Getting together works wonders in cancer fight

A BRAVE Thurrock woman has shared her story of a fight against cancer by way of paying tribute to the work of St Luke’s Hospice.
Sue Wooding has secondary breast cancer and, together with a fellow patient, she wants people who also have the same incurable illness to know the great benefits they receive by attending a friendly, self-run ‘get togethers’ at the outpatients and therapies department of St Luke’s Hospice at Nethermayne in Basildon, once a month, and invite them to come along and join in.
Secondary breast cancer is currently incurable. Treatment is aimed at controlling and slowing down the spread of the disease, relieving symptoms and to give the best possible quality of life for as long as possible.
Sue, from?Corringham, was diagnosed in December 2016, she has been married to husband Steve for 42 years, she has two children and three grandchildren.
She explains: “My diagnosis of secondary breast cancer came as a great shock to me and my husband, especially as I’d had a routine mammogram in the April and was given the ‘all clear’. Having attended a six week HOPE course at St Luke’s House in May 2017, I started coming along to the monthly ‘Get Together’ with other people who had also been on the course which has helped me in many ways to cope with my condition.
“Being able to talk to others who are in the same situation as myself gives me strength and inspires me to cope with all the medication, scans, treatments and hospital appointments I have to attend.
“We all say that ‘what is said at the ‘Get Together’ stays at the ‘Get Together’… We have a good laugh, and sometimes cry, but it is all good for my wellbeing… I feel so much better after.
“Meeting at the Hospice also enables us, should we need or wish it, to receive, information and advice from professionals and gives access to Hospice services which are not readily available elsewhere.
“This includes things like complementary therapies, physiotherapy, Reiki, counselling and other support aimed at helping us cope and generally keeping us well.’’
Karen Morris, who lives in Laindon, was first diagnosed in January 2011. Following years of treatment, surgery, daily hormone therapy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and in 2015 a then new medical procedure, called Star Ablation she started having bone infusions at St Luke’s.
Karen takes up her story: “It was during the time I was attending the Hospice that I was asked if I would like to attend the HOPE course at the Hospice’s satellite centre in Corringham.
“The course was amazing and at the end of it together with other ladies on the course we started meeting up at a monthly ‘Get Together’ – giving each other moral support, continuing to offer friendship and tapping into the advice and holistic services that the Hospice offers over coffee, tea and cake.
“Everything was going fine for me until July this year when I was told the results of my recent CT scan.
“Sadly I was told that the cancer had spread to my liver so I started another course of Chemotherapy. Things are tough for me at the moment, but I know that with the support of the ladies at the support group and the wonderful staff at St Luke’s Hospice I will get through this.’’
Secondary Breast cancer ‘Get Together’ takes place in St Luke’s ‘Activity Out-patient Day room’ on the last Thursday of each month: if you are interested in coming along telephone Karen on 07757 431101 or just ‘pop in’. The next meeting is taking place on 29 November between 1.30 and 3.30pm.