When I was diagnosed with Stage 4 stomach cancer in August 2021, I felt numb and shocked. Cancer was such an unfamiliar word to me, and I didn’t know what to do. I worried about what surgery and treatment would be like, and this gave me a lot of emotions and feelings I’d never experienced before.
I found out about Wessex Cancer Support from the Royal Bournemouth Hospital while I was going for treatment. To start with, I arranged to have a chat with Phil, the charity’s wellbeing coordinator, and he had fantastic way of breaking the ice and treating me like an individual. We discussed my concerns, and what combination of support would help me the most.
I felt very nervous about going to the Bournemouth cancer support centre for the first time because I didn’t know what to expect. I tried to keep an open mind about what it would be like. I needn’t have worried. They welcomed me with open arms and before long it was like going to visit friends I’d known for years.
At the moment, I’m having counselling and I’ve found it so clever how my counsellor works with me to unblock my thoughts and feelings. In the past, I was a military pilot and then a pilot for the Saudi Arabian Royal Fleet, and I’ve found counselling to be a similar process. We break everything down into smaller boxes and deal with one box at a time to stop it being too overwhelming. I’m finding this process incredibly helpful.
I’ve also been having complementary therapies, like Reiki, which has really worked for me – both physically and mentally.
It’s very hard when you’re told you have cancer. It isn’t a nice word and you have to learn a lot very quickly. Two years on, I know that asking for support can be very helpful, because it gives you the tools to cope. I’m so pleased that I kept an open mind, because it helps to be with people who understand. The people at Wessex Cancer Support are so caring and helpful and make me feel comfortable and relaxed. They’ve been like angels to me.