For Rocio, like many people, being told she had cancer was devastating. The next step for Rocio was being directed to the Macmillan centre at the hospital, which is where she met Alison, a Macmillan information and support manager.
'Alison let me cry and sob, and then she stopped me and we went back to the beginning. She got me to talk through my fears, then deconstructed them and made them more digestible.'
'I think they were a bit scared,' explained Rocio. 'I also think I tried to look like I was dealing with it all. But the truth is I was so vulnerable and so alone at times, that any support that came to me was amazing.' This support was particularly needed as Rocio's family was in the Caribbean and her boyfriend Jez was living miles away in Cornwall.
As well as having to deal with cancer, Rocio, like so many others, had to deal with the financial impact. So in addition to regular chats with Alison, she was put in touch with Tracey, a Macmillan benefits adviser. Tracey helped Rocio apply for benefits and for a Macmillan grant so that she could visit Jez in Cornwall. 'Because of the support from Macmillan, I didn't feel lonely.'
'It was almost like I was on a train journey before I was diagnosed, and it wasn't brilliant because of my housing situation. But then suddenly I was on a detour, and on a completely new journey that I had no control over. That's the really scary part.'
Rocio says Alison and Tracey have helped her stay upbeat, encouraging her to try wearing a wig and start a textiles course. 'I think feeling positive helps, and that's what Macmillan gives you. If you're respected and you're being told that you’re doing well or you look good, or that you can get support financially or over the phone - that's a lifeline.'
Questions about cancer? Please visit our information and support web pages.
If you want to help people like Rocio, please donate whatever you can today.
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