When 41-year-old single Mum, Rose, felt too tired to cook Christmas dinner in 2020, she put it down to the stress of the previous couple of years.
She says: I tried to concentrate on giving my children a great Christmas after a tough year, but I felt exhausted and Christmas Day passed in a blur. When the New Year arrived and I still felt tired, I saw my GP. I was referred for routine scans and when I saw the mass on the screen, I knew it was serious.
In March 2021, I was told I had aggressive bowel cancer and needed an operation. Further scans showed the cancer had spread to my ovaries and womb. Explaining to my children that Mummy had cancer was hard. It deeply affected my daughter, who was then ten. I had chemotherapy, surgery, then more chemotherapy. Eventually, my treatment finished at the end of 2021. That Christmas was quiet as the enormity of the year sunk in, and I struggled to cope with ongoing health conditions.
Wessex Cancer Support was there for me
I remember seeing Wessex Cancer Support’s centre in Hythe and got in touch. The centre manager, Maureen, called me; she was so warm and welcoming. I met Phil, the charity’s Wellbeing Coordinator and together we created a package of support, just for me that included professional counselling, massage and Reiki. Some days I just popped in for a chat with the befrienders.
The Waterside centre team supported me through my check-up, and celebrated with me when I got the all-clear. I have another three years of check-ups ahead and I know they will be there for me when I need them, whatever lies ahead.
A donation of £40 will pay for one hour of counselling for a cancer patient like me.
As Christmas comes around again, I’ve been reflecting on how much cancer has changed my outlook on life. When I was poorly, the only gift I wanted was time. It’s the most precious gift we have, and I didn’t know if I would be here to see my children enjoy Christmas or their birthdays.
The team at Wessex Cancer Support has given me the gifts of their time, compassion and kindness. With your help, they can be there for anyone who needs them.
Read Rose’s story in full here.