The gifts you give may well have saved my life.

life saver bonfirehealthHow does it feel to save a life? Recently one of my cats brought home a wren. Wrens are tiny birds, smaller than an apricot.  This little wren was unharmed and started flying around inside the house as soon as the cat dropped it.  After shooing the cats away, (a live bird in the house is too much for them) I captured the wren in a pint glass and released it back into the wild.

I know cats are hard-wired to catch other animals but I don’t let them kill things if I can prevent it. The wren lived to sing another melody and I felt happy that I’d saved its life.

I try not to post about cancer every day because 1. its something many people never come across (and long may that continue) and 2. people, including those who have/had cancer, typically don’t want to think about something that can kill them during every waking moment.  However, over the last couple of weeks I’ve found some information that’s worth sharing and I anticipate it may apply to a variety of diseases and conditions.

Recently my research into breast cancer survivorship has caused me to explore the impact of social support, family and friendships.  We’re often led to believe that surviving cancer (or other serious conditions) relies on a combination of early detection, fast and effective treatment and regular follow-ups.  It’s true that these medical interventions are essential elements of survivorship, but they aren’t the only key components.  Several studies have identified significant correlations between survivorship and social/support networks.

One piece of research indicated that women with poor social networks and little support from friends/family were 66% more likely to die than those with strong social networks.  Another report highlighted the importance of regular contact with family and friends as well as the social connections gained from work outside the home. This research established that women who were poorly connected, had little/no family contact and few friends were more susceptible to cancer recurrence and death.  Both of these studies seemed to indicated the wider a woman’s social and support network, the better her chances of long-term survival.

So it’s entirely possible that you have helped to save my life and for that I’m truly grateful 🙂

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14 thoughts on “The gifts you give may well have saved my life.

  1. Pingback: Giving Something back Post 4

  2. Pingback: Athena Brady - Author, Writer, Speaker, Trainer,

  3. Hi Tracy, thank you for your lovely post, I will be featuring you today in my “Giving Something Back” weekly post which is about honouring my fellow bloggers. I decided last week after featuring Kozo, that I would feature a fellow blogger for Peace 2013 every week to spread our message wider. Your blog is lovely and I sincerly believe in your cause as a survivor of pre cancerous cells and as I have lost many people I love, to this terrible disease.

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    • Sorry for the delay in responding Athena, I am much slower and far more disorganised than I used to be. Thank you for featuring me, I very much appreciate it and value your support. Im sorry you have had a run in with this disease and lost loved ones, it is so prevalent today and even if we take good care and do all the ‘right’ things, for some it still seems unavoidable.

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  4. Every moment, every word and action counts and I’m happy to know that I am part of the greater network that allows us to know you a little more each day. I remember the first post of yours I read and how it inspired me. So I have to say you are also a part of the reason why I keep trying to reach out into the unknown {{{♥}}} Gloria

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  5. I completely agree with the study, Tracy. I know we are a long way away, but love has no boundaries. The love we send each other can cure anything if we open our hearts. I thank you for sharing your journey and allowing us into your heart. I hope that it helped. I know that it helped make my life brighter. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

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    • It’s funny because we’re miles away yet sometimes it feels like we live next door to each other. I could open my front door, say hi to you and your wife, make a fuss of your beautiful children and smile at their smiles (there’s something impossible about a child’s smile – I can’t be anything other than happy when I see one). The love and support you show helps in so many ways and it makes a HUGE difference. I am convinced my journey has been relatively smooth because good people are travelling with me and holding my hand. You are a good person Kozo, I know you talk about your faults sometimes but they are by far outweighed by the goodness in your heart and for that you will be loved forever by all who know you, near or far away. xoxo

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  6. This is beautiful, Tracy. It made me a little sad to think that there are women in this world who have little social contact and how this can impact their health. The support network for all of us is so important. You really are an inspiration (and a gem for saving that little wren) 😀

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    • The Beetles song Elenor Rigby resonated with me from an early age. There are so many lonely people even though our world is heavily populated. It makes me sad too knowing that loneliness can cut someone’s life short. Being there for another person isn’t really difficult, I’ve befriended the people with no-one at chemo unit and I hope it helps them in some small way.

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  7. I’m glad you managed to save that little wren as well Tracy. As I have said many times; A good deed, nomatter how small, done for any creature, is never wasted.’ All the ‘bloggers’ and those on Twitter who help and support each other are wonderful people and should be applauded for their efforts. I thank them too, for supporting my most precious daughter.
    Love and {{{hugs}}} as always. Silverback.

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    • I have an aversion to unnecessary suffering and needless death (it doesn’t matter to me whether its a plant, an animal or a person – all life is sacred). That’s how I’ve ended up running the cat hotel, becoming agony aunt and counsellor to people in the local pub (not that I’ve been able to go in there for months) and having lots of frogs and toads in the garden (rescued from the road). I believe we reap what we sow, being kind doesn’t cost anything so why be anything else 🙂 Love you Dad xxx

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  8. Great post, Tracy! I think there is definitely some truth to this. I can imagine that muddling through chemo and radiation, for example, must be a lot harder if you don’t have anyone rooting for you. Thanks for sharing — and I’m glad you have good people in your life!

    I’m also glad you were able to save that little wren. 🙂

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    • It must be awful mustn’t it and it’s surprising how many people are alone (or get deserted through the cancer journey). I am very lucky to have a good family and friends, here in my country as well as via our blogs. I hope you’re doing well, I’ve been busy with work a lot recently but will be catching up with my blog reading over the weekend. The wren was very sweet. I’m one of those people who just has to rescue animals / people if they’re in trouble, I can’t stand by and let bad things happen.

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