Maggie's Centre's

I wanted to dedicate a full blog post to Maggie's Centre's as I believe it's an invaluable resource and wanted to share it with others that have been affected by cancer.  If you've never heard of Maggie's, it's a place  that provides free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their family and friends.  The first Maggie’s Centre opened in Edinburgh in 1996 and my local Maggie's Centre is conveniently located on the grounds at which my Mother has her treatment.  As such, we stopped by one day after an appointment to see what services they have to offer.  Maggie's staff are informed and qualified professionals providing advice on the practical sides of cancer aswell as emotional support.  But it is also so much more than that.

If you're ever been to a Maggie's Centre, you will recognise the care and attention that has been invested to ensure the centre has a calm and relaxing atmosphere which resonates from the outside in. Recently built, Maggie's Oxford is a beautifully constructed tree house like timber building that seems to levitate and transcend the clinical and hospital grounds.  In fact, amazing architecture is a central theme to all Maggie's Centre's nationwide.  Inside, the area is spacious and light with comfortable seating areas that are both inviting and uplifting.  My mother and I instantly felt relaxed and calm as soon as we went in and were greeted by the friendly staff.  It is a far cry from the hustle and bustle of the outside world and the clinical and emotionally draining atmosphere of the hospital close by.

As you enter a Maggie's Centre, you will be approached by friendly and professional staff able to listen patiently and offer advice.  At times, this cancer journey is extremely difficult and the simple act of a stranger offering you a cup of tea and a biscuit is warm relief when you've been sat in a chair for hours with needles poked into your arms.  Maggie's provides a service which your medical team can't but is just as vital to your health and well being.

To assist in your 360 degree medical care, Maggie's also provide a variety of classes and sessions designed to ease the emotional stress of chemotherapy such as tai chi, relaxation and visualisation classes.  When my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, I realised that I don't know anyone who has cancer but wanted to speak to someone who has.  So, this is a good way to meet and speak to like minded people who are living with cancer and can prove to you that life does still go on!

As a carer for my mother, which is a full time job in itself, I also have my full time, permanent employment.  Luckily, my employer is understanding of my situation and allow me to work flexible hours (a further blog post on that later).  For those who are frequent visitors to hospitals, you will know that hospital days and filled with periods of inactivity, followed by a plethora of medical staff asking "How are you feeling?" and then needles and drips.  In between these lulls, which often last hours, I try to squeeze in some work to ease my guilty conscience somewhat.  Maggie's can accommodate the cancer lifestyle as they understand this need and allow me to just sit and do work whilst my mother has a cup of tea and relaxes in a calm surrounding before we step into the hospital.

Maggie's is a welcome surprise, offering advice and resources to support and guide both someone living with cancer and their carer.  Like a friend, they are there when you need them in the background.

Take care



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