Wessex Cancer Support helped me keep my head above water through my Dad’s cancer diagnosis and find myself again after the heartache of his death

When Becky’s Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, her role changed from daughter to carer overnight.

“Dad’s cancer came out of the blue. He had bad heartburn, his skin became yellow and he felt really poorly. Tests showed he had pancreatic cancer. That was in the November and he had his first chemotherapy session on Christmas Eve.

“I was 31 at the time – the eldest of three children and with two young children of my own. Because Dad lived on his own, I became his main carer. He spent the next year feeling very poorly and attending appointments every week.”

I really struggled to know who I was

“Dad didn’t want to speak about his cancer diagnosis. He was a proud man who didn’t want to admit he was struggling. Eventually, I managed to convince him to try some of the group sessions that Wessex Cancer Support was running in its Waterside cancer support centre and he found those really helpful. They were all face-to-face group sessions for men with different cancer experiences. At that time, I was having weekly sessions with Lynda, the most amazing counsellor, who helped me cope with my feelings and emotions, which enabled me to stay strong for Dad and my children, and my brothers.

“In March 2020 the Covid-19 pandemic hit. As well as getting my head around lockdown, it was really hard not being able to see Dad, other than to drop off shopping and medication. We lost so much precious time as a family because of the pandemic and I felt very alone and struggled to cope. In May 2020, Dad received the devastating news by telephone that his treatment hadn’t worked and he only had a few months to live. We were all heartbroken.”


Becky with her Dad

I came to accept that all feelings are OK

“I’d been caring for Dad for two years when he died and I struggled so much to come to terms with the fact he’d gone. It was hard to adjust to my role as his carer coming to an end, and to cope with losing him when I was so young.

“I reached back out to Wessex Cancer Support and they supported me with online group and one-to-one counselling sessions. With their help, I was able to accept that all feelings are ok; whether I felt sad, mad or relieved. I learnt to process them, and the strategies I learnt helped not just me, but my children too. I finally felt like me again and I even started a new job.

“Wessex Cancer Support got us through Dad’s cancer diagnosis and were there for me when he died. I know that without them, I would have ended up in a deep hole with no way out. They helped me keep my head above water and find myself again after such heartache. I can’t thank them enough for helping all of us.”