Carpe Diem (Why I Believe in the Power of Counselling)

by Sarah, Administrator

Why I Believe in the Power of Counselling CROP

 I work in Administration for Iron Mill College. One of the reasons why I wanted to work for the college, is that I believe in the power of counselling. I want to share why I think this. 

 In 2018, on a quiet Sunday afternoon, my normally jolly husband came into our lounge to say he was a bit worried about his health. 

I discussed his problem and said I thought he should see the GP the next day.  On Monday he managed to get to see the GP. Then things moved very fast. The following Thursday we went to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital where my husband had tests. To our amazement, my husband was diagnosed with cancer. It was a complete shock. 

My husband was only 55, relatively healthy and with no cancer in his family that we knew of. This diagnosis came out of the blue and was a complete surprise to us and to our family. 

My husband had mostly treatment that involved surgery to remove cancerous growths. However, this proved to be unsuccessful, and the cancer did not go away. He had one dose of Chemotherapy but that did not work either. In the end, the only option was for him to have major surgery. Fortunately, this proved to be successful. 

While my husband had cancer treatment our house suffered a major boiler leak, and we had such bad water damage we were rehoused to our local Travel lodge for four months. This was over the Christmas and New Year holidays.  

We had two deaths of close family members at that time. Then there came the subsequent sorting of two houses in Nottinghamshire. All whilst cancer treatment was taking place. 

As you can imagine this was a very stressful time.  

As part of the cancer information process, we were introduced to the Force Cancer charity, our local Devon cancer charity, that has a hub on the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. This hub became our refuge for about a year and a half. 

Force offered patients and their carers free tea and coffee, free massages, and free counselling sessions. My husband and I enjoyed the benefits of all these things. 

I think the counselling was key to helping me get through this period of our lives. When faced with a cancer diagnosis people react in very different ways. I found that I struggled with the way my husband reacted to his diagnosis when we had so many other things going on in our lives. 

When I talked to my counsellor, he gave me permission to cope with what was happening in the way that best suited me as an individual rather than as a wife or mother. Consequently, I had several weekends by myself, eating very simple meals and walking by the sea collecting fossils or sea glass, or painting. It was so helpful to be “freed” to cope not as my family or other people expected, or what society might dictate. 

My husband had counselling as well which he found very beneficial at all stages of his cancer treatment. He loved the massage sessions and looked forward to going to his next appointment. 

There are many life lessons that we have learned as a family from this whole period in our lives. I know for sure that I could not have got through this time without the support of an independent and qualified counsellor. 

Now we are living in a time when my husband is cancer-free. Post Covid we are treasuring the opportunities to travel and spend time with family. Life is always unexpected and so we need to seize the day. Carpe Diem. 

Written May 2024



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