"It’s just so supportive and you’re made to feel like you really matter." - Jill's story
Jill Rackham tells her story of being diagnosed with breast cancer and receiving support from Weston Park Cancer Charity.
Jill was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 43, after finding a lump near her collarbone. During her treatment she was told about the complementary therapies offered by Weston Park Cancer Charity by her oncologist and she first visited in 2022 for auricular acupuncture sessions.
“I’m undergoing long term hormone treatment and trying to adapt to the side effects isn’t easy, my oncologist suggested trying auricular acupuncture to help with the hot flushes. I came to the centre and had 4 sessions of the acupuncture and it was wonderful, it’s really helped with the intensity of the hot flushes and is so relaxing I feel like it’s just helped overall to calm me.”
Weston Park Cancer Charity provide auricular acupuncture sessions, as well as other complementary therapies free of charge at their support centre just down the road from the hospital. While Jill was at the centre she struck up a conversation with someone who was waiting for a mindfulness session and this prompted her to sign up for sessions herself too.
“It was so nice to speak to someone else who was going through a similar experience while waiting for treatment. Coming into the centre for the first time was a bit daunting but everyone is incredibly friendly, Vicky on reception always greets everyone with such a big smile and is so welcoming, in fact all the staff are.
You feel uplifted leaving the centre because it’s such a big step to first come through the doors but then you realise that it’s not a big thing as it is in your mind and it’s just such a nice calm place to be.”
Jill has written a book of 14 poems to express the many thoughts and feelings she experienced following her diagnosis of breast cancer.
“I started writing because I couldn’t sleep, I had all these words and thoughts going round my head, someone suggested a journal which was how I started. Then one day I just decided to write a poem, the first poem in the book was the first one I ever wrote. After that I wrote a couple more, I shared them with friends who encouraged me to keep writing.
When I felt low I started to think about other aspects of my journey and that’s when I began to write about those. I spoke about my diagnosis day, about telling my children the news, breast cancer and the menopause, going through it all at a young age.”
Jill was encouraged by her friends and family to share her poetry further and she hopes her words will provide support and comfort to those going through diagnosis, supporting a loved one who has a diagnosis, or to anyone who wants to understand more.
“It gives me real joy to be able to give something back and I feel happy to share my journey, I’m incredibly passionate about raising awareness, especially for younger women. I wanted to turn what was something awful into something positive and be able to have an impact on others.
I get a lot from being able to share my story and I think the more people who can open up and speak about it and the more awareness there is can only be a good thing.
Having the additional support and treatment at the support centre has made a massive difference, meeting people who are on the same treatment as me, having similar side effects and difficulties has been so important and the welcoming environment is so nice. It’s just so supportive and you’re made to feel like you really matter. I’d encourage people to just take that first step and call or drop in.”
All profits from the book will be going to three of the charities that have been close to Jill whilst she has gone through her treatment, including Weston Park Cancer Charity. For more information and to purchase the book visit Jill’s website here https://jsrackham.com/poems/
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