“I’d urge anyone who has a sense there’s something not quite right with their health to get it checked out with their doctor.”
Caroline, who’s 68 and lives in Winchester, was diagnosed with a low-grade lymphoma in January 2018. Although she doesn’t currently need treatment, she finds that regular visit to our Chandler’s Ford support centre helps her cope with her bad days and three monthly hospital check-ups.
I made an appointment to see my doctor after experiencing quite a normal collection of symptoms. I’d been feeling grotty for quite some time, often very tired and hot, and I wondered if I might simply be anaemic. I’d also moved house, and thought perhaps all of that was catching up with me. Blood tests and a CT scan came back normal, but a bone marrow biopsy showed a low-grade lymphoma. In a way, I felt relief, because at least I knew what I was dealing with.
I have check-ups every three months at Winchester Hospital and it’s currently a case of ‘watch and wait’ because my blood protein levels are at 10, and treatment won’t start until they reach 14.
I must admit I felt like a bit of a fraud when I started visiting Wessex Cancer Trust’s Chandler’s Ford support centre. After all, I wasn’t receiving treatment for cancer, so would it be ok for me to go along? But that’s the beauty of the support centre. They welcome anyone living with any stage and type of cancer, so understood my concerns.
The support they give me is great because I can just drop in when I need it and have a chat over a coffee. The welcome is always warm and I feel at ease there. It’s definitely helped because you can get the level of support that suits you personally. As well as chatting to the befrienders and others living with a cancer diagnosis, I’ve also enjoyed the art classes they put on. I guess you wouldn’t describe me as a typical cancer patient, in the way they can be portrayed. I didn’t find a lump and I’m not having treatment. I’m waiting to see what might happen.
I’d urge anyone who has a sense there’s something not quite right with their body to get it checked out with their doctor. And if you, or anyone you know, is living with a cancer diagnosis, always feel reassured that there’s local emotional support available at Wessex Cancer Trust.