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Lillian's story

Lillian John

Meet Lillian

Lillian lives in Pontypool and in 2017 a routine mammogram found that she had breast cancer for the second time. Having her chemotherapy on our Mobile Support Unit has made a huge difference to her and her family. She's also used our Cancer Callback service, and was supported through her treatment by one of our nurses. 

"In 2015 I was discharged from Nevill Hall Hospital after being diagnosed with hormone receptive breast cancer in 2009. For two years everything was fine and I was invited to have my first mammogram since being discharged from the hospital; I went to a mobile clinic at my local supermarket. The scan found an area that needed to be looked at closer and the result of that was a HER2 cancer diagnosis in the other breast - I had cancer for the second time.

"It was more devastating because my son was getting married that month and I had to keep my diagnosis from people at the wedding; I didn’t want it to affect the celebration. The day before my son was getting married I was sat in the hospital having my pre-operation assessment. I had two operations to remove the cancer and because of the HER2 diagnosis I was recommended to have chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

"I had a letter through the post inviting me for my chemotherapy treatment on a ‘bus’ at Cwmbran Stadium. I had to read it twice because I thought it meant I would be getting a bus to Velindre. That was the first time I’d heard about Tenovus Cancer Care’s Mobile Support Units.

"The treatment room has four chairs and you’re able to sit together. You don’t forget why you’re there but you’re made to feel so at ease; you get a nice cup of tea, the nurses are lovely, it’s personal and friendly, you’re there for treatment but you aren’t in a clinical environment.

"My husband drives me to the Unit at Cwmbran Stadium and he has the option to sit in the reception and wait for me, or within five minutes he can be back at home. If I was having my treatment in Cardiff he’d be hanging around waiting.

"The difference in distance is huge for us. It’s a nine mile round trip versus a fifty mile round trip. It’s not just about the cost of travelling back and forth to Cardiff either; it’s the convenience of being able to have my treatment and go straight home to lay down. The last thing you want after having chemo is to be stuck on the motorway. The Mobile Support Unit has been an absolute godsend.

"Tenovus Cancer Care rang me during my treatment and I’m in regular phone contact with a lovely lady called Elaine. One phone call we had after my treatment was to find out how I was doing, and while I was fine physically I wasn’t coping very well mentally. I’ve had friends that have not been so lucky and passed away as a result of their breast cancer - you can’t help but to feel a little bit of guilt. It’s difficult to explain but mentally I was all over the place. During that time Elaine would talk to me about anything, it didn’t have to be about my cancer and I could talk to her like I was talking to a friend. I haven’t got a clue what she looks like but I look forward to our lovely chats. I can’t put into words what a support she’s been.

"It means so much because I’m able to talk to someone that knows about my cancer diagnosis who knows me and what I’m going through. There’s times where I have had the deepest, darkest thoughts that I couldn’t bring up with my family. I couldn’t imagine talking to my children about songs for my funeral but these are the things that go through your head when you get a cancer diagnosis. I needed to talk to someone outside of the family environment that I felt comfortable with and that I couldn’t upset and I’ve had that with Tenovus Cancer Care. They’ve been superb.”

If you'd like to find out more about our Mobile Support Units, or any of our cancer support services, click here or call us on 0808 808 1010.