Anne Keane has been using Rennie Grove’s day services at Grove House since 2016. Here she tells us why the charity’s help has been invaluable since receiving her cancer diagnosis.
“I’ve had no vision in my right eye since childhood but when I started to see double after an exercise class in 2015, I began to worry. I went to hospital and after nine hours of scans, I was told I had a tumour in the back of my left eye. I was advised to have surgery but this would mean I would be blind in both eyes and I really wasn’t sure.
“A few months later, after being referred elsewhere for further tests, I was told they had also found tumours in my lungs and near my pelvis. I then had a lung biopsy and was told it was breast cancer that had spread all over. As I felt pretty fit and healthy, this all came as a real shock to me and I really didn’t know where to turn.
“I phoned Grove House and was encouraged to come along to a Drop-in session. There I was able to speak to someone who gave me advice and pointed me in the right direction for the help I needed. Attending Nurse Clinic gave me the opportunity to talk to someone and sort things out, both practically and emotionally. It put me in a better place and made me feel more prepared for whatever will happen to me - and it’s reassuring to know the support from Rennie Grove will be there if need it.”
“I was asked if I’d like to be part of Rennie Grove’s six-week HOPE course. HOPE stands for Help Overcoming Problems Effectively. The course encourages you to become more grateful by turning something negative in your life into something positive. We would have meditation sessions and one week a nutritionist came in to talk to us about eating the right types of food. In another session we did chair exercises, so each session was varied.
“Most of the patients on the course had been recently diagnosed, so it was a very difficult time for everyone especially when you’re so unsure about your future. To have a course like that which is available to people who need hope in their lives at a traumatic time is wonderful – I’m so glad Rennie Grove was able to offer it to me.”
“I’ve also been part of The Movement. This 10-week exercise course encourages you work at your own level. The class is set up like a circuit, usually with about eight different stations, and we move around the room doing different movements. Being part of an exercise class like this is different to going to a ‘normal’ exercise class because staff know your background and what your ability is.”
“Coming to Grove House and using Rennie Grove’s day services has given me the chance to talk to other patients. They know what it’s like to go through chemo or radiotherapy and being able to share experiences is really comforting. It can be difficult for friends who have all the will in the world to understand what you’re going through but haven’t ever experienced it.
“I have son and a daughter-in-law who have found my illness difficult to cope with from the beginning which I understand. My husband died very quickly after being diagnosed with cancer 22 years ago so I know what it’s like.
“It’s important to me to have everything prepared for my son so that when I’m gone he doesn’t have to make any decisions. With the encouragement and help of the Rennie Grove staff, I have been able to put everything in place. I’m glad I’ve sorted things out now. It can be difficult to talk to your family about things like this so having the support of staff here has been a great help.
“Nobody knows what’s going to happen in the future but it’s nice to know that the path ahead of me is planned. I would recommend Rennie Grove and its services to anyone.”
“My advice to anyone who has just been diagnosed would be not to think twice about making a call to Rennie Grove. The care and support and the way you are given every help and encouragement is invaluable. If I hadn’t found Rennie Grove I don’t know what I would have done.
“I was in real turmoil not knowing what my prognosis was, what was happening to my eyes, what was happening to my lungs – there was so much going on at once. I was going to all these different hospitals where I was told so much confusing information. But to be able to speak to a Rennie Grove nurse and calmly sit and say “I don’t know what’s happening” is amazing. You have a listening ear and support here and I wouldn’t be without it.”