Belgrade at night

Come Away With Me to Serbia & Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Hello, my lovelies all over the world. You rock! You roll! And please never, never forget that!

Today I am utterly cheating on you. Last Wednesday radiotherapy ended and today is my birthday. So I am celebrating! So instead of reading this poor blog post, please go off the screen and celebrate too.

Dance like no ones watching to celebrate life. Drink your favourite hot beverage to celebrate all the good in your life. And if you feel like it, eat something lovely preferably healthy to celebrate creativity. 

And if you then have a little time left, come back and watch the video’s I have chosen to make my point today and to take you away to Serbia. Cause I won’t write much today!!!!

This month I connected my “Come Away with Me” posts with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I wrote about symptoms of Breast CancerSelf-examination and risk factors of Breast Cancer. Today I offer some videos and links on how to prevent Breast Cancer. It links in with last weeks post as there are risk factors that you cannot do anything about, and there are risk factors that you can prevent. 

The risk factors you can do something about are those which help to prevent Breast Cancer. However, scientists do not know why some people get Breast Cancer, and some don’t. Last week I realised that I did everything that was in my power to prevent getting cancer. It didn’t help not to get it, but it helped me to be more optimistic about getting through all of it. 

But I am sure there are many out there who did not get cancer because of preventive action. It isn’t easy to prove that so we just believe that is the cause to encourage you!

Ok, enough said. Here are the videos

And here are some links to find out more:

NHS on reducing the risk of getting Breast Cancer

Mayo Clinic on reducing the risk of getting Breast Cancer

Cancer Research UK on reducing the risk of getting Breast Cancer

And now we get away to Serbia.

As you can see, Serbia is like all Balkan countries a complicated one. In my opinion, that means they have a thriving music scene because music often tries to make sense of what is happening in society. I think it also means that there is much music to take your mind away from the problems which creates beautiful music. Maybe my view is a bit one-sided or naive here but make up your mind with my music list. 

Please make sure to like the video’s I am curating for you or even sign up for the channels and support their Patreon pages as these creators put in a lot of work and deserve to be compensated one way or the other. Thanks. 

And where are we going next week?

Come Away With Me 2020 Musical Challenge Country for Monday, November 2nd, 2020

I am taking a rather random route around the world, but sometimes it makes sense. Next week we venture into Bulgaria. Please find musicians from Bulgaria on the Last FM page.

As for the suggestions to take part:

  1. Join in! No matter where, when and with what. No matter if you have cancer or not! You missed the first week? Don’t worry. Just jump in when it suits you.
  2. Send us the link! The ping-back option does not always work so please leave a link in the comments of the post on the day you take part. Or leave it at the “Come Away With Me 2020 FB page
  3. Tag your post either with ” Come Away With Me Musical Challenge”/ #CoAwWiMeMuCh” / “Come Away with Me 2020 Musical Challenge” o/“CoAwWiMe2020MuCh” / . You can also use these as hashtags for Twitter and other Social Networks to give your post more exposure. If you add #blog and #music with your hashtags it will get you more readers.
  4. No matter which music or country the prompt favours you create with it whatever you please. This is supposed to be a fun challenge and no chore.
  5. I post a prompt for the next week with every “Come Away With Me 2020 post” I write.
  6. If you like, use this picture for your readers to find the posts.
Come Away With Me 2020 Badge
Come Away With Me 2020 badge

Please check out my photos and my fundraising:

You can find my photos on Dreamstime (affiliate link, you do not need to buy anything but if you do I get 10% from your purchase).

I am fundraising for McMillan and you can donate here and download Bees McMillan Coffee Morning German Christmas Download (PDF file) (no it’s not in German but about German recipes and Christmas 😉 ) here:

Just one more thing before you go: The hospital that is treating me is fundraising for a dedicated breast cancer unit which would allow same-day diagnosis and better premises for patients and staff.

Please, if you can spare a little money hop over to their Just Giving Page and give as little or much as you can. Or share the page on your social media. Your support means a lot to me! Thank you very much.

Thanks my dears, for staying with me until the end. I appreciate your presence. Please stay safe, stay kind and remember that you rock!

Re-build bridge in Mostar Bosnia

Come Away With Me to Bosnia & Herzegovina & Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

Hello out there, how are you? I very much hope you and yours are well. And if you are not, know my thoughts and prayers are with you. Here are a hug and a huge mug of your favourite hot beverage. You can do it! No matter the challenge.

So, we have managed to come to the third week of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and today I want to write about risk factors that can lead to breast cancer. 

I was always aware of my risk of getting Breast Cancer.

As you can imagine, I have always been aware of my risk to develop breast cancer. This is why I never started smoking, tried to eat as healthily as I could and never drank much alcohol. These were the risk factors I was aware of throughout my life. Well, I was also aware that being physically active helps prevent cancer. However, I always felt I never did enough. But we’ll talk about prevention next week. 

video credit: Manipal Hospital via YouTube

Risk Factors of Getting Breast Cancer that you can’t prevent

There are risk factors that you can’t do anything about. These are 

– your age (the older, the more at risk)

– your race (white women get breast cancer more than any other race) 

– inheritance (a family history of breast cancer) 

– how long you are exposed to estrogen (having your periods early and longer). 

I wasn’t aware that estrogen seems to have such a significant impact on breast cancer. But besides having used the pill for some time, it would not affect me as my periods started at an average age I guess (I was 14) and my menopause started early. I am not 50 yet and am through with it. 

Risk Factors of getting Breast Cancer that you can do something about

Then there are risk factors that you can do something about: 

  • your weight affects the risk of getting breast cancer (the more you weigh, the more the chance), 
  • smoking and alcohol, 
  • physical inactivity, 
  • eating unhealthily and 
  • using hormone therapies like HRT and the pill.

There are a couple more that I haven’t mentioned. 

Find out more about the risk factors of getting Breast Cancer with these links.

You can find out more about risk factors at these links:

NHS on risk factors of getting Breast Cancer

Cancer Research on risk factors of getting Breast Cancer

Mayo Clinic on risk factors of getting Breast Cancer

Cancer.org on risk factors of getting Breast Cancer

When I was looking into these risks, I learned that I did as much as I could to prevent getting cancer which is a comfort. And that I will do as much as I can do avoid getting it back. Because having had cancer is another risk factors. So I am determined to be more active and eat even more healthily than I did before. 

So enough of the serious stuff. Are you ready to Come Away with Me to Bosnia & Herzegowina?

Come Away With Me to Bosnia & Herzegowina

I have to admit that I didn’t know much about Bosnia & Herzegowina. Both used to be a popular holiday destination when I was young, and it was still part of Yugoslavia. My first friend in kindergarten was grom Yugoslavia. There used to be a considerable minority of immigrant workers from that area who lived in the South of Germany, where I grew up. 

Then the Balcan War broke out, and I remembered the destruction of Mostar Bridge. Also, the killings and the rapings. I am still appalled at how fast a civilised country can fall into civil war. I am still shocked at how cruel humans can be to other humans something I do not and do not want to understand. 

But it taught me that civilisation is just an illusion that falls apart as soon as someone uses our deep-seated unconscious fears of being in mortal danger. We lose civilisation if we do not actively protect it and work against all those who like us to fight against each other. 

So let’s find out a little more about beautiful Bosnia Herzegowina with these videos:

And here are some musicians I found on last.FM. It seems like most of them took part one way or the other in the Eurovision Song Contest. Curious 🙂

And where are we going next week?

Come Away With Me 2020 Musical Challenge Country for Monday, October 26th, 2020

I am taking a rather random route around the world, but sometimes it makes sense. Next week we venture into Serbia. Please find musicians from Serbia on Last FM.

As for the suggestions to take part:

  1. Join in! No matter where, when and with what. No matter if you have cancer or not! You missed the first week? Don’t worry. Just jump in when it suits you.
  2. Send us the link! The ping-back option does not always work so please leave a link in the comments of the post on the day you take part. Or leave it at the “Come Away With Me 2020 FB page
  3. Tag your post either with ” Come Away With Me Musical Challenge”/ #CoAwWiMeMuCh” / “Come Away with Me 2020 Musical Challenge” o/“CoAwWiMe2020MuCh” / . You can also use these as hashtags for Twitter and other Social Networks to give your post more exposure. If you add #blog and #music with your hashtags it will get you more readers.
  4. No matter which music or country the prompt favours you create with it whatever you please. This is supposed to be a fun challenge and no chore.
  5. I post a prompt for the next week with every “Come Away With Me 2020 post” I write.
  6. If you like, use this picture for your readers to find the posts.
Come Away With Me 2020 Badge
Come Away With Me 2020 badge

Please check out my photos and my fundraising:

You can find my photos on Dreamstime (affiliate link, you do not need to buy anything but if you do I get 10% from your purchase).

I am fundraising for McMillan and you can donate here and download Bees McMillan Coffee Morning German Christmas Download (PDF file) (no it’s not in German but about German recipes and Christmas 😉 ) here:

Just one more thing before you go: The hospital that is treating me is fundraising for a dedicated breast cancer unit which would allow same-day diagnosis and better premises for patients and staff.

Please, if you can spare a little money hop over to their Just Giving Page and give as little or much as you can. Or share the page on your social media. Your support means a lot to me! Thank you very much.

Thanks my dears, for staying with me until the end. I appreciate your presence. Please stay safe, stay kind and remember that you rock!

image of Croatian City probably Trogir

Come Away With Me to Croatia & My Story + how to self-examine your Breast for signs of Breast Cancer

Hello, my dear readers! You rock! Please remember that when you master your challenges, no matter how they look like. 

Last week I told you about the signs/symptoms of Breast Cancer for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This week we check out how to self-check for breast cancer, and I tell you more about my story. 

How to self-examine your Breast

video credit: Fortis Healthcare via YouTube

I used to do this meticulously. In Germany, I had an ultrasound examination once a year and my gynaecologist checked my breast. She also reminded me to self-examine after my period. The yearly ultrasound was done to all women who had a family history of breast cancer. 

As I told you last week, my doctors here knew about my family history but didn’t bother at all about the signs of breast cancer I told them about. They just said: “It’s normal don’t worry but come back if there is anything that worries you”. Well…

I don’t know about school today, but I think self-examination should be taught for girls and boys when they get older, so they know how to do it and what to look for. 

Most Changes in your Breast are benign

Most lumps in your breast are not cancer. My breasts are lumpy ones. I get a lot of cysts which are little sacks full of fluid that are not cancerous. They are just so uncomfortable. They can be drained, which I have done several times throughout my life. The doctor puts a needle into the cyst while looking at the ultrasound and then drains the fluid. That procedure never had any side-effects for me. It just took the pain away from the extra fluid in my breasts. 

I got a little relaxed about the self-examination

That is why I got a little relaxed about any lumps I found in my breast in the last couple of years. However, they kept niggling in the back of my mind. In October 2019, I went to my old GP and told them again about the lump under my arm. They did a blood test which should have shown inflammation if any cancer was there. It didn’t. 

Shortly afterwards I changed my GP and had it checked out again in November. The nurse encouraged me to have my regular mammogram. They usually also do an ultra-sound. There I told the radiographer about the lump I had for such a long time, and he did not ignore it but asked if he could take a sample to make sure its all ok. I agreed. Thank goodness!

A couple of weeks later, I was called to the hospital again, and the surgeon and breast care nurse told me I “unexpected cancer”. Bang. Well, they did not just send me a letter, so I suspected that cancer had caught up with me at last. 

It turned out I had stage 3 breast cancer which had affected my lymph nodes as well. This is bad because the lymph fluids can spread cancer cells all over the body. So they checked me out from top to bottom to find if it had spread. Luckily it hadn’t, or at least not in a visible way yet. 

My Cancer Journey since March

At the end of March, I had an operation to remove two tumours in my left breast. Four weeks later, I started chemotherapy which is now finished. Since October 1st I have radiotherapy and today I am going to have an injection of Zylodronic acid. That is usually used for osteoporosis but has proven to prevent breast cancer from coming back. So I agreed to have these injections for two years every six months. I have also started to take Tamoxifen which suppresses estrogen as my breast cancer is estrogen receptor-positive. 

I am not sure if I developed cancer in those two months between the examination at my old and new GP’s or if it has been there since 2017 when I first discovered the lump under my arm. It doesn’t matter. But what I would like you to take from my story is that self-examination is one of the most effective ways of discovering signs of cancer. 

The earlier you catch it, the less invasive is the treatment going to be. I know of women who just needed to have an operation and nothing more. The hospital is very thorough in its approach to my cancer as it has affected my lymph nodes which indicates it might have spread. And I am very grateful for this and believe that the treatments are worth it and will beat this cancer!

One more time: How to self-examine

And here one more time in a slightly different way to give you an incentive to start a habit of self-examination:

video credit: CANSA via YouTube

But now let’s get our minds off the scary stuff and travel virtually to Croatia. 

Come Away With me to Croatia

Croatia is one of the most favourite holiday destinations for people from Germany. I am not sure how well known it is in other countries. Croatia lies opposite Italy at the Adriatic and has many influences from Italy. 

The Adriatic coast is beautiful that is why Croatia often is called “the Jewell of the Adriatic”. I’ve never been, but the video’s I watched made me want to go.

I am sorry, I got quite tired and didn’t take much consideration on the music playlist of Croatia. The few that I chose sound rather intriguing, though:

And where are we going next week?

Come Away With Me 2020 Musical Challenge Country for Monday, October 19th, 2020

I am taking a rather random route around the world, but sometimes it makes sense. Next week we venture into Bosnia & Herzegovina. Please find musicians from Bosnia at the CultureTrip page: Bosnian Pop in 8 Artists

As for the suggestions to take part:

  1. Join in! No matter where, when and with what. No matter if you have cancer or not! You missed the first week? Don’t worry. Just jump in when it suits you.
  2. Send us the link! The ping-back option does not always work so please leave a link in the comments of the post on the day you take part. Or leave it at the “Come Away With Me 2020 FB page
  3. Tag your post either with ” Come Away With Me Musical Challenge”/ #CoAwWiMeMuCh” / “Come Away with Me 2020 Musical Challenge” o/“CoAwWiMe2020MuCh” / . You can also use these as hashtags for Twitter and other Social Networks to give your post more exposure. If you add #blog and #music with your hashtags it will get you more readers.
  4. No matter which music or country the prompt favours you create with it whatever you please. This is supposed to be a fun challenge and no chore.
  5. I post a prompt for the next week with every “Come Away With Me 2020 post” I write.
  6. If you like, use this picture for your readers to find the posts.
Come Away With Me 2020 Badge
Come Away With Me 2020 badge

Please check out my photos and my fundraising:

You can find my photos on Dreamstime (affiliate link, you do not need to buy anything but if you do I get 10% from your purchase).

I am fundraising for McMillan and you can donate here and download Bees McMillan Coffee Morning German Christmas Download (PDF file) (no it’s not in German but about German recipes and Christmas 😉 ) here:

Just one more thing before you go: The hospital that is treating me is fundraising for a dedicated breast cancer unit which would allow same-day diagnosis and better premises for patients and staff.

Please, if you can spare a little money hop over to their Just Giving Page and give as little or much as you can. Or share the page on your social media. Your support means a lot to me! Thank you very much.

Thanks my dears, for staying with me until the end. I appreciate your presence. Please stay safe, stay kind and remember that you rock!

image of Bled island in lake and surrounding mountains and forests in Slovenia

Come Away With Me to Slovenia & Beating Cancer

Hello out there all you lovely people, how are you? I very much hope you are well and if not that you get all the support you need. 

I have started radiotherapy last Thursday and have decided to take it easy with the blogging this month. I am still just a little bit more than halfway through with my 2020 Goodreads goal. That is why I am going to read, read, read and do a little exercise to keep the tiredness at bay. And listen to lots of music. And dance like no ones watching. 

Breast Cancer Awareness Month on “The Bee Writes…”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month which gave me an important topic to write about on my “Come Away With Me” posts.

So prepare for some information, some music and hopefully the motivation to check your breasts every month. And to push your healthcare providers to check you out when you find any signs of breast cancer. 

video credit: MDHCD via YouTube

The reason I am saying this is that the only two cancer signs I had was a lump under my left arm and my left breast got slightly bigger. I told my doctors and radiologists since 2017, but all of them assured me that this is normal and nothing to worry about. Of course, I left it at that because after all, they are the ones who know. And they knew I had a family history of breast and other cancers. It didn’t seem to bother them immensely. 

Push for further Examinations if you see any signs of Breast Cancer

Well, do not let yourself be lulled into security by doctors etc. especially if you feel something is wrong. Request to be checked out properly. Push for it until they do it no matter what the outcome is. The earlier they find cancer, the less you have to deal with cancer treatments. They might not be as bad as they were when my mother had breast cancer in the late 70s and early 80s. They are still a tough challenge to deal with, though. They are invasive and take time away from what you love to do. 

I do not know how Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Chadwick Boseman were able to work while having cancer treatment. I couldn’t. I hardly had a brain to manage my typical day to day life even though other side-effects weren’t that bad. So please do not take the signs of cancer lightly. Most of those signs are something unrelated, but if they are not checked out, cancer might be missed.

video credit: Mcmillan via YouTube

 Signs of Breast Cancer

This video already mentioned everything you need to know, but I repeat the usual symptoms that indicate breast cancer:

  • a lump in the breast
  • thickening of the skin or tissue of the breast, or dimpling of the skin of the breast
  • a lump or swelling in either armpit
  • a change in the shape or size of the breast, such as swelling in all or part of the breast
  • a nipple turning in (inverted nipple)
  • a rash (like eczema) on the nipple
  • discharge or bleeding from the nipple
  • pain or discomfort in the breast that does not go away, but this is rare.

taken from the McMillan page

One of the best ways to find any signs of breast cancer is a monthly self-check about which I will write next week. However, mostly they say that a partner finds the symptoms of cancer. And many find no signs at all. So being aware of what is typical for you is very important. 

Find further information on Breast Cancer.

You can find more information about the signs of breast cancer here:

Cancer Research UK on Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Now on Breast Cancer

NHS on Breast Cancer

Mayo-Clinic on Breast Cancer

WebMD on Breast Cancer

Mcmillan on Breast Cancer

Mcmillan downloads on Breast Cancer

Unfortunately, Men can get Breast Cancer too.

And if you are a man: Unfortunately you can get it too.

video credit: Mayo Clinic via YouTube

Mcmillan on Breast Cancer in men

NHS on Breast Cancer in men

Cancer.org on Breast Cancer in men

I can only encourage you to stay alert when it comes to signs of breast cancer. Also, to push for further examinations when you feel that there is something wrong no matter what your health care providers say. It saves lives, you know!!!!

But now to something entirely different

😉

Come Away with Me to Slovenia. I am quite excited about this country because it is one of the European countries I haven’t had the honour to visit. Not sure I believe I ever will. First of all, I think we’ll have to deal with this virus for a very long time. And I also believe that the climate crisis will prevent us eventually from travelling as we used to do. But who knows. Maybe I am utterly wrong. 

From what I can see from the videos, Slovenia is a lovely country. A bit a mix of Bavaria, Italy and Austria: Beautiful mountains, exciting architecture, great food and a little craziness. Their independence day is December 26th! That’s crazy, ey?

But before I start to babble a lot about a country I have no knowledge about whatsoever I let you see my video playlist about Slovenia by people who can give you much better info than I 😉

Music-wise I could have gone for a lot of traditional music. They seem to like their music and food traditions. But I am not so fond of brass music or morris dancing. Therefore I checked out the Last.FM list of Slovenian musicians and found these ladies and gentlemen:

Please feel free to investigate more musicians and enjoy!

And where are we going next week?

Come Away With Me 2020 Musical Challenge Country for Monday, October 12th, 2020

I am taking a rather random route around the world, but sometimes it makes sense. Next week we venture into Croatia. Please find musicians from Croatia on the Last FM page

As for the suggestions to take part:

  1. Join in! No matter where, when and with what. No matter if you have cancer or not! You missed the first week? Don’t worry. Just jump in when it suits you.
  2. Send us the link! The ping-back option does not always work so please leave a link in the comments of the post on the day you take part. Or leave it at the “Come Away With Me 2020 FB page
  3. Tag your post either with ” Come Away With Me Musical Challenge”/ #CoAwWiMeMuCh” / “Come Away with Me 2020 Musical Challenge” o/“CoAwWiMe2020MuCh” / . You can also use these as hashtags for Twitter and other Social Networks to give your post more exposure. If you add #blog and #music with your hashtags it will get you more readers.
  4. No matter which music or country the prompt favours you create with it whatever you please. This is supposed to be a fun challenge and no chore.
  5. I post a prompt for the next week with every “Come Away With Me 2020 post” I write.
  6. If you like, use this picture for your readers to find the posts.
Come Away With Me 2020 Badge
Come Away With Me 2020 badge

Please check out my photos and my fundraising:

You can find my photos on Dreamstime (affiliate link, you do not need to buy anything but if you do I get 10% from your purchase).

I am fundraising for McMillan and you can donate here and download Bees McMillan Coffee Morning German Christmas Download (PDF file) (no it’s not in German but about German recipes and Christmas 😉 ) here:

Just one more thing before you go: The hospital that is treating me is fundraising for a dedicated breast cancer unit which would allow same-day diagnosis and better premises for patients and staff.

Please, if you can spare a little money hop over to their Just Giving Page and give as little or much as you can. Or share the page on your social media. Your support means a lot to me! Thank you very much.

Thanks my dears, for staying with me until the end. I appreciate your presence. Please stay safe, stay kind and remember that you rock!