Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Where is the Support????

The more I look into the reasons Paint C Out was created. The more determined I am to see it flourish. My Miss Marple investigative no-nonsense let’s get to the bottom has unraveled why there are certain problems in West London alone on why there is no family care. At first I thought there was no compassion within the NHS, but the more people I talk to the more complex the problem is. Yet again the red tape that protects hospitals is preventing the supportive care required.

Charring Cross has no paediatrician licence which limits the type of care they can offer families. This licence also affects Maggie’s London which is why they have shown a great deal of interest in what I’m trying to do. There are many more hospitals this licence affects in the UK, but I think this is just the beginning of a bigger issue. As one person told me it falls on the type of oncologist that is treating you to the type of supportive care you receive.

My oncologist was only interested in my care, whilst my focus was on the psychological turmoil a breast cancer diagnosis was having on my two girls. When talking to the breast cancer nurse all my girls issues seemed to be brushed aside, as nonsense. And the conveyor belt I was on just kept on moving with my girls becoming silent observers. The end result is my eldest daughter has no trust with the medical establishment. 

I look at Paint C Out and know it could become an entity of its own. And I’m so grateful for the help we are receiving in trying to make it a reality, but I know for me to achieve my goal it is going to take determination and a strong voice for people to truly understand the journey of a young family with cancer.

Meantime our collection of paintings is getting bigger..

Katy Perry signed her painting

Leonardo DiCaprio sat drying..


Monday, 18 November 2013

Let's Paint C Out!

The last few weeks have been kind of surreal because of Paint C Out! Sophia’s hobby of collecting autographs has gone from being a mother and daughter searching for a distraction from the cancer journey to a whole new exciting challenge.

Yes it does come across as crazy painting these paintings and then I and Sophia getting them signed, but it’s like a red rag to a bull. A friend said, Sarah you have put so much time and money into creating Paint C Out why can’t it work. My answer is I just don’t know if people will jump on board. I look at the face book page I have created and I can see a steady movement of chatter, but it will take more than that to set up a peer drop in centre for children with parents facing the relentless cancer journey.

I look at what we have achieved thus far with a smile because even I had doubts. Paint C Out is a candle of hope that can perish like other community projects. I just need a lot of helpers and advisers to make sure it does not. That is the challenge that lies ahead because Paint C Out can loss its momentum. 

I do not profess to be the greatest artist I’m an amateur. The rough strokes of oil paint are my way of moving forward that is all, but I do admirer those stars that have unknowingly given me the boost to continue my quest and I thank them sincerely.

Let’s Paint C Out

Jude Law, Sophia and myself chatting.

Lady Gaga took the painting and posed for the paparazzi.

Emma Thompson reaction on seeing her painting.

Doug E Harper (Paint C Out), Angela (Maggie's), Steve Sealey and Carol Sealey holding a painting that I managed to get personalized by Benedict Cumberbatch for Carol.      

Myself painting and Sophia calculating who will be next in her collection. 
 Answer: Katy Perry

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Florence Nightingale We Need You!

Are we so surprized that Colchester NHS is under fire on cancer patient care. Well I am not after what I have gone through as a cancer patient in London. 
On Thursday gone I was invited to the Imperial College, South Kensington to discuss patient care and how it should be improved. The whole experience of cancer patient care was a hot topic, but truth be known I did not know how bad it was until that day. The fact only 20 people turned up were an insult to the student doctor who arranged it, but the other two speakers who were a consultant and a Macmillan nurse made it an interesting two hours.
The statistics for London are little to be desired. London has the poorest outcomes of treatment and aftercare in the UK compared to surrounding areas in the UK. The questions amongst medical staffs at that talk was, is there serious room for improvement, and how? How can we change attitudes and improve patient cancer care?
I said it all boils down to communication breakdown. The conveyor belt of patients’ means emotional support breakdowns as well as cultural attitudes are invading hospitals. The prime proof is look at public transport in London. You walk on a bus up north you say good morning you are greeted with a smile even a reply. If you say good morning down south to a bus driver he keeps his head straight ahead with zero emotion. This exact same attitude is mimicked within hospitals in London.
I said you cannot expect perfection where treatment is concerned, but a warm bedside manner is the beginning of a patients’ experience. 
When you approach a patient’s bed without a smile and an understanding ear they think you don’t care, so they don’t care and they treat nursing staff likewise which means the attitudes on that ward fall. Treatment takes a dip because no-one takes their time because the job becomes a chore rather than about saving lives. Hospital staffs feel they are under appreciated and patients feel neglected/ignored and trust between patient and doctor is broken. There is no pride in London hospitals only number crunching and the pressure to move the patient on.
To create a coherent harmony within NHS hospitals we most start communicating across the board starting with a warm smile which helps with building trust.  Not only that, but when you mess up apologise. I have not received one apology over the treatment I received. The only option I was given was to complain to PAL. 
The consultant speaking at this talk said how long do you think it will take to make the changes needed to improve patient care. A student doctor replied six months. She explained she would not have a job if it was six months and it would take three years just to see improvements in the NHS on cancer patient care. It all fell on whether the consultants, nurses, doctors, cleaners, porters and receptionists were willing to make that change.
I tried to explain to these young doctors that they can remain being sheep by aspiring to be those consultants that don’t care about quality of care.  Or make a change…
You see it is not the National Health Service that is at fault, it all falls on the individuals that represent the NHS.
If Florence Nightingale was alive today I wonder what changes she would make.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

She's is Paint C Out!

Gosh! I’ve gone from one post a month to three in a matter of weeks things must be juicing up, so here is the latest on Paint C Out! and myself. Yesterday I went for a routine check on my imposter with the plastic surgeon. After a quick examination on my imposter they agreed the radiotherapy has created capsulation. Capsulation is where the tissue around the implant starts to reject the implant and creates scarring surrounding it. My imposter has started to throb, which is what happened last time and it ended up it being removed and cleaned up. Then we went onto discussing both breasts and we came to the decision that I could have the remaining right breast removed and reconstructed. The plastic surgeon said we could remove the implant and use stomach fat etc which means there would be no rejection. I’m not asking to be like Katie Price, I just want normal sized breasts for my frame this is a A/B cup nothing more.  For the ball to get rolling I first have to sit down and talk with my oncology team at the Royal Marsden. From there I may need a referral from my GP, but the plastic surgeon said it will not be an issue.  The fact I had already been through so much with my right breast it is all about peace of mind. I explained I had asked before about removal just after the last lumpectomy and starting the Chemotherapy, but my concerns were brushed aside.  He explained with so many women coming forward with the BRCA gene and requesting mastectomy’s etc they had to change their opinion. The fact my cancer had reached stage three of cause I would want my other breast removed just to try stop that fear. I said well they can’t say I have not tried to not go down this route, but I’ve realised it’s my family that is suffering with all these biopsies no one else.

As for Paint C Out!

Well I’m attempting to sell our story to raise money for canvases, paints and a new camera. All what I have done so far I have funded out of my pocket and I’m determined to raise this projects profile. I know this has a good positive on a bad negative journey so why not share.
Here is the outline I sent:

When my 6 year old daughter saw my mastectomy scar for the first time in 2010, she said mummy I hope I don’t get breast cancer. She did not fear cancer, but the scars that were clearly visible.
I knew somehow I had to get my daughter into a pro-active way of thinking, where cancer was not the soul topic in our home. I am a Yorkshire woman who strongly believes a foundation building confidence can replace fear. I started to research on the internet events that were free in London. I moved to London in 2007 and we live just off the central line, so central London is not far away. I stumbled on a webpage that was promoting red carpet events. I thought ok that is what we need a hobby. Red carpet events are exciting for a child because they get to meet stars off the big screen and chat to them, also being a Yorkshire woman it costs nothing. Since 2010 Sophia has walked 8 red carpets and collected over 250 autographs. These include Madonna, Katie Perry, Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise and the list goes on. 

Then in March 2013, after completing chemotherapy and radiotherapy for a stage 3 recurrence a friend said Sarah if you can do portraits why not paint the stars. At first I was unsure because I wasn’t sure if I was good enough, but with encouragement we got our first portrait signed by Johnny Depp, closely followed by Jennifer Aniston, Cillian Murphy, Chris Hemsworth and Olivia Wilde. All responded with amazement and we filmed some of the responses.

From doing this I’ve now created Paint C Out! I paint the pictures my daughter gets the stars to sign. It has become a challenge because Sophia would love to keep all the paintings, but she understands we are doing something better than that. The paintings we do we intend to sell and raise funds for Paint C Out! and Maggie’s, London. Maggie’s were my back bone when things got difficult and I attended their creative art sessions every Friday. It meant we as a family could give back as a thank you for all their support and advice. 

“Paint C Out!” Is not just about Maggie’s either. I’m also painting pictures for those who have been affected by cancer. These paintings they get to keep free of charge. This includes a painting of a star and I get them to sign it. We have George Clooney waiting to be signed and I’ve received a request for Benedict Cumberbatch. If by sharing my daughters hobby brings a smile on some ones face then it has been worth it. 

I’m still receiving treatment for my recurrence, but in no way shape or form will cancer stop me. Our next premiere will be Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.
If you publish our story the money received from our adventure will be spent on a brand new camera and more canvases plus paint for Paint C Out! Right now I am funding this project and while those who I have painted for want to pay me I want this to be a gift from the heart. 

We would also love to find an Art Gallery that would display our story as a positive for other families facing a cancer diagnosis before the paintings are sold. As it stands there is a hole where peer support for young females with mothers facing a breast cancer diagnosis. I hope at some point by raising Paint C Out! profile with our story that this hole can be addressed. I also do pro-active work with Breakthrough breast cancer raising awareness to this issue, as well as with Maggie’s. A cancer diagnosis can be lonely for a cancer patient, but imagine what it is like for an eight year old girl who has not developed breasts yet.

I think this sums the journey thus far… 

As I listen to my daughter practicing on her piano I have to thank god that I have brought up one little strong lady. Without her knowing it she has been my spurring force that has kept my sanity intact to beat this disease. She is the force in “Paint C Out!” without a doubt!
So please share our story and help Paint C Out create more smiles..