Willie's story – mindfulness for mental health

Thursday 30 January 2020

Maggie's Dundee

I was at an all time low after treatment for prostate cancer but I joined a mindfulness course at Maggie's and made great friends.

Struggling with side effects

I was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer in 2015. I had elective surgery because I was told it was all contained within the prostate gland. After removal, a couple of months later we discovered I still had cancer. I was then put on two years’ worth of hormone treatment and radiotherapy. 

The radiotherapy finished in May 2016 but unfortunately from that point onwards I’ve suffered really badly from damage to my bladder and bowel. They now have a name for it, ‘pelvic radiation disease.’ I struggled for the rest of the year without much help, which had a negative effect on me mentally. Because of the problems I had, my GP put me on anti-depressants.

I was struggling to get my head around the fact that cancer was no longer the problem... it was the after effects of the treatment.

Then in January 2017, my daughter phoned Maggie’s to ask if someone could speak to her Dad and maybe help in some way. They did what Maggie’s does, and suggested I come in to see Lesley, the Clinical Psychologist. She suggested I sign up for a mindfulness course she was running. 

Joining the mindfulness course

It was a lovely bunch of people and for the most part, we just clicked. At the end of the eight-week course, we approached Lesley and said that we would like to keep meeting at the centre once a week. 

That was over two years ago now and our group is as strong as ever. We do a formal mindfulness session each week, and then we do what most people do at Maggie’s, we go for a cup of tea and a chin wag after. 

Although we don’t talk about cancer the whole time, everyone understands. It’s a place like nowhere else in your normal life, where you can go and feel relaxed, calm, even laugh together.

Originally, for me, the group was a sanctuary, somewhere to go where I felt people understood. It’s still a sanctuary but now it’s somewhere I go to meet friends, friends I’ve made from Maggie’s – that’s our connection. We have become close and we are still all on a cancer journey together and help support each other with that.

Here with you

If you, your family or friends need support during this time, please call us on 0300 123 180, email enquiries@maggies.org or book a time to visit us.

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