Deb lives near Usk with her husband Ed, and their two children. She was diagnosed with rectal cancer in spring 2018 and got in touch about our ACTivate Your Life - Affected by Cancer course.
This is Debs's story:
“In the beginning I felt very lost. Despite everyone saying it would be alright, my world was ending and I just needed someone to talk to. I had to do something for me and I knew it had to be something mindful; something that would stop the demons talking to me.
Even when you know you’re going to get through this, some days you feel like you could just use a good howl. You get to the point where you feel like you don’t want to keep talking to your family and friends because you feel like you’re burdening them. Sometimes people will ask how you’re feeling and you’ll say you’re fine, even if you aren’t because it can feel like you’re always miserable about it otherwise. It’s important to know that there are places you can turn to.
Between my radiotherapy and the surgery I contacted Tenovus Cancer Care about the ACTivate Your Life - Affected by Cancer course. They were so lovely and the emails I received back were very kind and welcoming. What surprised me was that the course doesn’t focus on the cancer. It helped me to understand the power of my brain in making situations seem worse than they are or how I might dwell on negative thoughts; the stuff that we know but need to be shown, techniques that help us to properly realise it. The course helps you to manage your thoughts.
There’s a lot to go home with; you’re given the tools, the techniques and little prompts to put those into action. It’s really been about revisiting those times where I’ve avoided doing something and allowed me to ask if it really is the cancer that has prevented me from doing it or whether it’s my mind that’s said ‘you shouldn’t do that’. I’ve been able to question what am I going to do differently and how am I going to push myself a little more.
Since doing ACTivate Your Life - Affected by Cancer my life has changed considerably. Reflecting on my life over a couple of weeks has made me think about a longer term plan; what am I going to do after the chemotherapy treatment has finished? I’ve worked all my life and I feel like it’s time to reconsider what I do, and I’ll be looking to do some volunteering with Tenovus Cancer Care."
If you'd like to find out more about our ACTivate Your Life - Affected by Cancer courses or any of our cancer support services, click here or call us on 0808 808 1010.