My favourite silk shirt – and when life throws you lemons….

Djungle print silk shirt & Other Stories (£69 down to £48)

I love a silk shirt. Not that I get to wear them often – but when I do, I love the feel of them. My other silk shirt was from Warehouse and it’s ridiculously old now but this one I spotted when I was shopping in Other Stories in Leeds. Despite, or in spite, of its bold print and bright colours, I fell in love with it and bought it on the spot. Its first outing was to a pre-birthday, birthday party, with some friends a couple of Saturdays ago. We sat outside around a fire, drank rhubarb gin and ate cake in the warmth. It was perfect. Then life took a turn for the worse and I’ve since looked back at the photos of that night, wondering whether they were the last ones where I would be truly happy and free from worry.

Barely two days later I was in lots of pain firstly with pulled muscles in my neck, plus I’d got an infection and shortly after that, I found two lumps where really you don’t want to find lumps. But this isn’t really about that because all is fine, thankfully. What it is about though is how we deal (or don’t deal) with the unknown. How we go to those darkest of places and how friends and family scoop us up and keep us going, promising that if sh*t is on its way, “we’ll be in it together.” 

But back to the shirt first. Can you see the lady drinking cocktails? That was me – well with my rhubarb gin! 

I’ve always known that I’m not good with uncertainty but no-one teaches you how to deal with potentially bad news, which may still be two weeks away. And there’s no time for a quick hit of CBT during that time. And odd things happen – you become acutely aware of the word “died” or anything relating to it. Plus there are amusing things that happen. I couldn’t get my neck sorted as I knew that it would be too painful to lie face down on the osteopath’s table. Really I needed to put the bit of me that was sore, through where your head goes. But then I would have fallen off the table which would have been a great comedy moment. Then thoughts go around in your head. I kept thinking of a phrase that I’d seen on Instagram “When life gives you lemons, freeze them and throw them back.” Well my freezer was full of lemons waiting to be lobbed at whatever was coming my way.

I also thought how lucky I’ve been in life so far and maybe it was time to take one for the team because statistics state that amongst my friendship group, one of us is going to find a lump somewhere that may not turn out to be good news.

[No doubt the youngest was asking for the first (and biggest) piece of cake. This is the cookies and cream party cake   The one that I made was half the size of the recipe!]

There were times that I wondered whether I would ever run again and whether the last long run that I had done barely a few days before would, literally, be my last. But then again, when a needle was inserted to drain the fluid off the lump, in my head I was running along the canal, counting herons. And whilst there are obviously other things more important than that, I’m keeping the children out of this or else we would all be in tears!

Two of my closest friends are committed Christians and both of them prayed that I would get an early appointment rather than have to wait for two weeks to be seen. And when that early appointment came, I did ask them both whether they had friends in high places. Equally I felt guilty for being so lucky as to get the appointment. It was a phone call at just the right time which resulted in me getting a cancellation so I didn’t queue jump in one sense – but in another I felt that I had.

The Doctors and Nurses at the clinic were amazing and before too much time goes by, and before life returns to normal, I must thank them properly and let them know how much their compassion and positive outlook made a difference to me. What I experienced was the NHS at its absolute best. Oh and we have a lovely Doctor’s receptionist too – I must take her some flowers and thank her because she swept me up on more than one occasion.

And the people around me who knew – particularly my wonderful husband – kept me going when really I didn’t know what to do with myself. Now I feel a little beaten up and slightly emotional but I’m ready to run, which is a sign that all is well again.

Is there a point to all of this? Well I suppose that it’s important for us to be aware that when we’re least expecting it, life can suddenly throw us a curve ball – and it’s amazing how quickly things can go downhill from there – so don’t sweat the small stuff. I don’t think that I handled my curve ball very well in some ways but others have reassured me that it’s all perfectly normal.

I do think that it’s important that we talk about these things and share them though, although of course everyone deals with things in different ways. But I like to think that if anyone came to me and they were in the same situation, I might be able to offer up some help, however small. So let’s keep talking, and checking, and fund-raising and having positive thoughts. Luckily I didn’t need to throw any frozen lemons and the freezer is full of peas for the sore neck – but if anyone ever needs a few frozen lemons lobbing, I’ve got a pretty mean throw.


  1. Julie Garvey
    July 20, 2017 / 5:10 pm

    Thank you for your very real and honest post and a reminder to us all to not take things for granted and get upset at the tiny stuff. Hoping your fitness and strength physically and mentally (marathon!) gets you through the next few weeks. Wishing you lots luck for good news too Look after yourself , sending you a big virtual hug xx

    • StyleGuile
      July 21, 2017 / 7:45 pm

      Hi Julie – thank you, that's so kind of you. I'm sure that all will be fine. I managed to get back into the running yesterday so I'm feeling much more "me" again. Thanks for the hug – sending one right back! x

  2. Jenny Fraser-Nash
    July 20, 2017 / 6:25 pm

    You're bloody brilliant. You carried on posting those smiling instagram photos whilst this was going on behind the smile. Like you, I don't think I handle uncertainty well, but I've found that friends are amazing at helping us through these tricky times. Xx

    • StyleGuile
      July 21, 2017 / 7:46 pm

      Thanks Jenny – that made me smile! And yes, friends are amazing! Lovely to hear from you and I hope that all is good with you. xx

  3. Pippa McNee
    July 20, 2017 / 8:42 pm

    Sending you much love and strength at this tough time Beth and hoping the good old NHS looks after you and gets you sorted. I've also always believed in the medicinal power of Gin – for mood uplift! Take care lovely x

    • StyleGuile
      July 21, 2017 / 7:48 pm

      Hi Pippa! I had a cheeky gin tonight and I must say, it was very nice! The NHS have been amazing so I'm sure that all will be fine! You take care too lovely! xx

  4. kathynewlyn
    July 20, 2017 / 9:32 pm

    "Luckily I didn't need to throw any frozen lemons" … hope that means all is OK? what a rough time you've had. Thinking of you xxx

    • StyleGuile
      July 21, 2017 / 7:49 pm

      Hi Kathy – thank you! Yes all is good! I was determined to keep on walking, even if not running! Getting out definitely helped, plus friends and family of course! Hope that all is good with you. xx

  5. What Lou Wore 365
    July 21, 2017 / 3:25 pm

    Fingers crossed everything comes back clear Beth, much love and hugs to you xx

    • StyleGuile
      July 21, 2017 / 7:51 pm

      Hello! Thank you, that's so kind. I'm sure that all will be fine. Managed 18 miles yesterday so feeling much more "me"! How are you? x

  6. Jacqueline perkins
    July 22, 2017 / 7:45 am

    Thinking of you Beth and thank you for sharing, I'm sure your honesty and positivity will be a comfort to lots of ladies in the same situation. Sending love and prayers your way. Great shirt ( and cake!!) xx

    • StyleGuile
      July 22, 2017 / 8:20 pm

      Hi Jacqueline – thank you so much for your kind words, that's really lovely of you. I do hope that my experience will help someone, somewhere. Thanks re the shirt and cake too. The cake is long gone but will hopefully soon be replenished!!! x

  7. Anonymous
    August 2, 2017 / 1:50 pm

    Things like this do make you stop and think. I had a biopsy on a lump a few years ago and successfully dealt with the wait for the appointment, but struggled a bit waiting for the results. Rather than the lemon analogy, my friend ordered me to put my worries in the 'f*** it bucket' and extract them if I needed to. Thankfully I didn't need to. Best wishes to you

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