The Ball of Balls – Let’s Talk About The Boyos

Last night, we attended The Ball of Balls in the beautiful Harvey’s Point in Donegal Town.

This innovative and brave event was created by a group of friends, born from a conversation where they all agreed that Men need to talk about cancer.  The committee who brought The Ball of Balls to life was made up of Joan Gallagher, Peter Barry, Deborah Cunningham, Moya O’Leary and assisted by Adrian Pollard.

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We enjoyed a champagne reception to beautiful Jazz music, before moving into the ballroom for a divine meal.

Noel Cunningham was host for the evening and spoke passionately about the importance of cancer services in the North West.

Gabriel McCole entertained the audience with his honest and no nonsense account of his own journey with cancer and powerful speech delivered by Deborah Cunningham as we sat to dinner, repeated the line “Men need to talk about cancer”.

And last night, we did.  We spoke openly about the importance of checking and going for checks.  And I truly hope that every man left the ball with the thought that maybe he should check himself!

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It was a wonderful uplifting evening, and the dancing continued long after we had left.  We were further entertained by The Bluestack Chorale Choir and the band who kept the floor full all night were The Lock Ins.  (If you have an event coming up, check these guys out!  Superb!)

Two things shocked me last night:

  1. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men aged 15 to 34.  I wonder how many 15 and 16 year olds would even consider themselves at risk…

      2. There is NO screening programme in place in Ireland. 

And so, alongside the money raised for Cancer Care West last night, the most important success of the night, was the raising of awareness that not only to men need to look after themselves more and talk about cancer, but the women in their lives ALSO need to up our game.

We need to talk to our dads, our brothers, our partners and our sons, whatever their ages, about the importance of paying attention to themselves.  We need to normalise talking about men’s cancer issues, just as much as how freely we talk about women’s.

I hope that this event will become an annual one.  Bravo to all involved!  Job well done.

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There is great information on testicularcancer.org  and on the Marie Keating Foundation website.

What to look out for

Cancers which are found early are the most easily treated. It makes sense to know how your body normally looks and feels and this includes your testicles. This will make it easier for you to notice any changes. A swelling or lump in one of your testicles which is not usually painful is the most common sign of testicular cancer, however there are other signs to look out for:

• Small lumps or hardness on the front or side of a testis.

• Swelling or enlargement of the testis.

• An increase in firmness of the testicle.

• A sensation of dragging or heaviness in the scrotum.

• A dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin.

It is important to note that most lumps are benign (harmless) but others may be cancerous and should be treated as quickly as possible. It is unusual to develop cancer in both testicles at the same time, so if you are wondering whether a testis is normal or not, you can compare it with the other.

 

That Time When I Wasn’t in Charge

Every mum has their own vivid memories of childbirth; some which bring little shivers of joy when we think of them; others which deserve to be put into a secret box and never brayed of tongue again.

For me, the arrival of my wee angel and the shock that she was not after all, a he, are obviously my favourite memories of the experience.  But there is one other moment that I often think of.  It makes me laugh out loud every time.

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I still feel a trickle of mortification creep onto my cheeks when I think of it.  Because, that moment, just before my little one arrived, was the moment when I finally had to admit to myself, that I was not in charge…of anything.

I had to have a c-section. I was ready and prepared.

Everything was calm and organized and exactly how I’d imagined it would be. (I grew up on a farm, so have witnessed dozens of MamaCows go through this procedure, so I was stupidly sure that I knew the basic concept of what would happen!) The doctors would perform surgery and Mini-Me would come out the sunroof, as opposed to out the door.

I’d never had surgery before, so of course I was nervous.  As I lay there, looking up at the bright spaceship lights on the ceiling, listening to the murmurs of the surgeons and anesthetist and nurses, aware of the beeping machines around me, I had a sudden recollection of the story of a woman who felt everything as the anesthetic hadn’t worked.

In my obviously, absolutely calm, reasonable and logical mind, I realized that this would OBVIOUSLY be what would happen to me.

I felt cold substance on my leg, which jerked me back from my reverie.

“1-10?”

“Sorry?”

“On a scale of 1-10, how cold is this?”

“Erm, 10”

Cripes, where the heck was my husband?

“1-10″

“Still 10″

Ok, so now my fears were becoming a reality.

“Now?”

“8, I suppose”

Who should I tell that the anesthetic isn’t working?

What if I needed some sort of horse tranquilizer to knock my nerve endings out of action. I need to get my husband in so he can sort this…Hang on!  Who owns those legs?!

Two huge, gleaming, white tree-trunk legs are floating in front of me, just above the blue divide that Mr. Surgeon has placed above my belly.  Two very strong women are holding one each and I’m suddenly aware that the legs are indeed, mine.  There’s a serious amount of maneuvering being done beyond the blue, but the top half of my torso is happily oblivious.

And so I began to laugh.  Not a subtle giggle of course. A proper crazy woman, high on a cocktail of all of the anesthetic and other drugs that I assumed weren’t going to work.

And hence, my poor husband re-entered the room, just in time for the arrival of the Boss, to find his wife laughing like a bloody hyena.

Of course, the laughing turned quickly to tears of joy and all was right with the world again very soon afterwards.

I’d had my first ever surgery.  I’d had my first baby.  And I’d learned for the first time, that even though I thought I was in charge of things, I really and truly wasn’t.

I genuinely believe it was one of those precious moments of clarity and insight, It taught me one of the most important lessons I need to be a Mammy.

You might think you’re in charge.  You can pretend you’re in charge.  You might even convince others that you are in charge, but really, we never know when someone’s going to take control of your big white legs.

And when they do, be glad that they’re there to take control… and don’t forget to laugh.

 

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I am So Badly Target Marketed Mum

Dear Bookface Ads & Algorithm

Piss off.
You’re drunk.

Because WHY you guys think I want to sign up for Quick fixes and weight loss products, is beyond Mammy.

The first thing I saw this morning was an ad for “Shit Yourself Skinny” Coffee (that I didn’t screenshot), which promised that I’d lose 14lb in a week… what? Does the coffee amputate my arse?

These ads 👇👇👇were literally cramming my newsfeed this morning. Why?

I don’t know.
Maybe Facebook thought I looked a bit bloated this morning? 😂

Good job I’m not easily offended! Talk about playing on people’s insecurities. When I looked at my phone today, I was being told that I need to sort out my big fat belly… And my arse. And that then my life would be better.

Fuck off. 🤨

If the algorithmic powers-that-be-stalking-us- through-our-phones were actually doing their job, they’d know I OWN a feckin Jim! (Well, half own, but still!) 😂

But my favourite today, were TWO friend requests from ladies who happen to have a certain Puke Plus all over their timelines… seriously? Am I not used as your training days at this point? I’m sure there’s a slide somewhere warning them DO NOT APPROACH THIS MAMMY! (Especially as my UN-I-CAN unicorn fart capsules are outselling theirs by the stable load!) 🦄🦄🦄🦄🦄

Anybuts.

I’m quite happyful with my Wee arse thank you very much Facebook. 😋

And if I’m not, Funnily enough, I don’t need laxatives and corsets to do something about it.

A pissed off Mammy.
(Perfectly happy as I am, but thank you for suggesting otherwise.)😂🦄😋😘💙

#therearenoquickfixes

I am Stop and Check Your BigWee Boobies Mum

Boobies.

I’m not going to lecture. I’m not going to spout facts and figures at you. I’m not trying to scare you.

I am however going to tell you all to #Checkyourbigweeboobies

And I hope that you will all pass it on.

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Breast cancer is one of those things that has touched us all.

Breast Cancer is also one of those things that we tend to ignore, hoping we won’t have to worry about it. When it presents itself however, we are reminded just how quickly our lives can change.

In the past week, I’ve been reminded of it.

Twice.

And both made me sick to my stomach at just how close it is and just how quickly it can decide to walk into our lives.

One was a family member whose mammogram resulted in a speedy trip to Galway and thankfully nothing sinister to worry about.

“For now.”

We are grateful and relieved, but for a few long days, even the thought that there MIGHT have been a different outcome was enough to render a few of us useless. The relief we felt can’t be put into words. It doesn’t have to be. Most of us have been there at some point.

The other was a friend of mine, younger than myself, a young, busy Mammy, who has had an absolute whirlwind in the past few weeks too. Found a lump. Hoped it was nothing. Went to Doc. Found it was something. Biopsy, fear, tests, panic…nightmare. But thankfully, she too got the all clear.

“For now.”

And yet, sitting in those waiting rooms, in those clinics, were people who did not get the all clear. Who were not told things were OK. Whose “for now” became “Now.”

And Ladies, both have shaken me to the core.

One, because my world would have fallen apart with any other diagnosis. The other, because I was starkly reminded that it’s not something we worry about when we’re older.

It’s something we must worry about now. TODAY. Together.

Here’s some fab information from Breast Cancer Ireland.

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There’s loads more information on their website.

So do yourself a favour. Check your WeeBig Boobies and get the Ladies you love to do the same.

And if there is ANYTHING causing you even an ounce of worry, get it checked out asap. Better to be told you’re grand, than to wish you had rang.

The S-Mum

#CheckYourWeeBigBoobies

I am Space Leggings in Jim Mum

Two words.
NEVER AGAIN!

“Oooooooooh Lookit!” thinks Mammy in local chainstore for disposable clothing which shall remain nameless.

“Look at the spacey, funky, pinkly-purply gym bottoms that are fablis and reduced! Oh my! Down to €5? What a bargain. Oh indeed Mammy shall have to have these. Mammy is indeed still uber-cool and chic and young enough to carry these off. Mammy SHALL be fablis and fearless in Jim in these bad boys. What a bargain!”

Silly Mammy.
Silly Silly Mammy.

Off Mammy trots to Jim, rather excited about the wearing of the rocket-fuel bottoms. Mammy is so excited in fact, that it never crosses her silly mind to try them on at home first.

“Should you not try these on first Mammy?” says Mammy’s inside voice.
“Pahah! DESIST, you annoying wench! I know what size my arse is and these leggins shall look spectacular on it” answers poor, deluded Mammy.

When Mammy gets to Jim, she pulls on the bottoms. They go up to her knees before the bottom of the legs on the leggings decide that they shall not move. In fact, they will not budge above Mammy’s ankles. And any hope Mammy has of getting the material to cover her calves, is left wittering on the changing room floor, beside Mammy’s dignity and confidence.

When Mammy does get the top part of the bottoms to go over her arse, she is suddenly aware that while yes, her legs and nether regions may in fact be covered, she still has two problems.
1. The bottoms are so beautifully stuck to her calves, that the crotch part of them is NEVER going to make the journey to HER crotch.
2. When Mammy moves, the fablis pinky purply space pattern DISAPPEARS, being replaced by wonderful see-through white!

FAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK! thinks Mammy as she continues to bounce the bottoms up, trying and failing to get the crotches to align.

“FAAAAAAAACK!” shouts Mammy aloud as it dawns on her that this is as high as they will go. Thankfully, there is a drawstring on the top of the bottoms, (which were OBVIOUSLY designed for a giraffe with no ankles or calves and the leg circumference of a fricken table leg), and so Mammy ties it tight around her belly in the hope that at least the trousers will NOT fall off.

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And so off Mammy toddles into Jim, where OF COURSE, Mr Fucking Motivator has a lovely circuit of Squats, lunges and Bear Crawls lined up for us. YES. I said BEAR CRAWLS… where Mammy and her Jimbuddies have to channel their inner Bear Cub and crawl like fecking MOWGLI through Jim, arses in the air!

“Ooooooooh, cool leggings Mrs R” coos one of the lovely proper-legging-wearing wenches.
“Oooooooooh nooooooooo!” answers Me. “I apologise in advance for the certain showing of my Hoohaa at some point during the next hour Ladies” announces Mammy. (Better to pre-empt the disaster eh? At least then, I can look like I MEANT for my table-leg/giraffe leggings to split along the pathetic seam on my unfortunate arse and offer heart failure to my training buddy half way through my squat jump.)

“3,2,1… Go!

I swear to God Ladybelles, I honestly thought that with every lunge I would hear the rip. When we were stretching, I could HEAR the material screaming. I could see the colour disappearing from every part of my legs that were moving. I could only IMAGINE what see-through catastrophe was happening on my arse. My calves were crying by the end of the session as the fecking material was trying so hard to merge into my skin that I truly feared that I might live the rest of my life with the awful, suddenly not so cool pattern, embedded onto my corned-beef skin.

Surprisingly, the bastarding Leggings DID survive the wrath of Jim.
Not so surprisingly, they did NOT survive Mammy REMOVING them from her poor suffocated legs. In fact, they had to be scissored off when she got home. Yes. I had to cut them off my calves.

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Yes. I had to cut them off.

Lesson?

When you see leggings on sale seeming too good to be true, walk on by Mammy. They are indeed too good to be true.
And the next time I’m feeling guilty for spending money on proper gym bottoms, I shall remember that I am doing so for the good of my fellow Jimgoers, my nerves and my dignity.
And leave the funky, spacey, pinky purply leggings for the giraffes.

Traumatised I tell you.

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