During treatment, I was told about support groups but thought these were for others. Used to raising funds for them, I just thought they weren’t meant for me – until someone pointed out what an idiot I was, and sent me off to experience for myself what they were all about.

Recently, much has been made of poor provision for mental health, and thinking about it, I certainly needed help during treatment. with little problems such as handling side effects,  not genuine mental health treatment. And a support group seemed to provide just the level of TLC that I needed, rather than taking up the time of an over-worked professional.

So I went off to sample massage,s, nutrition advice and all the other delights that London support groups offered, and even became a Trustee for Paul’sCancer Centre,

Moving Io Oxford, my new GP didn’t think I needed regular check-ups – I did. So I went to the Oxford Maggie’s Centre, and they introduced me to the marvelous Dr.L. I had a scare, she arranged a fast mammogram, and her office phoned me late on a Friday evening; they’d just received good news and didn’t want me worrying all weekend. Phew!

During lockdown support centres were closed, but C’Siders (Portland and Weymouth) invited me to take part in one of their Zoom meetings.  First, there was some amusing chit-chat whilst we settled down, then we got down to a really good ‘pub quiz with mind-stretching questions – all great fun. Then they usually have a talk, on a useful and interesting topic.

C’Siders started in 2016 with the aim of providing support for anyone in the area affected by cancer- whether a patient, carer or friend. It is obvious that it is run by patients for their benefit – and I am looking forward to more Zoom meetings.

What comes over to me is that support groups, whoever runs them, LISTEN to patients, and provide what we want – we don’t have to join a production line offering the same treatment for everyone, but can chat to people who have time for us, or listen to a conversation that might explain the very thing that has been bothering us, but no-one had time to discuss this.

Support Centres are places offering support for our myriad of little problems we encounter but don’t like to bother professionals with

C’Siders  :  http://csiders.org/cfit/

Maggie’s Oxford  :  https://www.maggies.org/our-centres/maggies-oxford/