And for Carers…….

And for Carers…. The team at the Macmillan Wellbeing Centre recognise that carers (partners, family or close friends) benefit from support when someone close to them is diagnosed with cancer.  Serious illness has the potential to cause many distressing emotions and thoughts – for the person diagnosed and for those who care about them. Research shows that carers frequently disregard their own needs, and their distress / stress can often be overlooked. The Centre provides a listening ear, opportunities to mix with other carers, supportive groups and individual therapies – all aimed at helping carers to cope. However, attending these Continue Reading …

Suzanne’s Story………

My name is Suzanne and I am 47 years old. I was diagnosed with Mucoepidermoid Carcinoma in 2013 after waiting 6 months for test results to come back. I had a cancerous tumour growing in a saliva gland just in front of my ear. I was told the surgery I needed meant I would end up with severe facial disfigurement and maybe the loss of my ear and hearing. I was devastated. I had 12 hours of surgery to remove the tumour, losing part of my cheekbone and jawbone, but was very happy to still have most of my ear Continue Reading …

‘Scanxiety’

Cancer ‘Scanxiety’ Is a Real (and Terrifying) Thing I recently came across a word new to me, ‘Scanxiety’, on a medical website. It describes cancer patients’ fear and worry associated with scans, both before, and after, waiting for the results. It seems that doctors in general do not fully understand the distress caused by this repeated ordeal that patients go through. Would you agree that, until you’ve had cancer, you cannot possibly get the full extent of what goes through the mind of someone waiting for a scan or scan results? Because our very future depends on those results… those Continue Reading …

The Numbers

Recent figures show that 50% of people diagnosed with cancer in the UK now survive for 10 years or more.  Cancer survival is improving and has doubled in the last 40 years.  People are living 10 times longer after their diagnosis than 40 years ago.  This is really great news for a disease that used to be considered an automatic death sentence.  This is no longer so – the numbers speak for themselves! But my next thought on reading this was, ‘Which side of the 50% statistic will I be on?’. And it struck me that, for someone who wasn’t Continue Reading …

In the News

There have been several headlines in the news over the last week about breakthroughs in cancer treatment, for example: ‘Revolutionary new cancer treatment makes patients SIX TIMES more likely to survive’ ‘I’m one of the first patients in the world to be saved by DNA cancer treatment’ ‘Thousands of cancer patients can DOUBLE their survival chances with new treatment’ How do these headlines affect you? I’m never really sure about how to react to them as experience has taught me that the story underneath the headline rarely meets the expectations set by the headline. That’s often because the treatment may Continue Reading …

Small Changes…….part 2

Take time to smell the roses and appreciate their fragrance Gratitude (and its sibling, appreciation) is the mental tool we use to remind ourselves of the good stuff. It’s a lens that helps us to see the things that don’t make it onto our lists of jobs or problems to be solved. It’s a spotlight that we shine on the people and good things in life. These are some of the things from our HOPE course that we were thankful for: ‘A whole night’s unbroken sleep.’    ‘Check-ups have moved from 2 monthly to 3 monthly’ ‘Enjoyment of swimming. I might Continue Reading …

Small Changes……Part 1

Small changes can make a big difference in our outlook. Judy and I have recently held a Macmillan HOPE course at Coppice Library. The course is aimed at supporting people who have been through cancer, or are living with it, to live well. HOPE stands for Helping Overcome Problems Effectively and it covers many of the issues that prevent us from getting on with life in a positive way. One aspect of the course is for group members to keep their own Gratitude Diary. This entails making a daily record of things we are grateful from that day. And what Continue Reading …

Caroline’s blog…..And finally……….

Caroline, a Barrister, is a Macmillan Wellbeing Centre client who recorded the events and her thoughts around her diagnosis on a personal blog. She has kindly agreed to them being reproduced here. I first made contact with the centre after my second session of chemotherapy when I thought I would benefit from some support. I really enjoyed the relaxation sessions and the mindfulness sessions. I also had some reflexology sessions at the centre which was extremely relaxing. I am currently part way through a course of yoga. I am also booked on the waiting list for counselling, which I had Continue Reading …

Living with uncertainty……

This is one of the most difficult aspects of living with the aftermath of cancer. You will note that I have deliberately avoided using the phrase ‘coming to terms with’ uncertainty,  because the reality is that this is something to be lived with and managed, not ‘come to terms with’. For those of us not living with this threat, this Sword of Damocles, truly understanding what it feels like is almost impossible. The nearest that I can get to it is to think about that phrase so often used lightly and as banter – ‘ See you tomorrow unless I Continue Reading …

Caroline’s Blog, Part 4………..

Caroline, a Barrister, is a Macmillan Wellbeing Centre client who recorded her open and honest thoughts around her cancer diagnosis on a personal blog. She has kindly agreed to them being reproduced here. I have a conversation with the Registrar. I have my list of questions to ask. I have printed them from an American website. One of the questions is something like, “How much of this is covered by my insurance.” I find this very disturbing. I say to the registrar, ‘How sad is that?” I am so incredibly glad at that moment that I have access to the Continue Reading …