Karen was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, which resulted in a mastectomy, reconstructive surgery and further treatment.

“As I approached my five year milestone last year, and the day to stop taking my medicines, I became very anxious and felt depressed. Everyone kept saying I should be really pleased but deep down I was dreading not having regular checks, mammograms and tablets to keep the cancer away. I felt that my comfort blanket had been pulled away from under me. Then my breast nurse suggested I attend counselling sessions at the Dimbleby Macmillan Support Centre at Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup.

The centre offers a variety of services including; specialist information advice, complementary therapies, stress management workshops, counselling, welfare benefits advice and support groups.

Over the last few months I have attended various workshops including the ones for sleep, stress and relaxation and aromatherapy. I have also been having massages with the staff in the centre and am currently signed up for other workshops in the 2018. The services have been instrumental in helping me bridge the road from treatment to getting back to my normal life pre-cancer. My confidence is growing and I feel less anxious. But when I am having a bad time I now have the tools to help me overcome these feelings.

Having these services available to me locally is so helpful as I can quite often get panic attacks when travelling a distance especially on public transport so the fact they were just on my doorstep made such a difference.

Since my diagnosis my outlook on life is definitely different and I try to pack in as much as I can with holidays and activities I would not normally do. I’ve created my ‘50 Things To Do List’ of things I want to achieve between the ages of 50-60. I have currently crossed off about nine so far. The Dimbleby Macmillan Support Centre has been key to me gaining my confidence back in order to do this and look to the future to start planning again.”

Karen Goldstone, 51, Barnehurst (Kent)