Monday 25 Jan 2021
There were so many moments where I had to shift my perspective on things, before, during and after my treatment. But I always left Maggie’s feeling that little bit stronger
Before every treatment, I made a plan to first go to Maggie’s just to calm myself down with a cup of tea. There was always time for a quick chat, which left me feeling stronger going to the chemo suite afterwards, just along the road.
Maggie’s became a safe haven for me. I even had my favourite seat. I so love the sense of beauty around, created by the thoughtful architecture, the clever design spreads good vibes.
I often feel tense or tight after a hospital visit, but entering Maggie’s afterwards reminds me of being cared for and restores my sense of self. Sometimes just being there helps me to touch some calm again.
Not having to explain much about the medical process, the surgery, the chemotherapy, the bodily and emotional changes, gave me some breathing space as the staff at Maggie’s are experts in giving advice about cancer care.
More than once, Seonaid, Centre Head at Maggie's Highlands, could reassure me that I wasn’t that abnormal in how I felt and she would offer valuable advice. But it was especially the time after the active treatment that hit me hard. And that's where Maggie's really was a big support for me.
I soon realised things are not completely over once treatment is out of the way.
"Maggie’s helped me to understand how convalescence happens in layers. I did find my feet – slowly and gradually."
Just at the point where I thought I could start engaging with the world more and start thinking about next steps, the whole world went into lockdown. That was a year ago. I continued to talk to Seonaid, but ironically felt somewhat trained to deal with lockdown.
There are definite similarities in the isolation, feeling vulnerable in public spaces, infection risk, dealing with uncertainty… things cancer patients get to know really well.
However it does not make the lockdown experience a walk in the park. I still have had to dig deep at times to find some of my acquired resilience tools back to navigate the last year. Feeling grateful for things big or small, appreciating what I have, finding moments of connection to keep me going.
Life can still feel tough at times, but that is life, worth living in all its mess and beauty.
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