Complementary Therapy Week 2021: Wendy’s Story
Wendy tells us more about how complementary therapies have helped during her treatment
Did you know that Weldmar Hospicecare offer patients a range of complementary therapies?
They are all provided free of charge, which work alongside conventional medical treatment and aim to support physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, enhancing quality of life.
This week is National Complementary Therapy Week, and we’ve been speaking to Wendy, who attends our Day Services in Dorchester, and has embraced a number of the therapies available.
Eighteen months ago, Wendy was referred to Weldmar Hospicecare by her GP, following a diagnosis of secondary breast cancer.
It had been a tumultuous time for Wendy, who had recently moved to Dorchester from Cambridge. She had already battled primary breast cancer and the second cancer diagnosis, made just before her move to Dorset, indicated it had spread to her bones, so she also had a hip replacement.
“I wasn’t in a great place and I was suffering from a lot of fatigue”, Wendy explains, “and so my GP asked if I would like to be referred to the hospice, primarily for Day Services. So I started going every Tuesday. I say that it’s like a club that you don’t want to be in, but I found Day Services to be very helpful, I enjoyed doing the art, and chatting with everyone.”
It was at Day Services that Wendy was introduced to Jam Che, a gentle touch form of massage, and she says that as well as finding it very relaxing and a help in ‘switching off’ from her worries, it also opened her eyes to the benefits of complementary therapy.
“I think that the sense of touch with these therapies is very important, and means a lot to me. It’s like a healing touch.”
One of the complementary therapies that has been particularly beneficial to Wendy is reflexology. “I have had a problem with my feet, and also with my gut as a result of morphine, and the practitioner can focus in on those areas that you’re finding troublesome.”
As well as the actual therapy being administered, Wendy says that the communication with the therapist throughout the session also provides reassurance. “You can feel quite lonely when you are poorly, and in your head you’ll feel like you’re the only one going through this, which is quite illogical – and I’m not usually like that. The therapists are really talented in explaining that other patients have experienced similar things and that they are more normal than you think.”
Aromatherapy has also been a help to Wendy. “I have popped essential oils in my bath, and also into a diffuser, and these have helped me with me sleep, and also with the anxiety that I feel, especially before my scans. When I am in that state, it’s when the complementary therapies can really help because they can ground me and help me manage.”
“It helps with mindfulness too, and you can be ‘in the moment’ during a therapy. At other times, your mind can race off in all kinds of directions, which is not very good. I find it very calming, and helpful when you are feeling stressed. It puts you in a safe space.”
Complementary Therapy Lead at Weldmar, Jo Pasker
Wendy admits that she was a little sceptical of complementary therapies at first, but now would encourage others to give them a go. “You’re not going to lose anything by trying them out, and you might find things that can help. You might be surprised to find that something is a little less painful than before. That’s what I have found for myself. Also, if you are feeling a bit better and more chirpy, it can really benefit your family and those around you who can see that.”
“I didn’t know that Weldmar offered these services when I was first referred”, says Wendy. People normally associate a hospice with negativity, and a place to go to die. Actually, even if you do go there to die it is quite a happy place, bizarrely! I am very glad that my GP pointed me in your direction. You come out feeling very positive after a day at Day Services. The lunch is delicious, and always served beautifully. All the staff, whichever area they are working in, work very hard to give the patients such excellent care, and the complementary therapies have been so beneficial for me.”