Ray Thorne tells us how a support group for people with oesophagus and stomach cancer helped him – and how through a buddying scheme in Skegness he’s been able to give something back.
‘I’d been part of a support group and got a lot out of it and was asked if I wanted to be part of a buddying group for people with oesophageal cancer. I remembered how I felt when I was going through it – feeling alone and not knowing what to expect – and I thought I could give something back.
‘I’ve been buddied up with a number of people and they’re all different – some need quite a bit of support and like to have regular contact. Others, once they’ve had a chat, they know they can phone you if they have a problem.
‘When you meet someone you can almost see the relief on their face. They can see I’ve recovered fairly well and think “This is how I’m going to be”. I’ve also had a relative call me with a concern and they told me afterwards how much it reassured them.
‘We also have group meetings with everyone there: people preparing for the operation, recovering after it and partners and carers as well. We talk about everything and you pick up little hints and tips, “Oh yeah, I suffered from that” and “I did this”.
‘I got a lot out of the support group and it helps me too because I know how I was when I had my operation and I wish I had this help.’
Find a self-help support group near you.