The New Normal

The New Normal Cancer Support Group

Left to right: Aimee, Helen, Rachael
Aimee – I am a Cancer Nurse Specialist, currently specialising in prostate cancer. I love my job and feel honoured to look after patients throughout their treatment journey.  I am passionate about health and wellbeing for patients.  I believe that support networks outside an acute hospital setting is vital.  Unfortunately I’ve had lots of family friends locally affected by cancer and after a New Years Eve chat with Rachael and Helen we felt there really was a lack of support for people this side of Leicestershire.  Our aim is to provide a relaxed, safe space where anyone affected by cancer can come and feel supported, get the information they need and meet others in a similar situation.
Rachael – I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 after finding a small lump.  10 rounds of chemo, surgery and a month of radiotherapy later I was back at work as a primary school teacher.  Whilst going through the treatments I pulled my positive pants up high and dealt with each day as a different challenge.  When treatment had finished I felt lost, there was a lack of routine and focus, even though I was back at work.  I looked for support groups but they were mainly held in hospitals during the day.  I had seen enough of our local hospitals for a lifetime and having taken time off during treatment, really didn’t want to ask for more time off.  After chatting with Helen and Aimee who had both supported me through my treatments, we recognised a gap in the market and the New Normal was born.
Helen – I’m a qualified doctor, but chose to step away from that life in order to bring up my 4 children.  In the past 4 years I have been volunteering for LOROS hospice.  I am part of their compassionate neighbours – I visit people in their home on a weekly basis – whether we sit and chat, do some gardening or go out for a walk and some lunch, I hope to make a small difference to their week.  Unfortunately over the past few years we have lost a number of friends to cancer, watching them go through treatment, and the news that the cancer is no longer curative we have been able to support each other through these sad times.  What if there are people out there who aren’t as lucky, and don’t have such a large support network? That is why I hope The New Normal will be a success. 
After discussion with Rachael it became clear that after cancer treatment, you find that life has not gone back to normal (whatever that was!), Cancer does change your life, possibly your outlook on life.  Your ability to live the life you lead before getting cancer may not be the same – inevitably you have a new normal.
What will The New Normal Cancer support group meeting be like?
Our main aim for the meeting is to provide a relaxed atmosphere for you to talk to others in a similar situation to yourself.  Remember, the cancer support group isn’t just for the patient going through cancer, it is for those who have undergone treatment and are now given the ‘all clear’, for the families and friends who are supporting patients through treatment, and for those that have lost someone to cancer.
Over the past 6 months we have tried to provide a little education.  We had a wonderful talk about scar therapy, including a little demonstration on scar massage.  We have had some wonderful charities come to tell us about all the work they do for cancer patients.  GEM charity shared all the great things that they have helped put into place down at the chemotherapy suite, Together against Cancer gave us information on what they can offer, from financial to nutritional support.  But it hasn’t all been about cancer treatment.  At Christmas we had a quiz and in April we are planning a bingo night!  Over the next few months we hope to have some alternative therapist visit us, we are going to do some myth busting – answering questions you may have about treatment/nutrition/lifestyle, plus LOROS will be giving a talk to help reduce the stigma that surrounds them.
All of this with a free cup of tea/coffee and a cake or sweet treat available – plus the bar of the cricket club is open to purchase an alcoholic beverage if you choose.
If you think this group could benefit you please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, or drop into our next meeting on the 3rd Wednesday of each month.  If you think you have a skill/hobby that our group would benefit from and would like to give a talk/demonstration please do get in touch!
We are a community group, with very little outgoings – but we do need to pay for the venue on a monthly basis and potentially guest speakers may require some payment in the future. We rely on donations.  If you are a small company, a big company or an individual who would like to donate to our cause, please do contact us.