Jude Vale is a freelance writer, English teacher and the founder of Adspiro, an education and well-being services company for young people.
Jude also writes the popular blog Living With Myelo and is an advocate for blood cancer and carers.
adspiro.co.uk | adspiromedia.co.uk
I recently set myself a challenge. Instead of just snapping selfies and pictures randomly I would take a photograph everyday of something that made me happy and grateful. It didn't have to be a staged photograph or something for anybody else to see - just a moment that struck a chord and really made me feel something.
<img alt="thriving families.jpg" src="http://i.huffpost.com/gen/4511756/original.jpg" width="300" height="35" />
Being a parent is a huge responsibility and one that as women instead of mercilessly judging and 'mother bashing' one another, we need to work together to be more sympathetic of. I'm not ashamed to publicly out myself as a 'happy' working mother. It's my choice and one I hope to continue with.
Despite living in 'classless' Britain and being 'middle class' (ahem) there has always been a part of me that feels like I am masquerading somehow. I have never really felt the need to get caught up in any kind of pretension and quite honestly I couldn't care less about my social standing. That is until I became a parent.
If I'd have been more educated about the symptoms of sepsis I would definitely have seen my GP sooner and perhaps prevented myself from being as ill as I have been. I'm just grateful for how my doctor saw the signs and reacted appropriately. Let's hope today's guidelines encourage more GPs to do the same and prevent needless deaths.
A recent convert to mindful living I've been slowly trying to change my life. So far I've made some significant steps to a better existence. My attitude to work is the biggest change. Instead of mindlessly driving myself into the ground trying to do a great job, I'm still doing my job well but with a few simple tweaks.
I've just walked out into the garden and witnessed a spectacular sight - the clouds were moving across the sky and a full moon was peeping through the gaps. It reminded me of those wonderful descriptions in old gothic folk tales of werewolves and ghosts and ghouls. A simple, natural and moving image.
We heard about so many amazing groups and individuals who day in day out work selflessly to help and support others. From charitable neighbours to societies that cook up a storm for the famished. I was bowled over by what I heard, saw and felt.
When I was a little kid nothing would excite me more than when we were out and about and I set eyes on a very special poster. My stomach would bounce with joy at the sight of that special white basset hound dressed in his matching blue sweater and bobble hat, licking his lips and clutching his overflowing cardboard cup of blue raspberry icy slush.
For me this year I am definitely looking at things differently. My life and the life of my partner and everyone closely connected to us has taken a turn. Suddenly the things we took for granted aren't a given any more and that is strangely horrible and liberating at the same time.
As a family we've had a tricky twelve months health wise and this Christmas it's made me reassess what is important. So in the spirit of bagging a bargain and getting what I want here is my own letter to Santa.
Cancer, illness, disease. It does change everything but when you finally stop and accept what is happening to your family, you can't help but reassess your priorities. Nothing else in life really matters in the face of something so huge. It's the patient who matters. It's the patient's family who matter. It's you who is important.
Don't get me wrong, the voices of support are comforting. But he isn't their child. They don't have to do this. They aren't the ones who will pick up the pieces. And I am glad for them. Because nobody should ever have to have this conversation with their kid. It sucks.
It was the week before Christmas. Whilst everyone else was getting ready for the festive season, scoffing mince pies and adorning themselves in Christmas jumpers and cheap sparkly tinsel, we were sitting in an NHS consulting room watching and feeling the bottom fall out of our world. Our picture perfect future crumbling into dust.
Before I became a mum, I thought I knew what fear was. I believed I had felt it and experienced its debilitating force. I now know I was wrong. I would give anything to go back to the time when my biggest fear was sleeping through my alarm and arriving late for work. Or forgetting to pay my landlord his rent on time.
26/10/2015 12:13 GMT
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