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In August 2014 there was a Q&A Session. Here is that newsletter for download. Q&A August 2014
The Start of another year! Very best wishes to all for 2015. Some of us had already met at our post Christmas event at the Key Theatre to see ‘The Mystery of St Finnegan’s Elbow’, which had been a hoot.
There were just a few of us at our first meeting for 2015 so we used the opportunity to have an in-depth talk about the coming year. A number of issues had been identified and, being a small meeting gave us the time to raise them with the Breast Care Support Nurse, Lisa.
We felt let down by the lack of publicity in the hospital’s PULSE magazine and local media when we donated £1,000 to the hospital Radiography Department. Apart from the importance to advertise the group’s existence, Denise felt people needed to know what we had done with money raised from donations and events.#Lisa was happy to help remedy the situation and took some posters to laminate and put in Breast Clinic, Wards and Oncology. She also offered to contact Communications at the hospital regarding the publicity.
Left to right: June, Margaret, Val and Pat presenting the groups donation to the City Hospitals Radiotherapy Fund.
Denise asked the groups advice about members who have a reoccurrence of their breast cancer. She said in this situation members do not want to come back to the group as they feel it may upset people. This prompted Pat to say that the key word is support which is what we exist for and Zoe agreed.
It was great to see so many members including nurses Claire and Vanessa at the Christmas party. Val recounted the Groups presentation of a cheque for £1000.00 to the City Hospital Radiotherapy department. Members were shown around the new Gating machine, which had cost one and a half million pounds and was housed in a metre thick bunker. The machine wraps around the patient and Val thought it would be quite intimidating to go into. Sadly the hoped for publicity did not materialise despite the Communications team sending out photos and a press release to the local media. Denise thanked Val, Margaret, Pat and June who went as our representatives.
June highly recommended our proposed social event. a trip to the Key Theatre Studio to see ‘The mystery of St Finnigans Elbow’. We decided on the evening of Thursday 29th January. We need to book tickets by 8th January to make sure we can all get in, as the Key studio venue has a limited number of seats. Tickets are £12.00 or £10.50 for over 60’s. If you want to book a place please contact Val on: 01733 267005, Denise 01733 341491 or email
Denise reported that Sue Shaw who runs ‘Casting for Recovery’ a registered charity which supports women who have or have had breast cancer will be coming to our April meeting. It provides an innovative outdoor programme, the first of its kind in this country, which combines fly-fishing, counselling and education to promote mental and physical healing within a rural background.
We have also been contacted by Justine Thompson, Patient and Public Participation Lead for the Strategic Clinical Network and Senate (East of England) about a Macmillan research project questionnaire. It just involves a brief telephone survey information below.
Helen Manning, Yoga Teacher with special interests in cancer, thanked Denise for the invitation and the opportunity to talk to the group about the benefits of Yoga. She informed the Group that researchers in America had identified Yoga as one of three complimentary therapies that had provided most benefit to cancer patients. Women with breast cancer have been found to be amongst the highest users.
Yoga deals with the mind, body and spirit and is known to be calming for those who practice it and helpful in treating symptoms of mood disorders that are highly common among people with a recent diagnosis. After removing our shoes Helen then took us through a range of controlled movements with an emphasis on the spine, breathing techniques and visualisation.
Our attention was then turned to organising our Christmas party, which will be on Thursday 4th December. This year we do NOT need to bring secret Santa gift as we are wrapping up the unsold gifts from Val’s Strawberry Tea Tombola Table.
Val reported that the presentation of the Group’s cheque to the Radiotherapy department was arranged for Tuesday 11th at 2.30pm. Margaret and Mandy volunteered to attend, Rita and Pat also said they wished to attend.
Margaret had designed a floral bouquet for Rita to cheer her up and to say ‘thank you’ for her time as Joint Co-ordinator.
It was agreed that our social event would be a trip to the Key Theatre Studio to see ‘The mystery of St Finnigans Elbow’ which is ‘the wacky alternative to the usual Christmas show’ and preformed by the Eastern Angles. We decided to try and arrange a booking for Thursday 29th January 7.45pm–10ish. Tickets are £12.00 or £10.50 for over 60’s.
At Headstrong: Rita, an old friend and founder member of the group has had to resign and Pam Hills, who is another volunteer, is also leaving. This means there is a need to recruit and train some more helpers. There are volunteers in the pipeline but are waiting to have CRB checks. Gaynor had requested more Peterborough Breast Cancer Support Group leaflets for the Headstrong room which Denise had picked up and Mandy agreed to deliver them.
Denise distributed the Peterborough Breast Cancer Support Group posters for GP Surgeries. Margaret said she had not had any luck with Sainsbury who would not advertise the poster in-store, as we are not a charity, so she was going to try the libraries instead.
Val is looking to present the cheque towards the end of October as this is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Val had contacted Helen, who had given a large donation to the Group this year but as she was not able to attend Margaret and Kanta said they would be happy to go along instead. Denise felt this was an opportunity to publicise the PBCSG and thought it would be good to try to get the Evening Telegraph, Radio Cambridge and other free magazines such as ESP, Cambridgeshire Pride and Nene Valley Living, all of which cover a large area of Peterborough and surrounding villages.
Denise highlighted the Penny Brohn Centre website and encouraged us all to take a look. This Centre takes a holistic approach to Cancer care and provides telephone support as well as residential and day courses on a whole range of living well with Cancer. (www.pennybrohncancercare.org/)
Denise reminded everyone that we still needed to decide what we wanted to do for our January social event.
We welcomed Claire who has recently taken up the post of Staff Nurse part-time at the Breast Unit. Lisa, who accompanied Claire, reported that Katherine Jurkschat who works for Macmillan Cancer Care is hopefully planning to set up both a newly diagnosed information day and open days in the future.
Chris thought this was a good idea as initially you are tied up with all the physical stuff like surgery and chemotherapy and when this is over the emotional effects begin to kick in. Lisa will send flyers if available at that point about these events for the next meeting.
Denise had brought some posters for us to take to our GP Surgery’s advertising the PBCSG details. Thanks to everyone who volunteered to help.
Mandy gave us an insight into her work as a Head Strong volunteer. So far she has done 4 or 5 sessions, in total 6 volunteers provide the Head Strong service in Peterborough and this is still not enough, Mandy is the only volunteer who has not had cancer. For Mandy working for Head Strong has meant she is able to help to make women feel better and share their laughter and experience’s of treatment, family matters or what’s on the telly.
We also discussed our Christmas Party in December and agreed to have a secret Santa bran tub. Other activities suggested were pass the parcel and maybe the Twister game, a themed Christmas Quiz, musical chairs, tying head scarf’s and a memory game and we will ask the hotel to supply the nibbles.
Denise asked for suggestions for speakers for next year, Carole is going to ask an Oncologist if they would come and speak to us, and Val suggested asking Rosie Callcott to do a session on Lymphoedema.
It was agreed Katherine Jurkschat who is based at the Macmillan Centre should be asked to provide a talk on managing fatigue in the New Year.
This meeting was highly anticipated due to the visit of Mrs Shetty Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon and the turnout was good. We welcomed three new members Valerie, Justine and Julie and in the time before Mrs Shetty’s arrival Denise took the opportunity to explain to them how PBCSG operated and the support given, and Margaret highly recommended the ‘Moving Forward Course’, at the Robert Horrell Centre run by the Macmillan Nurses.
The following items were highlighted:
The City Council are offering 10 free sessions on their ‘Lets Get Moving’ course looking at diet, exercise and weight loss.
The group took part in a health and safety day at Perkins on 30th July ‘One Life – Live It’.
Macmillan Cancer Support are hosting an event on behalf of the Hospitals Cancer Service User Group (CSUG) on 5th September 10am – 3pm at the ‘Quality Hotel’ (formally the Butterfly Hotel) and a light lunch is provided.
Helens 50th Birthday donations raised £270.00.
An Orton Southgate Pilates instructor/physiotherapist is hoping to put together a course for breast cancer patients.
Sadly our Treasurer, Pat Ash has had to give up this post. We send our best wishes to Pat, her Mum & family and Thank Pat for all her time and effort, including coming into Peterborough whenever we needed something doing!
Meanwhile we are grateful to Val who has generously added to her already busy schedule.
We were a smaller group for this meeting, which took place as usual in the Holiday Inn. Our speaker Patricia Mendes had cancelled her visit due to family commitments.
Denise, therefore, updated us about the Strawberry Tea event that Val organised in her lovely garden at Longthorpe. The weather was excellent and 48 people came along to support the event raising over £300 at the end of the day.
We were reminded that the Health and Safety day at Perkins on 30th July ‘One Life – Live It’, needed volunteers willing to spend 1 – 2 hours talking to people about the group and to provide information about Breast Cancer.
Jabeen and her friend Tafseer were attending for the first time and Dovi suggested we all introduce ourselves to them. Dovi said that for her part the trials and tribulations of cancer treatment had led to feelings of being down and coming to the group had provided positive feedback.
Denise said that Mrs Shetty would be coming to the group's August meeting and was there any questions that members would like to put to her?
Vanessa reported that the hospital has seconded an Outpatient Nurse to Breast Cancer Care unit to join the Breast Care Nurse Team.
Concerns were expressed about younger women now being diagnosed with Breast Cancer and GP surgeries failing to pick this up. Some GP’s needed more training as they could be dismissive around what they see as inappropriate referrals even though they are not specialists in this. It seems that Breast Cancer is viewed as age related and unlikely to occur in younger age groups.
We had a good turn out to plan the Strawberry Tea event on 21st June, which is being hosted by Val. In case of bad weather Val has organised a Marquee and there will also be a tom bola stall (donations to this welcome) and space for plant sales.
Val also reported on the Perkins Engine Health Fayre event on the 30th July ‘One Life – Live It’. Members willing to spend 1 – 2 hours talking to people about the group, answer people’s questions, advise on where and how to get further information and to give out Headstrong and Breast Aware leaflets, are needed. Denise will collect the names of those willing to take part at the PBCSG July meeting.
Helen has been dealing with emails that have arrived through our Face book page and was contacted by Yaxley Medical Practice for some of our leaflets. These can be obtained through the Breast Cancer Clinic or Carole. A discussion on whether we should be putting these in all GP Surgeries resulted.
Denise informed the group of the hospitals trust Cancer Service Users Group, which is reforming and is open to all cancer patients. Its purpose is to provide some insight into what is wanted by service users. Val, Margaret, June and Gill agreed to attend and find out more about it.
A session on financial help was suggested which could be crucial when going through cancer treatment and care. Most members felt the process of how and what can be applied for is mainly a mystery. So a session on this might, it was thought, be useful and maybe the CAB could provide an information session.
We began the evening listening to a presentation given by Susan ably aided by Davide. This husband and wife team are the generous donors of our websites www.pbcsg.co.uk & www.peterboroughbreastcancersupportgroup.co.uk and all that entails. They have worked tirelessly in updating and modernising every aspect of the site.
Susan & Davide explained that our face book pages are separated into a public area & a private area. Anyone can see & communicate on the public pages, so family, friends etc. can be invited onto this page. However, the private area can only be accessed by members of this group who are invited to join by current members & the administrator who is currently Susan; family & friends will not have access to this page.
We welcomed back Belinda who is still undergoing chemotherapy. You look good Belinda, just take one day at a time; we are all rooting for you.
Please support our main fund raiser this year. Saturday 21st June, the longest day, Val, Dennis & their family will kindly host our Group Strawberry Tea at their Longthorpe home. We need: Plants for the plant stall; Lots of smallish tombola prizes; Small tables & chairs for use on the day & as many people as possible attending to create a great atmosphere & boost our funds for local cause/s. Please contact Val on 01733 267005 for address & the most suitable times of delivery of furniture. Donation for the Tombola & plant tables can be brought to the June Meeting.
Rita, Denise’s Co coordinator and volunteer contact for the PBCSG leaflet and website, has sadly had to resign due to caring commitments. We would like to give a big thank you to Rita for all she has done for the group over the years. Helen and Pat agreed to step in and replace Rita’s name on the leaflet. Helen will deal with the website and will filter emails and answer/pass on those messages that need a response to Denise or Gill.
Printing of the revised PBCSG leaflet - which goes into the Breast Care Unit’s new patient pack – has been donated by the printers Carole works for. The design, formatting and setting up the leaflet has been provided by Susan from Blue Monkey. We are very fortunate to have the goodwill of these local businesses and are grateful for both their help and support.
Margaret gave us a demonstration on how to make a buttonhole with silk flowers and then provided us with the necessary materials to make one ourselves.
Val is selling tickets for the Strawberry Tea event in her garden. This will take place on the longest day, 21st of June and tickets are £5.00 each. Val will be providing strawberries and cream, scones and strawberry jam plus a cup of tea.
Denise reminded us that our main fundraising efforts for this year will go towards the X-ray Departments Linac Gating appeal for chest and lung cancer’s, at present patients have to travel out of the area for treatment.
Denise announced the development of the ‘Lets Get Moving’ courses that are now based around the city - a free 10-week programme with 2 physical activity sessions a week run by trained instructors.
Jane Mulhearn who runs the Bourne Breast Cancer Support Group is organising a charity ball for the breast and oncology units at Peterborough hospital on 28th June here at the Holiday Inn. She is hopeful some of us will support her in this.
We were pleased to see the return of Psychotherapist Mimi Kilgour. Mimi, who donates her time freely to the group, previously ran a workshop looking at the individual impact of a cancer diagnosis. This time she was looking at how to deal with family emotions.
Mimi used the simple analogy of a boat with everyone close to us in it that is rocked by a sudden wave and the effect that has on everyone aboard. In the same way a cancer diagnosis will at the least cause anxiety and sometimes fear for family, friends and to some extent in the wider environment such as work colleagues and neighbours.
There was a very positive response to Mimi’s workshop providing the opportunity for us to express our feelings and share our experiences. Mimi also provided a comprehensive hand out on Effective Communication Within the Family, giving examples of different ways to communicate. Mimi ended by saying that she offered two free sessions to any member of the Group who wanted it, in memory of her dear friend Carol who was the Groups founder member.
A patient leaflet about a Community Cancer Nursing Pilot was circulated for comment. Vanessa explained that this was a two-year project involving caring for people in the community with a cancer diagnosis.
Denise reported that the Breast Cancer Support Group Leaflet was due for a reprint and that Carole who works at a printers said she'd ask the cost of printing 500 copies.
Our first meeting in 2014 was small due mainly to the weather. Who would have thought it could rain so much and for so long?
This was an open meeting and we talked about a number of issues starting with the problems of using prosthesis after mastectomy and how to stop them falling out of a bra. Some of us had discovered stick on ones, which seemed to do the trick providing we did not get hot enough for them to peel off. You can discuss about stick on prosthesis in the Prosthesis Clinic if/when you require a new prosthesis.
Bras in general are often a problem after breast cancer surgery and there was a mixed reaction to how Marks and Spencers and John Lewis provided their bra fitting service. ‘Eve’ in Oundle had good feedback.
Claire reminded us that in fact John Lewis would be hosting a lingerie evening in conjunction with Breast Cancer Care on 10th April 2014.
We also discovered that a BMI (Body Mass Index) over 32 would mean that not all options of reconstructive breast surgery could be carried out. For those of us wanting to loose weight the City Council run ‘Lets Get Moving’ and ‘Lets Keep Moving’ sessions. Denise, who is currently going to the sessions was feeling the benefit of the exercises and was meeting people with other conditions not just cancer. Sessions can be accessed via a GP referral.
Macmillan Nurses also run ‘Moving Forward’ courses at the Robert Horrell Centre on the Peterborough City Hospital Site, which concentrate on getting life back into focus after a cancer diagnosis/treatment. To attend these contact Breast Care Nurses.