15 April 2021 – Post Cancer Course

I left Bertie that morning with a friend, a five minute drive seemed like an hour as she does’t like the car and whined, cried and howled during the journey. As soon as I left I missed her, even her needle teeth – I’m starting to look like my hands have fallen in to a nest of brambles (I’m wondering if they are a type of oral acupuncture).

So I set off to this really quite sweet church (the venue) on the outskirts of Gloucester, and I was nervous, I walked in and as usual the Macmillan team were all smiles and welcoming. Having sat down, I eyed my group – six of us in total, of all different ages (there was a hottie on the course too).

We were asked to introduce ourselves, our cancer, and what we wanted from the course I felt myself tensing up – it was weird, I thought I wanted to talk to other people who had gone through chemo or some type of cancer treatment, but it’s just not a cheery topic. I felt I became so introverted, tense and stoic – a couple of the attendees cried just at the introduction and I felt cold, heartless – I wanted to run.

I’m not sure if it was a case of I wanted to bury feelings or because I had just finished treatment my world is weirdly happy at the moment. I’m gathering strength, I have a puppy (the dream), lockdown is lessening so I am seeing my mates again or at least making plans to. I did not want to go back to that world – it’s depressing.

I hope this is clear, it wasn’t the courses fault – it was entirely me. The course was useful, but you could see there were one or two attendees that really needed some assistance with their mental health , one was clearly very depressed.

I can’t tell you how important it is during treatment to seek help as early in the process as possible. I think for the two individuals that shared the most, they just wanted to meet people in a similar boat, to understand their feelings are normal  and wanted to open up outside of the family setting – it was more group counselling for them. I may have been in a similar position if it wasn’t for Maggies, but I was fascinated how I reacted – almost stereotypically British -hoity toity, brush off with the shoulders. I’m a little disappointed in myself, for that.

There were some interesting bits to the course, we discussed mental health, stress and anxiety awareness, mindful breathing, diet and exercise. One of the presenters is likely to be my physio for my hands and feet (still a mess).

I do recommend seeking post cancer help, in hindsight the course was brilliant because I found out I was in a good place (at the time), we will have to monitor it and continue.

I wanted to sign up for the Macmillan Hope Course, it deals with the mental aspects of next steps, the fear of the cancer coming back, the point of life issues – however a few days later I had an appointment with the NHS Psychotherapist and we agreed that maybe I should take some time off, get back to having a life and maybe sign up if I have a wobble.

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