Find out more about our meetings. Catch up if you've been unable to attend. Download the group's Newsletters below in pdf format.
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In August 2014 there was a Q&A Session. Here is that newsletter for download. Q&A August 2014
Meetings: Firstly, I hope you are all keeping as well as you can during this difficult time. Secondly, in view of the current situation; the monthly meetings of the Support Group will be suspended in line with Government advice on social distancing and group gatherings. Unfortunately, I cannot say when they will be resumed but I suspect that it will be well into the year. We had hoped to have our Strawberry Tea on the 20th June 2020 but in all likelihood, this will now not proceed. I will keep this month's newsletter brief therefore.
Nurses: This month's representative from the PCH specialist Care Nurse Team was Lisa. As ever Lisa reported the Team was very busy and working very hard. New cases continue to grow. I for one, especially at this time, cannot thank enough all the staff at PCH who will be working flat out.
Speaker: The Group had a very informative talk from Sue Shaw from Casting for Recovery. For those of you who have not heard of this charity, they provide an opportunity for women who have been affected by breast cancer treatment to learn the sport of fly fishing in a beautiful, natural setting to promote mental and physical healing. Just as importantly, the retreats offer an opportunity to meet new friends, exchange information, and have fun.
For details of the dates and venues please go the the Charity's website which is countryside-alliance.org/charity/casting-for-recovery-uk-irelandrecovery-uk-ireland.
Contact: It will be strange not to see everyone next month, but if anyone wants to keep in touch please do so through our Facebook page. My email address and mobile number is at the bottom of the newsletter. Just so we do keep in touch I will, each month, get some form of Newsletter out just so we are keeping in touch and not feeling too isolated.
Stay well and keep safe. See you all soon.
Helen Saggers - PBCSG Co-ordinator.
Nurses: This month's representative from the PCH specialist Care Nurse Team was Clare. Clare said the Team as ever are very busy. Hinchingbrooke has now six full time staff, however there are four members of the team on long term sick leave. The PCH team from April will be running more clinics. Clare said there was a shortage of
radiographers. Staff at Peterborough may be called to go over to Hinchingbrooke. There has been no change with the surgeons on the staff team.
Questions: Denise asked about mammograms for the over 70's. The procedure is that you still need to call for an
appointment and you should have one every 3 years.
This Month's Speaker: Gillian Sloss: Clinical hypnotherapist and psychotherapist. Gillian works from the Wellness Clinic in Werrington. She talked about the conscious brain which is the logical thinking part of our brain. She said there is the primitive part of the brain which is activated if we sense we are in danger, the flight/fight mode. When anxiety increases the brain moves into this mode and if this is sustained it can cause long term issues such as anger and depression. It is not healthy for the mind to be in a constant state of high alert and the mind needs to be calmed. Gillian ended her talk by doing a relaxation session with the Group using hypnotherapy which everyone said was very beneficial and relaxing. Gillian said that she can run group relaxation sessions at Werrington for the Group if they wished. She also said she would email a relaxation recording to members.
Apologies for not getting the Newsletter out in December for various reasons I was not able to get it done. I hope you all enjoyed the Xmas party. The minutes of the November meeting are as follows:
Nurses: This month's representatives from the PCH Nurse Team were Lisa and Marie. The nurses confirmed that they were still very busy. There was nothing of anything significance to report from the Team.
This Month's Speaker: The guest speaker for the evening was Stephen Duffy who is a solicitor and partner in the Private Client Team of Buckles Solicitors based in Peterborough. He gave a very lively and informative talk on a number of issues dealing with wills powers of attorney and estate planning. He explained that the area of wills can be very complex.
AOB: As time was short there was not a chance for the Group to discuss any other issues. All were reminded about the Xmas party and the secret santa.
As there is no meeting in January one of the Group suggested a pub meal in January on the 18th January at The Farmers in Yaxley. If anyone is interested please contact Helen.
Next Meeting Reminder: 6th February 2020 - the guest speaker tonight is Gillian Sloss. Gillian is a NCH registered hypnotherapist. Gillian practices Solution Focused Brief Therapy and Relaxation therapy.
Information & Updating: If anyone would like to contribute to this Newsletter please send information to Helen Saggers or if you would like to see up to date and relevant information on our webstite please email our website provider/administrator Blue Monkey Web.
Nurses: This month’s representatives from the PCH Specialist Care Nurse Team were Clare and Laura.
Book: One of our members shared with the Group a book she had read “Eat to Beat Disease” by Dr William Li. She shared that the book looks at how diet can impact/effect cancer both pre and post diagnosis. "According to Dr William Li, the choices consumers make in terms of food are essential in living longer and healthier lives. While there are many foods that are deemed healthy, said label does not suffice. The expert claims that the key difference rests in how the body responds to what it’s being fed, and he defines good health as, “the result of the body’s defense systems.”
Xmas: The meeting continued and topics for discussion were the December meeting which is our Xmas celebration. Ideas were shared about activities for the event to include games, a photo-booth with props, secret Santa. It was agreed that as before the food would be a finger buffet (healthy) and Helen will sort out the menu with the Hotel.
Other Speakers: Members also requested that Stephen Duffy solicitor with Buckles Solicitors come back to the Group to talk about Wills, Trusts and Power of Attorneys. Helen confirmed she would ask him to attend our next meeting.
Sad News: Finally on a very sad note a founding member of the Group, Olive Thompson died on the 24th October 2019. Denise will be sending condolences to the family from the Group.
Nurses: There was no rep from the PCH Specialist Care Nurse Team.
This Month's Speaker: Claire Collinson: Claire gave a very interesting talk about her work. She has been the resident artist at Metal in Peterborough. This is her third city residency; the other two have been Southend and Liverpool. Claire is a visual artist, artist and writer. Claire has had breast cancer and she explained that as soon as she was diagnosed the surgeon spoke to her about reconstructive surgery. She said she felt there was a presumption that this is what she wanted. She said there had been very little time to assimilate the diagnosis before her surgeon got onto the subject of reconstruction. She said this prompted her to look at this subject from an artistic perspective and in particular explore why there is very little visual art of women who have had breast cancer surgery. She has been a life model and has also run life model classes for women who have had breast cancer. She showed the Group some professional photographs of women who have had breast surgery.Helen Saggers our current Coordinator, introduced the newest member of our group -also named Helen and next month’s Guest Speaker, Claire Collinson.
Claire’s presentation led on to a varied and interesting Group talk on all sorts of issues: Aryuna mentioned that for those who wanted reconstructive surgery they can be referred to a cosmetic surgeon if they wished. Clare also asked Helen if someone from Buckles could come and give a talk about Lasting Powers of Attorney and will as the last speaker in this was very informative. The Group agreed that would be a good topic.
Nurses: This month’s Representative from the PCH Specialist Breast Care Nurse Team was Lisa who duly answered the questions members put to her. Thank you, Lisa.
New Members: Helen Saggers our current Coordinator, introduced the newest member of our group -also named Helen and next month’s Guest Speaker, Claire Collinson.
This Month's Speaker: Susan Broccoli: Graphic Designer & Social Media Manager from Blue Monkey Web & our Website Manager. Susan held our interest with information and challenges on how to keep our website etc up to date & relevant to all. We currently have approximately 110 followers on our website which is quite low & in order to raise this we need to be more chatty, send in pictures, increase our interaction and post more recommendations. Susan explained the differences between sharing general information, like the Newsletter or recommendations on our website and personal information about our journey through breast cancer diagnosis, treatments etc. which may become conversational or image with or without comment.
Online Group: We discussed the possibility of a Facebook Community Group which would need a Moderator. Jacqui very kindly volunteered & Susan agreed to set it up as a Closed Group.
Website Updates: On the question of which advertisers should appear on our website pages; it was decided that in order to keep our information current we should share our knowledge and experiences constantly and keep this information updated.
Communication & Sharing: Finally it was suggested that we have an Agenda Item on each month re: why we come to PBCSG or how we benefit from coming. We should send in pictures of anything which can be made relevant to our site to raise our currently low profile. Susan said ‘the picture of the back of the head or a pretty flower in the garden - a sign, symbol or picture depicting something appropriate’ may be all you need to send in.
Our new Coordinator: Helen who uses electronic communications in her daily life will discuss and help us decide how this will happen and Jacqui who uses social media on a very regular basis will advance our electronic presence with the help of Susan Brocolli & Blue Monkey Web.
Strawberry Tea: Val was happy to report that the Strawberry Tea, she & her family work so hard to put on every year, made us a Total of £520.32. We thank Val & her family for all the preparation, hard work & care they take of all who attend this annual event. The picture below shows Val in her garden, being presented with a Thank You card and gift by the members who were able to attend on behalf of all the current Group members. Conversations about how we were going to spend some of this money considered treating us to healthy finger food provided by the Holiday Inn for our December Christmas Party/Meeting & the possibility of part funding members to attend a good show locally.
Monthly Speaker: Mandy Benefield, who is a Teacher by profession and has enjoyed making clothes all her life. About 3-4 years ago Mandy undertook a Bra making Course and gets her bra making supplies from a wholesaler in Canada. She brought us samples to examine and explained how these were made. www.fit2sew.co.uk She explained how a bra could be built then used as a model for T-shirts, swimsuits etc. Most of the group present preferred non-underwired bras & Mandy agreed these can be most comfortable but stated that often commercially made underwired bras used standard sized wires or bones so they felt less well fitted or even sore. However, everything in the home-made bra would be accurately measured & so fit comfortably & look just as the wearer chooses it to look. Between 3 & 6 members expressed an interest when Mandy offered Bra-making classes. These would probably take 2 hours each week for 5 weeks or 5 1/2 hours over 2 days.
NHS Healthwatch: We received a communication from the Cambs & Peterborough NHS Healthwatch Organisation thanking us for responding to their questionnaire on the 10 year plan setting out all the Government, via Regional Healthwatch Groups, wants Health Services to do for people across the UK as it hopes to invest £20 billion by 2023.
Welcome: We welcomed many of our new & old members. Denise gave an update on Gill’s continuing treatments i.e. she was coping excellently with the chemotherapy.
Strawberry Tea: Val has sold several more tickets to members for her final Strawberry Tea on Saturday 22nd June 2019. Thank you Val and everyone who donated or is helping out.
Nurses & Referral Info: Helen introduced Nurse Claire Hall, who explained referrals are triaged when they arrive into the Breast Dept. from GP’s etc... The old 2 week wait is now approximately a 6 week wait which she acknowledges may create anxiety for new patients, but staff/consultants were doing extra clinic sessions every weekend and that creates a bigger demand for Operating Theatre time which is probably at a premium. They have recruited more nurses; another new Breast Care nurse is due to start soon at PCH. Other staffing requirements need more time to resolve successfully; such as the recruitment of Radiologists & specific Breast Radiographers. Then there is the need to cover extra Clinics at Hinchingbrooke which has joined the Peterborough Hospitals Trust Group. The good news is Screening Services are still recalling ladies every 3 years for their mammograms.
Substitute Speaker: Justin Preston High, Development Worker with the CPLT (CP Learning Trust) came along and helped us to indulge our artistic skills by choosing & threading the beads for and making ourselves Hand Bangles. There was a great buzz & everyone helped those that needed organizing!!
New Event: Linda informed us that on Saturday the 6th July from 11.30-1pm there is to be a Yaxley Coffee “N” Cake morning at St. Beads Hall, Yaxley. This is being organised by a Breast Cancer survivor to raise money to ‘give back’ to PCH’s Breast Unit. Of course we’d like to encourage as many people as possible to go & try out all those home-made cakes & help to raise money for our favourite department at PCH.
Trip: Helen will be contacting people via email about the proposed Summer Trip to Cambridge. Please look out for her email & respond as soon as you are able.
Hello! We were very happy to welcome newcomers to our Group, Marian, her daughter Sarah & Ann. Welcome too, to Sharn who was new to the Group last month and was due to finish her radiotherapy the week after this Meeting. Well done to all of you and best wishes to Gill who starts her treatments later in May-it was great seeing you, Gill.
Breast Nurses: Helen welcomed Nurse Lisa and our new Breast Care Nurse-Mandy, who joined the PCH Breast Care Team in December and worked previously as a District Nurse and in Palliative Care. Lisa told us changes since amalgamation of the Teams with Hinchinbrooke, Stamford and Peterborough was going well. It had to do with uniting the computer systems, logistics, people etc. in all the Units. Our current Consultants are Mr Abdullah, Mr Goh, Mr Mathew, Mr Tafazall & Mr Rezulski.
Hotel Marigold: Sue gave us a wonderful talk following her trip to India, beautifully illustrated with photographs of the places she’d visited and some of the artistic craft items she’s come across in India. Sue’s trip, with her husband, was organised through the ‘Angel Group’ and included some independent travel, work/visiting Charity Workers and Charitable Organisations etc. She stayed within the grounds of the Hotel Marigold in Jaipur, as we saw it on TV.
NHS & Health Watch: Denise brought an NHS / Health Watch questionnaire which stated: ‘The Government is investing an extra £20 Billion by 2023 in the NHS & wants to produce a plan setting out all it wants the Health Services to do for all people across the UK. We were sent one of these as a Breast Cancer Group by the Cambs/Pboro Health Watch. The questionnaire asked us to consider that there are growing pressures on the NHS.
Strawberry Tea: Val thanked Gill for bringing in printed tickets for the Strawberry Tea next month at her house on 22/6/19, between 3 & 5.30 pm, some were sold for £5 each & she thanked everybody that brought in gifts for the
Intro: Denise introduced Helen as their new Coordinator
Breast Care Nurses: Helen welcomed Claire, our Senior Specialist Nurse from Peterborough City Hospital (PCH), whom we hadn’t seen since Christmas & Claire explained to the Group that the Team had been reformed since Huntingdon Hospital (HH) merged with PC, 2 Breast Care Nurse’s (BCN) at HH ad 3 BCN’s at PCH plus a new BCN has just been appointed. She hopes we will see Nurses regularly at our Meetings. Mandy is the newest Nurse to join the PCH Breast Care Team, hopefully will meet her in May.
Counselling: June wanted to know more about when Counselling Services were offered for breast cancer diagnoses. Claire explained that all breast cancer nurses have been trained in counselling. The Waiting List for Counselling is 12-16+ weeks counsellor covers Women’s Health.
Size & Grades of Cancer: The next discussion about Size and Grade of cancer followed when a member asked ‘could the cancer lie dormant or be ignored/not noticed a while’? Also the different treatments for Oestrogen & progesterone fuelled cancers were discussed as was the time, involvement & diagnosis of axillary lymph node involvement.
Guest Speaker: Indian Head Massage was cancelled - Anna stepped in at very short notice to talk about Reflexology. Reflexology is said to be an ‘Art of stress reduction’ based on the theory that the body is reflected on the feet & less so on the hands. Anna gave us colourful hand & foot Reflexology charts which indicate areas of the body & taught us how to “walk” our fingers along & across specific areas of our hands & feet to ease specific symptoms, pointing out the do’s & dont’s and the grainy or bumpy feelings we may encounter. It was essential to drink 2 litres of water daily to wash out our systems. We thanked Anna for sharing her knowledge & Helen presented her with a card & gift.
Summer Trip: Helen lead a discussion about a summer trip, many were interested in going to Cambridge & enjoying a punt on the River Cam. More information in future Newsletters!
Strawberries: Val said she would be able; after all, to host our Annual & only fundraiser-PBCSG’s Strawberry Tea. This will be her last hosting. It is to be held on Saturday 22nd June, at Val’s house in Downgate, Longthorpe. Tickets will cost £5 & each ticket holder gets a hot beverage, bowl of strawberries & cream and a scone with cream & jam.
Nurses: Sadly our Breast Care Nurses were again unable to attend this Meeting due to not having enough staff to cover holidays, but a question was left on the Attendance Sheet by one member although others may have asked questions if a nurse was present. A short & informal discussion took place about surgical procedures like lumpectomy & mastectomy following a breast cancer diagnosis, treatments offered & things like nipple tattooing etc. which may continue when the Nurses return.
Guest Speaker: Kerry Moore came to demonstrate & explain Oncology Massage to us. Kerry has been a Massage Therapist for 24 years. Her partner underwent serious and aggressive cancer treatments, including Stem cell treatment and now has Cancer all over his bones. Normal massage was not encouraged at the time but Kerry was informed by a woman named Jennifer Young who is also a Biochemist, of an Oncology Massage Training programme, which Kerry completed. The main difference is that Oncology massage is a soothing, relaxing, soft touch massage using long, circular and reverse gentle movements over each area of the body. Kerry uses a Biochemist’s range of products, which are simple and nourishing & non-allergen oils such as grape seed oil, etc. She aptly demonstrated this on Eve, our brave member volunteer who was overcome (in a good way) by the experience and reported feeling many of the benefits listed below. Kerry also explained the benefits reported too her by people who’d experienced her massages as:
- Increased energy
- Reduced nausea
- Less anxiety
- Reduced stress
- Lifting of chemo fog
- Neuropathy lessened
- Better sleep
- Reduced pain. (And Kerry’s favourite...
- ‘To feel Normal’!
Discussion, questions and answers etc. followed. Kerry explained that she had agreed to volunteer to treat patients from a selected Group at the ‘Well Being’ Centre once the normal NHS screening procedures undertaken by the Hospital’s Trust are completed. We then thanked her for her time and expertise.
Quiz: Val sold us the new Macmillan 2019 Summer Quiz ‘Parts of the Human Body’. Good luck to everyone that completes it!
Future Speakers: We had further conversations about Speakers for future meetings this year and many members, including Kerry, our Speaker, who is a member of an active Women’s Group offered to ask people they know if they’d be willing to talk to us at our meetings.
The following are currently the requirements Denise asks of Speakers to our meetings:
- Because we are not a registered charity we do NOT pay any fees or travel expenses to our Speakers but will provide refreshments, water, biscuits & fruit, flip charts and Electrical points for IT/Power Point ‘Talks’, providing we clear this last point with the Holiday Inn first. Speakers are invited to ‘set up’ in the Nurses’ discussion time & leave when they finish.
- We currently have the Nurses slot from 7-7.30pm.
- Speakers are invited from 7.30-8.30pm, this time must allow for talk, demonstration, questions from members & answers from Speaker.
- 8.30-9pm Any/All Business, discussion or just chat amongst ourselves.
Obviously we aim to start & finish on time so please make every effort to help out as the Nurses time is scarce at the beginning & many are keen to get away at the end.
February Welcome Back: Denise gave a warm welcome to our first meeting of 2019 and an apology about the room set-up, which would have been OK if we were holding a seminar - The Hotel had been confused about our bookings but had kindly offered us one set out for a corporate event the next day. We started off with a discussion about the newsletter; Gill wanted to hand this on due to her commitments at the moment. Denise reminded people that she also had asked if someone would take over chairing meetings on a rotational basis. They both hoped that the group would consider helping them out.
Treasurer’s Report: Val reported that she had the groups audited accounts for 2018 and distributed copies for inspection.
Robert Horrell Macmillan Cancer Centre: Eve and Sue commented that they did a lot of group activities at the Centre such as Art, Tai Chi, and Nordic Walking. Denise commented on the importance of looking after ourselves in the recovery period. Gill suggested that as a group we write to the Chief Executive for NWAFT telling her of the benefits the Robert Horrell Macmillan Centre has brought.
- Eve had attended her 1st mammogram in trepidation since her surgery and it had been all clear, she pointed out that stress can cause problems such as diabetes.
- Gill asked if anyone had seen the report that one of the Cambridge Centres had produced an online questionnaire to indicate the likelihood of developing Breast Cancer.
- Helen was interested in how people change following diagnosis and treatment and how/if it still intrudes into life as we change and get older.
- Anne Marie highlighted the support she had been given since her diagnosis and treatment from her family and friends which had made an enormous difference.
- Denise asked if any members would like to talk about a topic at forthcoming meetings and Sue said as she was off to India soon on holiday would be happy to talk about that when she gets back.
- Aruna thanked the group for the trip to the Christmas Market which they all enjoyed.
- Read the full Newsletter.
Denise gave a warm welcome to our first meeting of 2019 and an apology about the room set-up, which would have been OK if we were holding a seminar. The Hotel had been confused about our bookings but had kindly offered us one set out for a corporate event the next day.
We started off with a discussion about the newsletter; Gill wanted to hand this on due to her commitments at the moment. Denise reminded people that she also had asked if someone would take over chairing meetings on a rotational basis. They both hoped that the group would consider helping them out.