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Breaking the habit of a lifetime

Right now, asking for and accepting help and support for others is essential, yet I find it extremely hard. I’ve spent a lifetime being independent, self-sufficient and supporting others, so making the switch is tough, but necessary. From accepting graciously the free Patient Transport for my hospital visits to receiving offers of practical help with shopping, prescriptions and meals, I know that I must come to terms with being a recipient instead of a giver. This post is a thank you to all those who have delivered and sent gifts, helped me with items I can’t get myself and offered their support! The photo is of one of my favourite gifts so far – a #BloodyCancer bracelet made my good friend’s daughters, Sasha and Lily. Hand-delivered, together with 4 home-cooked meals by mum, Jo Po, I was thrilled! The week before, Jo’s flap jacks lasted just a couple of days – that woman can cook! I’m going to try to remember everyone who has sent or brought me gifts, but apologies in advance if I forget anyone as my brain fog is getting worse daily – a combination of the aging process and the overwhelming situation I’m in currently. My first goodie bonanza was handed to me by Sarah, a school friend who I hadn’t seen in almost 40 years; she visited just before I started treatment and we had a good, long chat which I found extremely helpful as she has successfully beaten breast cancer and so could share her first-hand experience of chemotherapy and how to cope with its impact. That alone would have been a good enough gift, but she also brought with her a boot full of treats: a huge bouquet of my favourite flowers, a collection of books, and a carrier bag full of M&S goodies, including two packets of my absolute fave salt n vinegar crisps!

Next on my list of appreciation must be Tracy, who really is an angel on earth. She has supported me all through my shielding journey, ensuring that I had items I needed from town and regularly gifting me a bag of personal treats, which have often included a box of Maltesers (my favourite sweet guilty pleasure), bath products, Lotto tickets and self-care items, such as hand cream. Each bag is accompanied with a beautiful, hand-written card of kindness and hope.

In addition, my thanks go to Zana for the two vibrant turbans which will be comfortable and glamorous alternatives to my wig. To my pal, Pat, for the visit and gift of a cream tea, Prosecco (non-alcoholic) and chocolate truffles (and the super company on the sunny deck of her and hubby, Alistair). To my sister, Sningu, for the motivational cards and gifts which arrive regularly. To Jo and my dental practice who sent me a box of love & hugs and a cancer support package. And, to all those who have bought me flowers and sent cards – I love you all ♥

So why is my unlearning of a habit so important and why is it so difficult? Well, the former is going to be critical to my comfort and coping over the next year or so, and also for my mental health. The latter is because I’m just not accustomed to being the one needing and accepting help. That’s not to say that I am not grateful for gifts, because I am, always! But I enjoy giving so much and recognizing this has been helpful to changing my mindset – I realized that with the pleasure I get from supporting others that it is only fair and right to afford that pleasure to others.

No one wants to be needy or vulnerable, most of us were raised to be strong and independent. I am keen to retain as much independence as I can, yet also need to acknowledge that I must rely more on others for the time being. Even this blog is a way of reaching out to others and also supporting myself, so I hope you know that I am grateful for everyone who engages with it and especially appreciative if you sign up to updates and/or leave comments!

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About Me


Hi, I'm Angela, also known as 'Space Angel ‘, on Twitter and 'Snakey' to my family (both monikers require a long story to explain!). I'm 58 and the proud mum of Charlie, my 26-year-old son. I live alone in my cottage in Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant, a beautiful village in the Tanat Valley in North Wales, and the location of the tallest waterfall in Wales.


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