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My Cancer treatment

Why I can be happy for you, but sad for me at the same time

Over the last year I've watched friends flourish in ways I know that my life won’t be doing, and I wanted to just talk for a little moment about how hard this is for someone living with incurable cancer. Not so that they stop celebrating, or that people feel sorry for me, but more so that people understand when I retreat from certain situations – I am not being rude, I am just protecting myself.

Since my diagnosis, I’ve watched friends buy beautiful new houses and get amazing promotions or start fantastic new jobs or build themselves epic businesses or change careers. I’ve seen friends get pregnant and get married and celebrate big life achievements, or big birthdays.

But, let’s face it, barring a lottery win, there is not going to be a upgrading house move in our future, not with me working part-time – and working part time realistically puts a stop on job promotions or a career change. Just the fact that my current job pays my health insurance and has sick pay* would make it a crazy decision to move from my current role. And well there will be no babies - cancer has seen to it that babies are just something that aren’t in our future and has to be come to terms with.

And, don’t get me wrong, I have been so, so happy for them, I have celebrated with them to the best of my abilities and I love them for moving their lives forwards - but it’s also been really painful at times to watch people do all these things because I know so that so many of these events are ones that I won't get to celebrate in my life. I can't help but be jealous and have a tinge of regret too. Which makes me withdraw from situations, and then I worry that people don’t think I am happy for them.

It's just a really strange situation that I never anticipated being in, and I am still figuring out. And I know I won't be the only one. 

I just want to say to everyone I know, please don't stop telling me your awesome news, just know why I might have to take myself out of certain situations, or drink my weight in beer....... 

*which I am incredibly grateful for and I know I am so lucky to have so please don’t bother me with telling me how privileged I am. I know I am more fortunate than some, but I also have incurable cancer so, lets face it, I am not winning any luck competitions.


The Hierarchy of a Cancer Patient

Well, this might be a little controversial, but I don’t think I’m going to be saying anything that isn’t true. It’s something I have and still experience regularly in the cancer world - especially when dealing with the press and national brands 

It seems that there is a check list that gets run through when they are looking for people to feature. 

I assume this is so the myth of what a cancer patient looks like can be carried on, but I can't totally say......

So lets take a look at the hierarchy of the cancer world as seen through the press calls I received l for BCAM. 

First, lets start with the type of cancer you have.

Obviously, during BCAM you hear the story over and over again, that having breast cancer means it's the ‘good’ cancer. You know, the one they can do lots for. I heard a lot about the ‘good cancer’ when I was first diagnosed. Because everyone knows breast cancer is the best one to get. It’s the one you don’t die from, right? It’s the one they can cure. Sure it is!

And then when I got my metastatic diagnosis I heard something similar – ‘at least it’s only in your bones’. Yup. At least the cancer I have, that has spread and is now incurable is only in one of the places that it can go to kill me. Yup, still super lucky

And do not get me started on the people with or after a primary cancer who have told me that ‘at least I don’t have to live with the fear of my cancer coming back’. Because living in fear of your cancer returning – which, granted I only had 8 months of, is worse than living with the knowledge it has and is trying to kill you!!

Then there’s the issue of your hair.

Now, any self-respecting cancer patient will know that unless your hair fell out during chemo, you didn’t really ‘suffer’. 

Or that’s what is portrayed to us in the media. I know I've never had to brave the shave so I don't quite know what it's like to be bald. But take a minute to recognise that those of us who cold capped suffered just as much. We had to sit with that ice pack on our head  AND then we've had to deal with the crappy regrowth afterwards. So far I have had 2 full blown party in the back mullets in my lifetime, and neither were given to me by Toni and Guy in the 2000's.

And don't get me started on the drugs that don't make you lose your hair that so many of my friends are on. How do they equate in the "bald is beautiful" world that has been created?

But so many of the emails asked for a photo of you with no hair..........

And, if it's breast cancer - your boobs

It seems the like the best way to make people aware about breast cancer is to ask you to get your tits out. Because it's a tricky situation, figuring out which bit of the body breast cancer affects. Or so it would seem that the national press thinks, given the amount of emails that go out asking for people who are willing to supply a page 3 style shot. 

Which leads me to believe if you get your tits out, you definitely rank further up the hierarchy when looking to get your story out there. Especially if there are scars to get out too.

I wonder when bowel cancer, or lung cancer, or brain cancer patients will be asked to get their affected areas out?

A London-centric address

Yes, we all know that nothing happens outside of London, and if you can't get to London by 4pm tomorrow for the photoshoot, you're no use to anyone! 

And now, lets chat about a legacy........

Yup, there is nothing the press like more than to talk about how sad it is that someone with cancer has children. As if it those of us without children don't quite make the grade on their sadness scale. Lets ignore the infertility we're facing. lets ignore the fact that we have full lives without children. Lets ignore that our cancer is still affecting those around us to a crazy degree. 

So, yes, I know, this isn't ALWAYS the norm in the press, but if you'd have seen some of the emails I've had over the last few years, you'd be amazed or horrified. One, last year, by a major international fashion designer sent out a casting call for people with 1. A mastectomy. 2. A bald head. 3. Visible scars.......... which all just perpetuates the myth around what a real cancer patient looks like - right? 

But all this explains why, of all the press opportunities I've received of late, I've only taken part in one of them!

Metastatic Breast Cancer Day Posts

Today is Metastatic breast cancer awareness Day. I've posted quite extensively about metastatic breast cancer on instagram today, so I thought it might be worth posting them all here, in case anyone stumbles here and would like the info too! 

I'm going to be sharing some facts about MBC with you to try and help spread awareness, to spread knowledge of it and to do what I'm always trying to do with this account - let you in on what life with MBC is really like - especially to those of you that have had a primary diagnosis and think a secondary is a terrifying prospect.
YOU might have heard some of these things before, I might sound like a broken record, and for that I'm sorry. But if I reach, and educate, just one more person (which, let's face, it given instas current record for showing my posts, would be a miracle) then I've done my job here today.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
A bit about me and my incurable cancer diagnosis.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

My name is Emma. I'm 38 years old. I've been living with cancer now, in one way or another, for over 3 years now.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

My primary diagnosis (DX) was in August 2016 after my dog, Flash found a lump. My secondary DX, telling me that my cancer had spread to my sternum bone and a variety of lymph nodes throughout the top half of my body, came 8 months after finishing treatment in early 2018.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

So far, to date, my cancer treatment has consisted of a lumpectomy, 2 rounds of IVF, 12 sessions of chemotherapy (2 different types), 23 sessions of radiotherapy, 8 months of daily tamoxifen, 18months of herceptin and perjeta every 3 weeks, 18 months of Zoladex and denusomab injections, 18 months of daily letraxole tablets, daily antidepressants and tablets to help my heart function, numerous scans, and far too many appointments with oncologist, surgeons, my oncology nurses, and GPs to count.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

But I try not to let all this define me. I'm trying to live as normal and as full a life as possible! And show people that metastatic cancer may mean treatment for life but it's not a life sentence!

But what is a metastatic cancer? And would you believe it if I told you every woman in this photo had it?

There are many names for this type of cancer - secondary / stage IV / metastatic / terminal (only if you're trying to win an argument though!) They all mean the same thing........⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

A secondary cancer is when a cancer spreads, metatasizes, from the original location to somewhere else in the body. Once it has spread it is no longer "curable" and, whilst it might become dormant in a person's body (NEAD - No evidence of active disease) it will always be there and someone with MBC will be in treatment for it for the rest of their life!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

In my case, my cancer went from my breast to my bones, But breast cancer tends to like spreading to the bones, the lungs, liver and the brain. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

How do you get stage IV breast cancer?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Simple answer - 30% of people with a primary cancer will go on to get a secondary cancer. If you have a primary cancer diagnosis, this isn't a fun fact to be faced with, I know. But it's unfortunately, true. And more needs to be done to educate people about the signs of a reoccurrance.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
About 8% of MBC cases are diagnosed 'de-novo' which means they are diagnosed as having incurable cancer right from the start.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Once someone has been diagnosed with a metastasis, treatment is no longer about "curing" the disease, but managing the cancer and preventing it from spreading.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Some hard facts about MBC......⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • About HALF A MILLION people, women and men, die worldwide from MBC every year.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • 31 women in the UK die every day of MBC. Men who die from it aren't, for some reason, counted in the UK!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • MBC is the biggest killer of women under 50. 16% of the people that die from it are under 50.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • This mortality rate hasn't really changed in 20years despite huge medical advances.
  • The average life of someone after they are diagnosed with incurable cancer in 3-5 years⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • Only about 7-12% of funds raised by the big cancer charities goes to finding a cure for metastatic cancer.
NONE OF THIS IS OK. We deserve more!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

What do people with MBC need?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I'm going to paraphrase from the awesome campaign #MetupUK are running at the moment.......⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
What we need is;⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • Greater Awareness of the disease.
  • A wider understanding of the symptoms and signs of a spread.
  • More access to drugs that can extend our lives.
  • Policy change from NICE. (Our lives are worth more than the £30k limit they put on them).
  • Accountability from the charities, drug companies and NICE. 

With the right treatment we can all be living longer than the averages we're give. We all want to be alive. We just need help in getting the message across to the people who can change policies.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
If you want to know more, please visit⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

I'm going to close off my MBC day posts by letting you in on some the things I've done this last 18 months despite having incurable cancer;⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • sailed some (but not enough!)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • stood on a stage and talked about life with MBC⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • visited Copenhagen⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • visited Berlin⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • visited Milan (twice) for MBC conferences⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • holidayed in Bordeaux⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • survived Glastonbury⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • been to 11 beer festivals⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • been bridesmaid to one of my besties⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • eaten at a 3 Michelin star restaurant⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • spent awesome times with friends⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • cuddled my dogs at every opportunity I can⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • made some beautiful jewellery⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • visited Washington DC with work⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • decorated a kitchen⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • beaten Jim at minigolf⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • made my own gin⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • joined a MBC campaigning group⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • seen the spice girls⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • starred in about 359 photobooth pictures⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • made some incredible friends who are also #busylivingwithmets! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I'm sure there's a lot I've forgotten, but I hope, as always, in sharing my life with incurable cancer is to make it seems less terrifying prospect, and something to be feared a little less.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Thank you for being here today for these posts, and for supporting me on days that aren't all about cancer too!

And if you'd like to watch the live I did, answering some of your questions about life with MBC - it's here;


Happy 1st of Pinktober

I'm sure by now you know that October is breast cancer awareness month. It's the time to paint everything pink. If the adverts are to believed you should be wearing silly pink wigs, t-shirts, feather bowers......Pink this. Pink that. Pink everything. All to beat breast cancer.

But this doesn't sit right for me...... because, for 1. My cancer isn't pink, or fluffy, or cute. And we shouldn't trivialise it as such.

And maybe more importantly, 2. We need to know more about where all this pink money actually goes?

Don't be afraid to ask how much of your hard earned cash you spend on the pink actually goes to helping and supporting people with breast cancer? To finding a cure? To giving those of us with metastatic breast cancer a better, longer, life?

Because I'm going to bet, it's very little. And right now, with median life expectancies of someone with mbc being 3-5 years, we need more money for research. Not more pink or more awareness. (Apparently, currently, only 7-12% goes to metastatic breast cancer research, which is definitely not enough!) So, please, #thinkbeforeyoupink.

And if in doubt, leave the pink on the shelves and donate directly to a smaller charity who are directly helping people......maybe Make Seconds Count, or CoppaFeel! or Trekstock

Or find your local cancer centre and donate to them. If you're in Sheffield, I'd recommend Weston Park or Cavendish Cancer Care.

πŸ“Έ: @binkynixon

Travel: My first experience of Glastonbury Festival's disability access

It’s been a hot MINUTE or two since I last went to Glastonbury festival. Too long really – my last visit was in 2015. But I figured it was about time to rectify that and decided that 2019 would be the year I went back. I was definitely pushed into the decision by the fact that I knew I’d be able to make use of the disabled facilities this year, as I’m now classed as disabled, and have the paperwork to prove it.

In my head what this meant would be camping facilities closer to the main festival – our regular campsite is up at darble, and quite frankly, may well be the other side of the planet when it’s 2am and you’re shattered and it’s a good hour walk back from Shangri-la. Access to the disabled toilets - important when you’re on the meds I’m on. And a mini bus service to get your things to the campsite – which when you face the sort of fatigue I do, sounds like a godsend.

But in reality, it was so, so many more things! Some little. Some big. All making for an easier festival experience for me and everyone around me.

So here are some of the highlights of staying in the accessible camping areas over a normal Glastonbury experience, if you’re thinking about applying for it.
You’re able to access the festival through a specific gate that’s at the disabled carpark – here you can collect your wristbands, for yourself and the people camping with you (you can have up to 3 others with you). There are a number of things you can apply for when you ask for your ticket, and as the ‘disabled’ person you get different wrist bands to the people with you. Mine were 2 blue wrist bands, one that showed I was the disabled person with the disabled loo code on it, and another that gave me access to the access routes, and if I’d asked for them, the viewing platforms. From here you can get the mini bus to the access campsite with all your stuff too!  
We arrived on the Thursday afternoon, which is the latest we’ve ever got there to set up tents, so I won’t lie I was a bit worried about where we’d be camping, and my fears weren’t alleviated when we arrived at the site with our stuff to be told we had to camp in a very specific location to allow for there to be pathways between the tents – which when you’re used to throwing your tent up in a group, wherever you like, feels a bit draconian. But give it a couple of hours, when you’re coming back to your tent in the dark, and those pathways are a godsend. No more tripping over guy ropes or the edges of tents. Also brilliant when you’re trying to get to the loos quickly!
Talking of the loos – there are loads in the camp site. And they’re pretty much always clean. I think we only found one messy loo the whole time we were there. And there are also showers in there – some that the people with the access bands can use, and some others for their friends. The showers had queues in the mornings, but I don’t think I waited for longer than 10 minutes for one. And they were individual cabins so it wasn’t the Shawshank style showers that I’ve experienced before at festivals (I’m looking at you Benicassim!) As it was so hot, I wonder if the showers were busier than they would have been, but it was so wonderful to have a cold shower after spending the day wandering about on the farm that was hotter than the surface of the sun!

There’s also a tent you can go to and get holistic therapies (although I think they fill up pretty quickly as they were full most days!), get hot water for teas and coffees, and very importantly – charge your phones or portable chargers up. There was also a water filling station, and a couple of sinks for washing up in.
Now, on to the other awesome things that staying in the access gives you;

I previously mentioned one of the wrist bands, if you’ve applied for it in advance, lets you into the access routes. These are pathways that run from the pyramid stage to the other stage, and then also to up by west holts, meaning you don’t have to battle the crowds between sets. But they’ve got bars and cafes back there. Nicer toilets, and pretty quiet water refill stations, plus loads of seating.

They make getting between the stages really easy – less of a battle through the hoards to get from one place to another. They gave me places to go and chill out when I needed a rest and kind of most importantly, they served extremely strong frozen margaritas, and a speedy iced cider! You can take one person through the access routes with you, and this is via a lanyard – so you can change who comes in with you!
And there are bus services that take you from the access camping to the far corners of the festival. One takes you out towards the park, and another takes you to the circus fields – which then has a cut through to get you to the late-night areas. We only got the bus down to the circus field area, but we got it a few times and it was so handy for me, just to conserve some energy on the really hot days! Plus the one that gets you over to the circus fields take you on a route past the actual Glastonbury farm buildings, which gives you a totally different view of the festival!

There were a couple of downsides to the access camping – you can only camp with 3 other people so our group – which was about 15 people strong – was split up. And it’s so close to the John Peel stage and some of the late night stages that you do get music pretty much all night. And because it’s for everyone, there are a lot of families, so there are children running about early on – which you don’t get in the normal camping really, as people with kids tend to go to the family camping fiends. But they are so easily ignore when you add up the benefits of being in there!
All these little things add up to make it such an easier experience for someone who suffers from fatigue, side effects from my treatment and doesn't have the stamina she use to! We'll be 100% applying for access camping next year - and fingers crossed we'll be taking a mobile home with us next year!

Happy Cancerversary to me. Or how my dog diagnosed me with cancer!

3 years ago today I was diagnosed with my primary breast cancer.
And do you know why I was diagnosed with breast cancer?
It wasn't me checking my boobs - there was no feeling anything on the first. No annual mammogram. No change in appearance.
No. What there was was this guy. Flash

I was diagnosed with breast cancer because this little beast here decided to use me as a climbing frame whilst trying to lick me to death one Saturday morning.

Whilst he was climbing up my body, he stood on my chest. Right between my boobs. Just where my underwire finished. And it hurt. It really hurt. Because there was a lump.

Initially, I put it down to the spoils of a physio session, they'd cracked my back too hard and had made my ribs move. That had to be what it was. (Yes, I am aware now that the body does not work in that way!)

It was just a really small, but really painful lump. One that once it'd been pointed out to me though I couldn't ignore. Mostly because it kept growing, and kept being painful! It sat right under my underwire, so every bra I wore irritated it. Every time I moved it would catch in some way or another. After the physio had confirmed it was nothing to do with him, I assumed 1. because it was painful, and because 99% of the things you read on the internet say a painful lump isn't cancerous, and 2. because I have a history with cysts - I assumed it was a cyst.

And eventually about a month later, after it had tripled in size, I finally went to the GP, assuming they would drain it and I'd go on my way. Right there and then, the GP told me was nothing to worry about because it was painful, but he'd refer me to the breast clinic. The normal referral path for anyone in the UK with a lump is 14 days, but somehow that GP put me a 12-week breast clinic referral. Luckily however my work has Bupa and my boss, probably annoyed by me fidgetting, told me to just go and get scanned at the local hospital........

I don't need to tell you that the lump turned out to be cancer, do I?

And so, 3 years ago today I sat in a room with a surgeon, and a wonderful nurse, a nurse who I still see every 3 weeks, and got the news we knew was coming but hope we'd not hear!

The news that changed our lives.

The news that brought about what I thought was the hardest year of my life, that included mamograms, biopsies, a lumpectomy, IVF, 6 rounds of chemo, 23 sessions of radiotherapy.........8 months of believing I was cancer-free, before being diagnosed again with my secondary cancer.

My metastatic cancer diagnosis was something that was a long time coming really. Maybe something I haven't really spoken about here. Not really. Maybe that is a more detailed post for a later time!

But there you go. A long post about how my dog diagnosed me with cancer!

Cancer: The Inherent Difference Between Primary and Secondary Cancer

A couple of weeks ago I saw a retweet from someone that read something along the lines of ‘people with metastatic cancer are lucky because they don’t have to spend the rest of their life worrying about their cancer coming back’. 

The retweeter was saying how true this was, and talking about their fear at every ache and pain. But reading it not only pissed me off, immeasurably, but it also seemed to point out a huge difference between people with a primary and secondary cancer. One I feel like I’m able to talk about, having been part of both the primary and secondary club.

So, I know that everyone with cancer, no matter what stage, is dealing with cancer, and that massively sucks. But I have to say, having had a primary, and knowing loads of people with primaries – the way you think and feel and behave once you’re living with an incurable cancer, is so far removed from the way you think and feel and behave with a primary cancer. And I think that this is massively overlooked by people with a primary cancer.

One of the inherent differences between a primary and a secondary is that with a primary cancer, your treatment comes to an end. There is a finish line that you cross. In some cases, there are bells rung to symbolize it. There are parties thrown. There are end of treatment holidays taken. There is talk of getting back to normal. Albeit a new normal. But there is talk of returning to your life. And even though the horrors of having cancer never leave you, and they change you, and stay with you. The side effects may take some time to leave you. And like the tweeter said, there may always be a small cloud, somewhere at the back of your thoughts that the cancer may return.

But, and here’s the big but – YOU ARE CANCER FREE. You get to live your life cancer free. And, as I was just about finding out when I got re-diagnosed – you get to decide if having had cancer defines you. (And that part there is the really tough part. Figuring out how having had cancer fits into your life. It’s not something that you get told about, you just have to try and figure it out yourself!)

Now living with incurable cancer is a different game. One that I hope no one with a primary has to find out about. But a totally different game.

For starters, no matter how much you try to put the thought out of your brain, you know that there is a disease in your body that is trying to kill you. All the time. And as the name suggests, it’s incurable. So whilst it might go to sleep, it might be classed as No Evidence of Active Disease (NEAD) it’s still there, just waiting inside your body to rear its ugly head and drag you down with it again!

And even if you’re NEAD, you are still going to be treated, to make sure that the cancer stays that way – so there’s no end to the treatment for you. Just varying lines of treatment that stretch out in to the future. Treatments you hope work for as long as possible and help you beat the 3-5 year average timeframe people with a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis get given!

And you know those side effects that I mentioned gradually get better once you finish your primary treatment, they linger. Maybe because treatment never finishes so the side effects never finish, or maybe because your cancerous growths are causing you pains, or maybe sometimes it’s just because the all-consuming mental weight of knowing that this is your life and no matter how well you feel you’re just essentially living scan to scan waiting for the news that its grown or spread gets too much.

I’ve still got some friends from my primary cancer days, and I’ve made a few new ones, but because of the huge gulf of a difference that comes with a secondary diagnosis I try not to surround myself too much with people who are having primary treatment. They are either too optimistic about their post cancer future, which I love to see, but feel bitter about. Or they are super melodramatic about their post cancer future, which I just get frustrated at! But I also totally understand this because I was pretty melodramatic about it too - it makes me cringe though, how melodramatic and, quite frankly, insensitive I was to anyone I knew at the time with an incurable cancer.........I was, and I'll admit it, a bit of a nob!

So sometimes it’s just easier to not get too close to people with a primary cancer. Especially incase you see them agreeing with the thought that those of us with a secondary are lucky because we don’t have to fear the return of our cancers. 

Review: PitPat Pet Activity Monitors

Ad - we were given these in return for a review but all words are our own

Last month we were sent a couple of PitPat Dog Activity Monitors to try out, obviously on the dogs, not ourselves……..They arrived the day we flew to Copenhagen, so we didn’t get to try them right away, but we’ve had 3 weeks of trialing them now, so I wanted to let you know how we’ve been getting on with them!


So, off the bat, I should tell you, in case you aren’t aware of our feral little beasts – their names are Grandmaster Flash, and Grandmaster Melle Mel – Flash and Melle, they are 7 and 3.5 respectively, and they are Jack Russel x Pug crosses - which means they are kind of small dogs. About 10kgs each (depending on how much they’ve eaten lately), so I was a bit worried that the PitPat’s, although they are only 5cmx5cm, might look really big on their collars, or be quite heavy for them, but, as you can see from the photos, they fit really nicely, and save from a few times they scratched at them when they first went on, they pretty much ignore them now, which is good.

We’ve now been using the PitPat Monitors for the last few weeks. There have been hikes round the reservoirs, there have been walks through the woods, we’ve scrambled through streams, Melle has swum (yes, it is waterproof), Flash has chased balls, they have played with other dogs, they have played with people. The dogs have well and truly put their trackers through their paces!
And we love them.

It is so so much fun checking their data at the end of the day. And interesting. Because pretty much every day it tells me that Flash has done more running than Melle, which is crazy because Flash, in my eyes, is super lazy – but it tells me he does more running, which might make sense because he dithers so much then has to sprint to catch up with us. Whereas Melle, he’s just constantly on the go on a walk, noodling about, always on the go - but maybe not running.

And in the house Flash will relentlessly chase the ball if he’s given the chance, where as Melle will happily cuddle you all day, but Melle will get up and wander round the house with you every time you move, even if you try and explain you're just getting up to grab a drink, but Flash, once he's settled, it'll take a lot to get Flash off his napping position on the sofa!
I knew this about them, obviously, but It really is fun, at the end of the day, checking their activity and sometimes seeing how it matches against what I’ve been doing. Because I swear there are days I've walked further than them, just down to the times I've had to go back to them and figure out what on earth they are up to!
So, now I've told you about how we use them, and the things we've found out from them. I'll show you the actual app, because it's so easy to use. Obviously we have 2 dogs, so our app interface has 2 dogs set up on it that we can toggle between. But each dog has their own dashboard, which we can look down and see their activity over time. And then, you can delve a bit deeper into the actual stats from a specific day.
Here you can see how their activity can vary, especially on a day, like the one at the top, when my mum has spent the day indulging Flash's ball obsession!

This last shot shows the badges you can 'win' for hitting your daily activity quota, and also the screen that you hit when you want to download the data. It's super simple to grab the data - you just click the fetch data button on the app, and push the paw on the tracker and it downloads! It is all done through Bluetooth, so I try to only download it once a day, and usually when I've taken their collars off for the day.

So, what do you think? Is a Pitpat the sort of thing you'd like for your dog? Because I'm currently raving about them to all the dog walkers we meet on our adventures!

(I should also say that the dogs don’t tend to wear their collars in the house until we go on a walk, unless they are at my parents, so sometimes the data is just based on our walks, but sometimes it’s a full days’ worth of info.)