Looking Through A Different Lens

I have been a physiotherapist working in the NHS since graduating in 2003. The only break I have had is recently as a result of my Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. As a physiotherapist, I was good. I worked hard, empathetic, always strived to get answers and help my patients as best I could, put patients at the centre of my care, planning what they needed around what they told me. I cared…..I really cared and I was good at my job.

However, having cancer and experiencing healthcare from the patients side has opened my eyes to a whole new world and perspective. A world that I do believe is difficult to understand and truly empathise with until you have experienced a taste of it yourself. A world that isn’t exclusive to cancer by any means. I find myself thinking back to patients of years gone by with a whole new level of understanding behind their behaviours, reactions and responses.

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I see…

Today is 20th March 2019 and international day of happiness and as such I thought I would share with you all a happier poem for me relating to my recovery from cancer.  I will let the poem speak for itself, hopefully for any of you who have been through cancer you can relate to what it is talking about, and to those of you who haven’t, its one to help you stop and think about the world around you.

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The Rabbit Hole

This blog has been a great therapeutic tool for me during my treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma and in my subsequent rehab journey.  In particular through my poetry, I like to share an insight into all aspects of cancer, but in particularly my poetry expresses some of the psychological and emotional components which often go unspoken.

This poem talks about one particular psychological aspect that I am still trying to get to grips and understand and seeking support to do this.  It is essentially associated with a traumatic experience for me during my cancer recovery.  I share this and its impact in a bid to support anyone else who is also experiencing similar episodes to know that they are not alone.

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A Letter to My Son

To My Darling Boy,

Today is your third birthday, a birthday that when your my age you probably won’t recall. In fact there is so many things over the last three years of your life that you are unlikely to remember. But equally these years are also the ones that will have significant impact in shaping you into the person you will be in the future.  This has been one of my greatest fears, that somehow my illness at such a young informative age will have a negative impact on you.  As I recover now, this is something that has plagued on my mind, however as time passes I don’t believe it will, because one thing that never faulted during the whole time was how much your daddy and I loved and cared for you.

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A Letter To My Love

When you receive a cancer diagnosis, like with many illness, it affects not only the individual but those nearest to them too.  For me, partners; be them  boyfriends, girlfriends, civil partner, wife, husband, common law, or those that are living with you through it day in and day out are the unsung sufferers when it comes to cancer.  The impact frequently is significant for them too but they often feel like they have to hold it together for the sake of the person going through it.  Today, marks valentines day and in honour of valentines day (and because I haven’t brought him a present) I have written a letter to my finance.

To every significant other half of a cancer patient out there who has supported their loved one through the trauma, Thank you.  We couldn’t do it without you helping us face the good, the bad and the ugly.

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The PICC Line

I would like to start this post with a disclaimer, in that as someone who experienced a number of different complications with their PICC line I intend to give my honest account for anyone reading and wanting to know what it was like to have a PICC line.  But the big disclaimer is this…….I WOULD NOT HAVE CHANGED IT FOR ANYTHING.

Despite every single complication I experienced (and I had more then one), and the issues they caused, the benefit, which will be hard to describe, was so much greater then the cost of all of the complications combined.  If I had to do the whole situation again, I would still have a PICC line inserted.

I think this is important to start with, because if I am going on to talk about the complication sides of it, it would be easy to immediately be put off the idea but for me, the benefit will always outweigh the complication risk and impact.  Also if you are squeamish I suggest you stop reading!!

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The Emotional Climb

Today I start a 6-week course at my local Macmillan Centre called HOPE; Help to Overcome Problems Effectively, which was developed in collaboration between Coventry University and Macmillan Cancer Support.

I managed to get one of the last places on this round and it was as a result of essentially hitting rock bottom, and having what can only be called an emotional breakdown after my treatment had ended.  At this point, I turned to Macmillan as the only source of support I knew to exist at this time, and no direct support coming from the health service.

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Fight for Fertilty after Lymphoma

This time last year, we were sat in the consultant office at our local fertility centre exploring the options we had available to us.  When I was initially diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, I was told that the chemotherapy may affect my fertility but due to its advanced nature there were no options available to me.   I think this, second potentially to my hospitalisation , was the most stressful point of my treatment journey.

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