets Breast Cancer. Shopping for a good cause has a certain appeal-excuses to buy nice clothes I don’t normally need. The fantastic photos of the celebrities supporting the campaign have offered iconic images over the years. One that stood out for me was Kylie wrapped in the image of the target, the emblem for the campaign. Her beauty and fragility in that moment captured for ever.

I was the same age as Kylie was when I was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time. OK I know that’s where the similarities end…my backside will never look like that! But I have recognised her reluctance to be defined by her cancer and then her courage when she has acknowledged it too. She hasn’t pretended it didn’t have an impact but she has also demonstrated her beauty and talent are in no way diminished.

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I have learnt a lot from my mum

Chief Constable: Greater Manchester Police,  Peter Fahy

Like many people I only became interested in the issue of dementia when a member of my own family (my mother) was diagnosed with the illness. This started a journey which many carers travel on, a journey of some pain and confusion, sorrow , impatience, challenge and discovery and yes some laughter and lots of love. To be fair most of the people we have dealt with have been wonderful and very caring but dementia turns upside down many of your existing assumptions and ways of doing things as you go along the journey of switching from your mother caring for you to your mother being the one who needs caring for and the one who is vulnerable.

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People Like Mum

I have always perceived health and social care through a paternalistic lens.

This week I have been thinking about health and social care through the lens of lived experience, and its impact on families, in particular, my own.

I think of my mum when I think of the impact of long term conditions on a family’s ability to stay well and what mechanisms are in place to help them do so.  Her eldest daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a child. It was a bit touch and go.  Her youngest child was diagnosed (when living abroad) with ulcerative colitis.  The terror of an unfamiliar health system coupled with a devastated and frightened girl was hard to bear.  Her husband went to hospital feeling a bit under the weather, came out 3 weeks later with a heart condition.  He later went to the dentist, was diagnosed with cancer. Her mother suffered a broken hip; the road to dementia was steep and distressing.

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