Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Day 18 #pathways2resilience ~ Nina

Special Feature Edition: Pathways to Resilience: Embracing our Vulnerability, Celebrating our Resilience

Dear Old Nina...
You will soon realise that things are allowed to be ‘just a bit of fun' and for no more reason than them being a bit of silliness. Remember Nina, not everything is about your cancer and certainly not about dying!”
In today’s post for our month long project we are delighted to feature Nina, who first wrote a fabulous blog for Panning for Gold back in March entitled Ducks & Buddhists about her secondary breast cancer diagnosis. For today’s feature Nina has shared a letter ‘New Nina' wrote to ‘Old Nina’ when her preconceived ideas about hospices were thrown out.

Going home from LOROS today after spending time on the ward; who would have thought that all of my pre-conceived ideas about what hospices do have now been thrown out? This has been a week of love, nurturing, laughter, hope and above all, lessons learned. As such, here is a letter to my old-self…
Dear old Nina,
Maybe you think you know what hospices do and maybe you know what LOROS does; you know that place you think of, up on the hill which you so highly regard but so deeply fear since your diagnosis. You go in the charity shops, play the lottery and with it think of all those lives that have been cut short without consent. You have sympathy but don't really delve any further.
And now your life is threatened and you think of LOROS again but not as a place you are supporting and fundraising for but now, as a place that you need. But that can’t be now, surely?
Things start to get a little bit tough and someone suggests you might like to go to the drop in sessions at LOROS. Right, I’m at that stage am I? You think. But something makes you go, despite you feeling incredibly cautious and fearful.
You'll have initial fears of being roped into things you don't feel happy about, or feeling inadequate as you’re dropped in with a group of older people, which I know is a big worry of yours because as much as you love them you fear them too. But don’t worry Nina, you'll look back and laugh. You will soon realise that things are allowed to be ‘just a bit of fun' and for no more reason than them being a bit of silliness. Remember Nina, not everything is about your cancer and certainly not about dying!
The staff will gradually and gently put you at ease, listen to your fears and let you work it through at your own pace. There will be tears, tetchiness and then most importantly, trust. "Slowly slowly, catchy monkey" our gran used to say didn't she? Well, lighten up I'm saying to you. Let go. No one there has an agenda apart from giving you what you need and whenever you need it. That's it. It's a unique type of care at LOROS and they see you as that unique person too.
Drop-in will turn into weekly day therapy sessions. It's a little more supported than drop-in and a volunteer picks you up because you can't drive too far alone. You get lunch, do crafts, get reflexology, a haircut or a manicure and most importantly talk to the nurses – I’m sure you know by now no stone is left unturned, and all those little niggles that you once had become vague memories as they dig gently away, making phone calls, chasing up support groups, doctors, hospitals even chemists. As I said, no stone.
It’s surprising that by visiting LOROS just one day a week, so much can be taken care of in mind, body and soul.
So time has passed and you will find yourself an inpatient on the ward – which you will fear again - to change over your medications under supervision. You will wander down to the Drop-In Session on a Tuesday, which is where you began your journey here. They’re doing flower arranging and you see your pals Gwynn and Dawn – oh yes, friendships, did I mention you'd make these? You'll sit and laugh and tease and gossip and plan. Then walk back to your room chatting to staff on the way, dropping by the aviary for a different type of chat, this time with the birds, then back to your private room.
You know you thought what hospices were? Well, you'll soon learn that you didn't know what LOROS was about at all. You’ll discover that it's very much for the living we are doing each and every day. It’s for our families and friends. It’s a complex and diverse machine powered by doctors, nurses, administrators, fundraisers, planners, spiritual advisors, therapists, volunteers all who want to and seem to love being here. No complaints, moans and groans; no laters, no can’ts, no couldn'ts.
You'll realise how much it has changed your life for the richer and your families too, as the responsibility for your care is both shared and lifted from them.
So Nina, here's some advice, take your time, give them a chance and soon you will be part of the big family that LOROS clearly is. Not only that, but you'll feel proud of them and for yourself for giving them a chance to prove to you that life is yours still and that they will help you live it. So breathe, let them in and breathe again.
Yours sincerely,
New Nina

#panningforgold #pathways2resilience
#bcresiliencecentre #breastcancerawareness

Link to Nina's previous blog Ducks & Buddhists:

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