Jacqueline's Story

White British
Sexual Orientation
Relationship status
Married/In a Civil Partnership

Do you have any tips or advice that may help others support those who are going through treatment, including with any ongoing side effects?

I think be as organised as you can with things like meal planning and making sure you have good nutritious food in for you both to eat. I think using it as a time to focus on the simple things you can do together helps. We also did a radiotherapy treat of the week! I took each Monday off work on annual leave and attended the treatment with him. We then went for coffee and a cake to make the day feel nicer. Then each Friday night he had a wee drink of a really fancy bottle of whisky to mark a week down. Those wee simple moments really helped keep positive.

Please tell us how their treatment impacted your life the most.

I think both of updated reasonably well but I do get moments of intense worry and a feeling of immediate panic simply relating to the future. Our life as we age might be very different to how we pictured it. The uncertainty is the biggest worry. I also had never experienced seeing someone go through radiotherapy. It made us both slow life down a pace. Even now he will get suddenly fatigued and I will say to just go lie down as he can feel a bit guiltily as he expected to be fully better now radiotherapy is done.

Thinking about your own wellbeing, what has helped you to cope, and where have you gone to find support? What tips and advice would you give to others?

I was luckily that I had by coincidence signed up to a health and lifestyle coaching programme just at the start of it all initially to lose the menopause weight gain. The behavioural therapy part of it all was so helpful in relation to managing the stress and my coaches probably saw more of my emotions than anyone else in my life. I think find ways to managing your wellbeing through self care treats, making sure you exercise or time to sit quietly to process your thoughts are extremely important. I did find it hard in the beginning when I got asked by friends ‘how are YOU feeling’ as I felt under pressure to actually check in with my feelings in order to give a response when in fact it’s such a loaded question that I usually deflected from it. I felt that my feelings mattered less as I wasn’t ill and therefore had a level of guilt. I much preferred it when friends allowed me to express myself more naturally as part of an overall conversation. I know people were being kindly when asking but I think consider how you phrase the check in moments with either the person going through the treatment or their family. Also - a simple thing but that had massive positive impact was receiving texts regularly from some people saying ‘I was thinking about you’ and perhaps enquiring how the treatment was going or saying good luck with radiotherapy this week and showing they were keeping up to date with the journey. Some people didn’t really get in touch at all and that surprised me. Be thoughtful by sending those regular messages. I now do that to my art teacher from school who is in their late 70’s and just started their same treatment for prostate cancer. I think it shows people going through what might be the toughest time of their life they are important to you.

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