A cancer support centre in Bury St Edmunds is preparing to launch its latest course in a ‘life-changing’ self-management programme for patients post treatment.
The Macmillan Information and Support Centre, at the back of West Suffolk Hospital, is running the Hope (Help Overcome Problems Effectively) courses to help those who have finished or are coming towards the end of their chemotherapy.
The sessions look at issues such as long term and short term goal setting, confidence building, body image, relaxation as well as managing stress and fatigue.
Nicky McKee, centre manager, said: “It’s helping patients to be able to move on. So often after they’ve had their treatment they feel like they’ve fallen into this black hole. It’s trying to get them together.”
Among those who have benefited from the course is Anne Bennett, of Woolpit, who took it last April just two months after a major operation.
The 49-year-old, who has been given the ‘all clear’ after being diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2013, said: “I met lots of people in similar situations. It lifts you a bit out of the worry of having cancer.”
During the sessions, she learnt about keeping a gratitude diary as a reminder of what to be grateful for ‘when you’re feeling down’ and a diary of activities to ‘pace yourself to stop getting fatigue’.
Michelle Woodley, of Bury, said the course helped her with time management and provided a boost by being able to hear other people’s experiences.
The 50-year-old was diagnosed with Follicular Lymphoma in August 2013 and is in remission.
She said: “Mine won’t ever go away. It can’t be cured. It’s a concept of living with cancer that I needed to come to terms with. It certainly helped me with that.
“After your chemo you need something like the Hope course to know what to put in place.”
Anna Cullinane, of Newmarket, also took the course in April.
The 76-year-old, who is a great-grandmother, said: “I’ve got a rare blood cancer – it’s incurable but they gave me treatment and it’s kept it at bay. Going to the Hope course, it just made me more relaxed and I had more energy, patience and I mix more. I make the effort to go out, I make phone calls and I go to the hospice coffee morning which is wonderful to make friends. It really changed my life.”
The course runs from February 18 to March 24 at Bury St Edmunds Golf Club. To sign up call 01284 713023.