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 …

Caroline’s blog part 3…..

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. Caroline’s Blog Part 3 Then I have two biopsies. I have one of the lump. I think I am injected with local anaesthetic and then something makes a sound like an elastic band snapping. It’s not that painful. Then I have another biopsy of the swollen lymph node. The same thing again. I really don’t want the radiologist to ask about what work I do as I Continue Reading …

Caroline’s Blog Part 2……..

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 get called through and a registrar and nurse are there. The registrar examines me. In the time between going to the GP and going to hospital appointment I think the lump may have disappeared. I am really worried that I am going to be embarrassed by being the only person attending about a breast lump who has no lump! The registrar has been sent a detailed Continue Reading …

Caroline’s Blog….Part 1

Caroline, a Barrister, is a Macmillan Wellbeing Centre client. She recorded her open and honest thoughts on receiving her diagnosis, on a personal blog. She has kindly agreed to them being reproduced here. Caroline’s Blog Part 1 I never wrote about what happened on the day I got diagnosed with cancer – not even in my own diary. I started writing one paragraph and then wrote nothing until after my first chemotherapy, which also meant I never wrote about telling my children and my parents and the run- up to my first chemo. Normally I write all sorts of inane things in Continue Reading …

What’s in a word….

There’s something about the act of writing that eases the soul and frees the mind.  Perhaps this is why many people turn to the written word in times of stress, sadness or worry.  Writing about something as stressful and difficult as cancer or serious illness can be soothing, illuminating and supportive. For many people, keeping a journal is an easy way to express their feelings and thoughts about what is happening.  Research shows that expressing our innermost thoughts and feelings can reduce stress, improve how we are physically, and increase our quality of life.  Putting our thoughts down in black Continue Reading …