Thursday 31st July – the day after being officially told that I would need a mastectomy.
I walked into my local Cancer Information Centre and took a deep breath as I pressed the buzzer. I introduced myself to the receptionist, ‘Hello, I’m Nicole and this is my first time here’.
I was given a brown envelope which I did not open (by now you have already gathered that I am not one for opening stuff straight away or even researching it) and I sat next to a lady who also had a brown envelope sticking out of her bag. It was obvious that she had completed her treatment as her hair was very short. She explained that she chose to visit the centre only once her treatment (chemo) was finished as then it would mean that she would not need to worry about changing appointments if she felt unwell.
The chairman collected me from the waiting area and we went into a lovely room. She was very smiley and warm and explained how the centre worked. For a £30 donation, you are entitled to 10 treatments by trained therapists (bargain!), then additional treatments are £10 each (still a bargain!). Treatments are : massage, reiki, eft, reflexology, aromatherapy, tha chi and yoga. The president of this centre, is a well known English actress from my all time favourite sitcom and she and a well known, flamboyant London Mayor, had been there just a few days a few prior, doing a Thai Chi session!
The centre also offers an arts and crafts club, a cinema group, writing workshops and a choir!
She asked me questions from the form regarding my life and diagnosis and then got to the D.O.B details, she laughed and said I looked 12! She said I seemed very ‘together’ at this stage, given what I am about to go through. I explained that I became very mechanical about it but I am sure that I am going to breakdown closer to the time one things REALLY start happening.
We walked through the centre so I know what’s where for next time. A group was gathered around doing all sorts at the table and having a chit chat – I could smell the lunch being prepared. Must make a note of that. Book your treatments in for Thursdays as it’s followed by lunch!
Met a lady who makes a heart shaped object inspired by her own journey. The best way to describe this is like a travel pillow you would buy for your neck, in a heart shape. This is for ladies who have a mastectomy and find they need something soft in the night if they slept on a particular side and it’s also useful post op, if your seatbelt needs to crossover the affected area. Told you, shit just got real!