"In 2010 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and realised I had lymphoedema as a result of my treatment. I think I probably did the typical thing of putting a brave face on it and protecting others, but inside I felt emotionally, as well as physically, damaged.

It wasn't until a few years later I realised I needed support that I'd not taken up previously. Wessex Cancer Trust was there for me. 

I was referred to their Bournemouth Support Centre. The Centre was immediately comforting, kind and gentle. It was like a breath of fresh air. It made me cry with relief to be there. The light is wonderful, and the layout makes you feel so calm. I talked with Emma the Manager, befrienders and other patients. I had acupuncture and counselling. Some of the most valuable times for me were sitting having a cup of tea with others in the centre. 

I felt connected to the Support Centre and the impact it has on people living with cancer. I had wanted to retrain as a Lymphoedema Specialist for some time. I was already a qualified nurse who specialised in A&E/Intensive Care, and a qualified Midwife. So I started studying at the Lymphoedema Training Academy. As I was about to sit my exams, I thought firstly of giving care to others with oedema at the Centre. I qualified, became a member of the British Lymphology Society and the Lymphoedema Support Network, and asked Emma if there was a need for a lymphoedema specialist at the Centre. 

Lymphoedema is fluid swelling of any part of the body or face and can be as a result of cancer and/or its treatments. It can be emotionally and physically debilitating, and finding the right care and support for swelling can be draining for cancer patients. Manual lymph drainage helps to gently move the accumulating fluid back to drainage pathways and photobiomodulation permanently helps with the condition. My treatments are non-invasive, suitable for most clients, and aimed at being remedial, supporting and relaxing. 

I think my own experiences of having breast cancer have made me determined that people get the correct and most up-to-date help, advice and treatment for lymphoedema. More than that, I try to bring empathy of the emotional impacts of cancer and this condition. I really hope this helps people to feel they're not alone.