My story started in July 2017 whilst on holiday in Tenerife.

My partner Les and I were having a lovely relaxing holiday. It had been a busy year in the sense that I had my right knee replaced in January, and I’d worked hard to get it reasonably strong.

As the week went on I started to get twinges in my stomach, but assumed it was a change of diet. The twinges continued, but we carried on having a great time touring the island, we hired a motor scooter, visited the local markets, boat trips, sunbathing and even using the hotel’s gym facilities (not a gym bunny) so I could eat their lovely cakes. As the time went on the spasms became much stronger, so I decided I would visit my GP when I got home.

After many scans and biopsies, I was finally diagnosed with Lymphoma B cell in the bowel, and liver stage 4. Then things happened very fast. After the second chemo I was told I would need an ileostomy after my treatment finished.

The treatment caused many side effects. I was unable to eat very much, and eventually lost my sense of taste. This lasted for many months and was very hard as I had been such a foodie.

After the treatment I felt I needed support and was advised to ring Willow Wood. I spoke to a lovely girl named Emma who explained she would make an appointment to help me with some support.

I can’t tell you what a surprise I got when I saw the building, it was nothing like I imagine, so light and airy and not a bit intimidating.

I chatted to Emma who explained everything in detail. She was so kind and had a lot of empathy. I felt so reassured about the help they offered, from emotional support to the complementary therapy where I met the lovely Pat.

I have loved coming to the support group. It has been really instrumental in my recovery from listening and talking to other ladies in the group and asking advice on various problems that can occur after your treatment. The staff and volunteers who run the groups has been marvellous, and the team in Day Services are always in the background to reassure us. Nicky, the Day Services Lead kindly arranged four sessions in the hydrotherapy pool to help my newly diagnosed arthritis which has developed since my treatment.

I really look forward each Tuesday to having some lunch with the group.

All the staff are absolutely wonderful, they are kind, thoughtful and quite intuitive, they notice when people are quiet or feeling down.

I could say a lot more…….

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