Right from day 1 of diagnosis the support I received from Prof Chan and his team has been exceptional.
The fantastic team effort behind the scenes non clinical and clinical means that I have no other worries to think about or arrange other than to just turn up and have treatment.
I can’t thank Prof Chan’s team enough for taking what could be an enormous weight off my mind enabling me to concentrate on feeling well.
Throughout my 9 years of treatment, I have always felt safe and secure, mainly due to good staffing levels, the continuity of the team and their excellent up to date knowledge of the latest treatments available.
It feels more like a visit to family and friends, rather than a visit to hospital.
I have 100% trust that the whole team is working together with my very best interests at heart. I feel my welfare is their top priority and all hospital policies and best practices in particular record keeping, (for which mine is like reading war & peace) hygiene and safe drug administration are followed all of the time.
Having the opportunity to bring my mum along to all of my hospital appointments provides that extra level of support for me, Mum has always been welcomed to be part of the “Park family” in fact all of the staff know her as mum and these visits provide her with the chance to share my cancer journey and get support of her own (oh and she also provides me with a taxi service)
I have always been a very positive person, having cancer has provided extra focus to what is really important in my life, which is spending quality time with family and friends.
My other passion is charity work and volunteering, this has continued with added motivation since my cancer diagnosis. The highlight of my journey so far was being chosen to carry the Olympic Torch in recognition of my charity work and helping my local community.
Due to the excellent care of Prof Chan and his team I am able to continue my full time job and carry on my life as I did before I shared my life with cancer. Prof Chan tailors my care by fully understanding my individual needs; he always remembers snippets of personal information, which makes me, feel special.
I appreciate that he is a very busy man, but I never feel that he rushes me and gives me a much time as I need.
During my continuity of care, I have regular follow up appointments with Prof Chan, where I know I am in the best of hands.
I was initially diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2005. I felt angry when I was given the diagnosis because I have always had a very active, healthy lifestyle but from the word go I was always very open with people about my diagnosis. I had my initial treatment under the NHS but due to the longer waiting times I decided to use my private health insurance.
All the staff are extremely friendly and welcoming at the Cancer Centre and even after my first visit, they remembered my name. This made me feel very special.
I attend the Art Therapy sessions to meet other people in a similar situation to yourself. Art can be a way of helping to express emotions and state of mind. It also helps you to reflect on how you feel, especially when discussing your piece of work with the rest of the group.
In my first drawing I attempted to describe the rollercoaster feeling that living with cancer brings. I used various waves of purples and blues. A vivid orange and red wave in the middle expressed my emotional and physical pain. At the very top of the page a smooth pale blue, gently undulating line represented the calm exterior I present to the outside world.
It’s good to be able to talk to others who are going through a similar experience. You can relate to, and understand how the other group members are feeling. It helps in providing support to each other and I find this to be of great benefit.
I also attend aromatherapy massage sessions at the Park, which in my case not only helps me to relax and forget, but it also helps physically at the site of some scar tissue which has been caused by long term injections.
On the 27th of November I had NHS Emergency surgery for bowel obstruction, they found stage 3C Ovarian/Peritoneal Adenocarcinoma the prognosis was poor. I came home 7 days later, in deep despair, and with a horrible Caesostomy on the right side of my abdomen. I was in total disbelief at what was happening to me. It was the worst week of my life! My husband and daughters started to research the condition, and to find the best Clinical Oncologist in Nottinghamshire to take care of me. We decided to use our private health insurance from this point onwards, and were given an appointment to see Professor Steve Chan that same evening. I had my 1st chemo session just 2 days later! Family and friends rallied around me, to support and keep me as positive as possible. I was terrified at what was to follow.
Months of Chemo followed with debulking surgery, bowel resection and stoma repair midway through treatment. It was followed by 22 sessions of Avastin. I did much to help myself, with complementary treatments from colleagues, dietary help from nutritionists and a heavy regime of supplements. Diet, exercise, plenty of rest and a strong positive mindset. Surgery was successful and by this point I was feeling well and coping with treatments. It was certainly not a ‘walk in the park’ by any means but bearable and didn’t stop me from living my life.
My Oncologist & support network of family and friends give me hope and a strong belief in my own powers of healing. I am well, now my treatment has finished, and although my future is uncertain, I find comfort in the knowledge that I am closely monitored; although when its tome for my blood tests and CT scans I can feel the anxiety starting to rise up inside of me again. I have to stay strong in mind and body and will do all that I can to achieve this. No one has a crystal ball, and life is unpredictable, so I feel it is better to live in the moment and enjoy life one day at a time, trying not to dwell too much on what may or may not happen in the future. Thanks to my wonderful Oncologist, Surgeons and Nursing Team I now have hope that there will be a future.
I was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer. I have had 8 sessions of Chemotherapy and 3 weeks of Radiotherapy at the Park Cancer Centre.
I have had Herceptin and am still having regular injections of Zometa to help my bones.
I was one of the first of Prof Chan’s patient’s to experience “Breath Hold Radiotherapy” at the Park Cancer Centre; I was really pleased to be having my treatment with a machine that was such state of the art.
Because my cancer was in my Left breast Prof Chan suggested that there was a new technique I was suitable for. Breath hold technique creates a space between the chest wall, lungs and heart that enables the radiation to be monitored and angled away from the vital organs.
The treatment was quite nerve racking and I was anxious, however the team where very supportive and patient (because you have to have a tube in your mouth, a nose clip and having to have your arms positioned out of the way.)
After my first session Prof Chan met with my husband and me and showed us on the monitor how the technique was achieved.
Before I started with the treatment I had a practice run to see what it was going to be like and I was involved in the planning of my treatment.
The radiographers monitor you every day checking for burning and rashes, my skin is particularly fair but they recommended creams for me to use during, before and after treatment and that’s really crucial.
I knew that I could stop if I couldn’t hold my breath any longer and feel safe, and the girls would restart the machine when I was ready to continue without any pressure. It was quite reassuring having something to do throughout the treatment, because you are on your own with a massive machine.
I have had radiotherapy before and I felt that I wanted to think about something positive, but on this occasion I didn’t need to as I was concentrating on holding my breathe.
At first the experience is daunting, because it is a new experience but it is well worth doing because you are less likely to get any long lasting damage.
The team are fantastic patient and competent and I felt totally safe in their hands, I dealt with 3 radiographers and I knew them all by name; I had continuity at all times.
I knew that it was the best equipment that I could possibly access; I knew the team were the best that I could have because Prof Chan would not stand for anyone who was not up to the mark!
The environment was pleasant, quiet and unstressful. I feel very lucky, although I have had breast cancer, that my treatment took place in the best environment possible. It has definitely helped with my recovery.