I quickly recognised the need to build in support to help me and accessed a range of approaches, as part of my overall wellbeing plan. At this time, a friend, who works for the NHS, sent me information about Penny Brohn UK’s local courses. I attended the Living Well course and found it useful that it was commissioned by the NHS because this gave credence to their approach. An approach I was trying to achieve, but one that was not acknowledged within my NHS provision. The course reinforced things that I was doing, for example, reviewing my nutritional intake, understanding the benefit of regular exercise, connecting with purpose and building in stress-management strategies into day-to-day being. Penny Brohn played a significant role in enabling me to value life, accept that I could live well with cancer, realise the cliché “we are only here once”, explore what I could do to make the best of this time and rebalance my wellbeing.
During the course, we were encouraged to build an individualised wellbeing plan. I have maintained most of my elements, building them into my day-to-day life as I returned to work part-time. I learnt how to value myself and understand that putting myself first is not selfish, it’s about self-worth and having the resources and resilience to help others.
We explored the importance of mindfulness and used opportunities throughout the course to practice this. Facilitators enabled participants to share experiences and strategies to help. Another participant introduced me to the Headspace app. I had tried since diagnosis to meditate, but unsuccessfully. This app was a turning point in achieving effective meditation. I find meditation keeps my emotions balanced. I regularly meditate and have recommended it to several friends as a way to maintain resilience in our busy lives.
Feeling in Control
For me an integrated approach to my cancer has been the most appropriate route and Penny Brohn has helped me appreciate this. I highly recommend Penny Brohn to everyone diagnosed with cancer and their families. They offer support that fills the gaps within the NHS provision. Their approach promotes hope and positivity, and enables you to feel back in control. I hope they continue to help clients and their families for free.