In the UK we have a charity now called The Haven, formerly the Breast Cancer Haven, which I have always wanted to be able to go to. Inevitably is started in London, then they set up one in Hereford and then Leeds. Now they are raising funds to open a Haven in my area, and this news comes hot on the heels of finding that there is going to be a Maggie's Centre in Southampton.
Trying to get to London for early in the day is a long journey by trains packed with commuters, and it also costs a lot of money so it has always been out of the question for me; and yet the approach of The Haven, like that of the Penny Brohn Cancer Centre, is very holistic with alternative therapies, nutrition and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction meditation at its core. Dr Caroline Hoffman PhD from The Haven was the person who facilitated the MBSR trial that I took part in and which was actually only for those of us with Metastatic Breast Cancer. This was done through Southampton General Hospital where my oncologist is based. This sort of approach is exactly the approach I have taken to learn to deal with having incurable cancer.
Maggie's Centres are similar, but maybe just a bit more of a drop in type of place and are for those with all types of cancer. The started in Edinburgh and are spreading. They deal with Financial advice, nutrition, support groups for patients and families, exercise, creative writing etc.
The most interesting thing will be to see what they do for Metastatic Breast Cancer, and how inclusive they would be. I feel very wary of getting involved with cancer related things because I am 'out' about being Metastatic and there is always that awkwardness about now people react to this. I guess it is a tiny bit like being gay and coming out. It's that 'Oh!' moment followed by a silence as their brain recomputes what to say next. It is just a fact of my life; can't change it, so get on with it.
Only a couple of days ago I was having a day dream about winning a huge amount on the Lottery and how I would tell certain people at work to hand in their notice because I was setting up a Metastatic Breast Cancer Centre, probably in the same village that I work in, and grew up in, because of the good transport links. Who says dreams don't come true?