A whole person
During the Living Well course I learnt about things like the importance of food and nourishment to heal my body, the benefit of exercise, importance of relaxation and other things to help my general wellbeing. I met other people with different cancers and it was good to be able to talk to them and share experiences, thoughts and feelings about what we were going through. For the first time since being diagnosed, I felt I was being treated as a whole person.
I was keen to visit the charity’s National Centre. I was concerned about travelling over 100 miles, but decided it was worth it.
I’ve since visited the Centre a number of times. No matter what baggage I arrive with, by the end of my time there, I always feel as though the cloud has been lifted and I can go home feeling at peace with myself.
Two years after my diagnosis, I was shocked to be re-diagnosed with breast cancer. This time it was more aggressive and needed chemo and radiotherapy.
I found this second time really hard. I could only manage five out of the six chemo treatments because I became so ill with it. Radiotherapy was really difficult, I felt very exposed and quite degraded by the whole process. My body felt battered and the loss of my hair added to the distress. I could not recognise who I was anymore. By the time I’d finished treatment, I was extremely low and felt I was in a very dark place emotionally.
I needed Penny Brohn. I decided to attend a retreat. It was transformational. I felt like I’d gone through a very dark tunnel and come out at the other side into the light. The facilitators could see how much I was struggling and helped me to work through my difficult thoughts and feelings. They gave me the time and space I needed to come to terms and make sense of what I had been through and the effects it had had on me both physically and emotionally. Throughout the week I felt safe and supported, I was able to release all the built up emotions I had been suppressing since my diagnosis. It was a real journey of transformation.
I truly thank Penny Brohn for everything they’ve done for me. My younger brother was so moved by my experiences at Penny Brohn that he ran a half marathon and then the London Marathon to raise a substantial amount for the charity. I also make monthly donations to Penny Brohn, to thank them for the help I’ve received.
My family see the benefits of Penny Brohn’s help. As a family we have made lifestyle changes as a result of things learnt from them. I can genuinely say from the bottom of my heart that Penny Brohn has been a lifesaver. I don’t know where I’d be without the charity.