Jo was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 and discovered personalised care and support at our Treatment Support Clinic.
“During one session, I received a prescription from the doctor to be “excessively gentle” to myself during chemo. Now where else in the World does a doctor prescribe that?”
Penny Brohn was started in the same year and city as I was born, but I confess that I had never heard of it until after I received a diagnosis of breast cancer. Finding a lump in your breast is a sobering event at any age. For me, initially, it was a time of overwhelm and uncertainty, because there is so much information out there and everyone has advice to give.
Creating my own personal plan
Looking back, the most important thing for me at that time was that the treatment that I received was personal to me and that I had faith in its effectiveness. Through the Treatment Support Clinic, I was given access to an open-minded team (including a doctor) who spent time with me to discuss statistics, the NHS and other alternative treatment options. They recommended books, supported me to ask the right questions to my consultant and to find a surgeon in Bristol.
This allowed me to create my own personal plan, which included a 6 week holiday in France, a privately paid oncotype test, a mastectomy (with immediate reconstruction), a strong dose of chemotherapy, juicing, supplements, meditating, visualising and a balanced and moderate eating plan.
Support through chemotherapy
The Penny Brohn courses and Treatment Support Clinics offered unconditional support throughout my treatment. This was through visualisations, meditations, healing sessions and acupuncture. Most importantly, I listened to others share their personal experiences of treatment and as a result made decisions about my own treatment that I would never have known existed.
During one session, I received a prescription from the doctor to be “excessively gentle” to myself during chemo. Nowhere else in the world does a doctor prescribe that!
The “C” word is emotive for everyone. The word itself can bring up questions of our own mortality both for those with the diagnosis and those who are supporting. My parents were able to attend Treatment Support Clinics, receive support and share their own feelings. It is comforting to me to know that they were supported too.
Support to change
I had always been an “all or nothing” kind of girl. Running my own business as a lawyer, I was always striving to do more, be more and have more. Despite several “burn outs”, I hadn’t yet learned that my life choices around food, alcohol, work and stress may have had a negative effect on my body.
I used to be annoyed by people telling me to “slow down” and seek “balance” in my life. Joy and happiness had been squeezed out to make room for more ‘important’ tasks. The Bristol Whole Life Approach gave me some small ideas to support personalised changes and a new way of living that included rest, relaxation and loving what I do.
It has been an amazing year. Thank-you Penny Brohn and all who support you.