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The Haven | Providing Emotional Support

Emotional Health Videos

The Haven | Emotional Support

I think people are on quite a considerable and amazing emotional journey when they have a diagnosis of cancer and go through treatments, and onwards after treatment.

And there are different emotional experiences at different times as people go through that.

And to gather support for themselves in dealing with some of that emotional impact is really such an important thing to do, and it may be that friends and family around are all that's needed.

But for many people, talking to somebody like a counsellor, or talking with other people in a group, is another way of accessing emotional support, which they're maybe not getting in quite the same way from their local support network, if you like.

I was 39 when I was diagnosed, and initially I was actually told that it wasn't cancer, so I supposed it was mixed feelings, really. Because I remember breaking down in front of the consultant when he said, "You know, Mrs Haynes, you don't have cancer."

I was there with my husband. And only to be told three days later I had cancer; that I had to have a mastectomy.

One of the things that, you know, listening to you, is that almost rise and fall of: you think it's going to be one thing and then it's another, and you're kind of getting used to one idea and, oh, there's something else you've got to get your mind around.

And also that sense of propulsion into the treatment. It comes at you so quickly you've hardly got time to adjust to that.

I didn't feel ill. I thought, "How could I possibly have, possibly, a life-threatening disease and I look perfectly. . ." And people would say, "Oh, you look so well."

Without knowing what was wrong with me, and I couldn't really believe that it was true.

The way people respond to diagnosis can be very different, and one of the things I want to say about that is that whatever the person's way is of responding, that's the right way for them.

And not to feel that they're not doing it the right way, because sometimes other people feel that they ought to be doing it kind of differently.

I mean, I was a trained nurse, and I spent a lot of my professional life actually nursing cancer patients. But whether it's a good thing to be professional and know, or not know, it has its; it's a two-edged sword.

When you go for your results after being told that there's a possibility of cancer, having to wait for that doctor to tell you what the result is on the bit of paper in front of you. There's nothing to compare with the anxiety you go through, I think.

It was such a shock, and I had absolutely no family background and I had DCIS like you did. And I went in and saw the nurse and she said, "Oh, you have to have a complete mastectomy."

I was, like, "Huh?"

When people get into treatment they can feel more like they have a sense of control back, in a way. Something's being done about it.

But then people come to the end of their main treatments, and that can be a very tricky time for people, because they expect to start to feel better and to feel relieved that they got through the treatments, but can often feel very down, increasingly more anxious, could be more fearful again, and may feel suddenly they've become dropped by the medical people.

So, that's a very key time for emotional support, too, there, I think.


10603 Revised November 2012

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