Friday, 15 August 2014


The other day an old friend gave me a gift . She gave me a voucher for an hour long aromatherapy massage. I was so touched by her kindness and thoughtfulness but for a few days seemed to hesitate about ringing up to make a booking.

You see I don't know how to relax and anything involving my battle ravaged, scar filled body makes me nervous. So for a few days I came up with every excuse under the sun.

  • They'll hurt me.
  • I'll have to explain about the cyst looking things on my body. (hamartomas - characteristic of Cowdens).
  • I might cry from the sheer joy/pain
  • I'll have to expose my breast reconstructions to someone other than a medical person or the husband.
  • I"ll react to the oils ( super sensitive skin).
  • Body image issues...

"Oh my goodness it's a massage, not an operation! Some people have these regularly. Why can't you just prepare to have fun and relax?"

Appointment made.

So yesterday was the day and off I went. The outside of the building looked like a Balinese haven and at the door was a pile of shoes. This stumped me. There was obviously some etiquette here I didn't know. Hmm what to do?

Why don't you know these things? Why haven't you been here before? 

I chose to keep my shoes on and entered to a quiet greeting from the receptionist. She quickly seated me and got rid of my shoes. Now I know. She also got me a drink of water, some oils to choose from and paperwork to fill in.

Paperwork. Just like at the doctors. Now I'm on familiar territory.

Or so I thought. What unusual questions...not what I was expecting. Eg am I claustrophobic? Memories of countless MRI procedures came to mind and one in particular, my breast MRI. Am I claustrophobic after that - hell yes! Tick.

Another question was about the level of pressure to be used in the massage. This had been one of my worries but in reality it's a bit like levels of spiciness in a curry. My idea of mild and someone else's could vary considerably. I ticked yes and hoped for the best.

Which areas don't you want massaged?
Legs - no - veins...sore
Bottom - eww no. Are you for real? Why would you want to massage my bottom?
Tummy - not showing that bit either.
Running out of parts? Ok to head, shoulders, neck, back, feet...all good.

The massage therapist was young and professional. She may have sensed my nervousness because she went through my paperwork and reassured me about all my worries. I then had to disrobe, a procedure often associated with going to theatre.

Stop thinking about surgery woman! Relax, relax, relax

Initially I spent every second anticipating pain. Then suddenly the music and the therapist began to work their magic. She found every knot, every tight spot, every sore bit. I didn't want it to stop ...except on my lower back where she later told me that even with very light pressure, my pain was obvious.

After the procedure I was led into another room and given a cup of raspberry tea and a chocolate. Pure indulgence. We had a chat about some of her concerns and I was taken aback by how intuitive this young woman was.

Now many of you might be thinking "why on earth is she writing about getting a massage". Well it's because such a simple act is so good for the soul and the stress. I once promised myself I would do these things on a regular basis and I did for a while...then I stopped. Life got in the way and I forgot that the reasons I once promised myself some quality " me" time  were important ones and ones which still exist today. The scientific world is still unsure about links between stress and cancer but more sure about how stress can encourage habits such as drug taking, drinking and over eating. These bad behaviours may lead to cancer so indirectly there is a linkage between stress and cancer, enough anyway to make us sit up and take notice.

But do we take notice?

It's obvious from my massage that I have got used to operating under stress all the time. This is not good folks! It's like harbouring a time bomb. It has to stop. It's bad enough the genetic condition I carry is like a time bomb in itself. I don't need to amplify my risk.

Today I thought I would have some more pampering and I took myself off for a pedicure. On arrival the therapist told me she had also booked me in for a complimentary foot massage. Bliss!

Somebody is trying to tell me something!

Till next

WANTED: ideas on how people de- stress. Leave them in the comments below.


  1. Seems luck is in your way! ;) I'm actually writing a de-stress post. I'll tag you there ok? Nice post!

  2. Excellent.Need all the help I can get.

  3. I've been doing Yoga for the last few months and it has helped me SO much. I love it and want to be a Yogi in my next life. :)


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