Emotional healing - 'feeling better' is as important as cancer treatments
Shona wasn’t sure she should attend a Look Good Feel Better class. She had undergone gruelling cancer treatment but to the outside world looked well. So it was with trepidation that she went.
“Physically I was starting to feel a lot better but emotionally I would say that I was at my lowest point. So the class for me was not necessarily to make me look better. For me it was more about feeling better,” the 36 year old says.
It will be two years ago in July that Shona was diagnosed with stage 2b cervical cancer. She endured five rounds of chemotherapy, 25 fractions of external radiation and then internal radiation.
“I was lucky enough to not lose my hair or my eyebrows and, so in some ways I wondered if I should actually go to the class. It wasn’t until I turned up and I met all the other cancer patients that I felt like I was actually entitled to be there. I felt I was with like-minded people. It was a really nice, kind, caring, comfortable environment. It was just time out that you don’t always give yourself.
“it was a couple of hours where it was all about me and someone was pampering me and it was a really beautiful lovely kind of feeling. it wasn’t the only thing that helped me to feel better but I think it was a step in the process for me.
“A lot of my disease felt really invisible. It’s all inside, you can’t see any of that. The majority of what you go through is hospital based. You, at times, can feel like a bit of a number, not a person. Going to that class made me feel less invisible. And that was a huge thing for me because you become more real again and you feel really cared for.
“It was a real positive day – you’re surrounded by so much love and care and support. I am very glad I did it. It helped the emotional healing.”
Men's Facilitator Workshop 2018
Look Good Feel Better NZ secured a Dry July grant in 2017 towards running a facilitator training workshop for the Men's Programme (which is also funded by Dry July). The aim was to help educate Facilitators about the Programme, ultimately offering better access to the new LGFB Men's programme across NZ centres for any man, diagnosed with any cancer. Now, all Men's Programme participants will have access to a fully trained, knowledgable, empathetic Facilitator and a consistent programme no matter where in the country they are living or being treated for cancer.
Images from the workshop can be seen here: https://quik.gopro.com/v/F82mvHlaXy/.
Cancer and Blood Welcome Video
Auckland DHB used funds from Dry July 2016 towards a Cancer and Blood Welcome video designed to give patients and their families peace of mind.
The film takes viewers on a tour of facilities by staff, who answer frequently asked questions by patients about to start medical oncology (including chemotherapy), radiation oncology (including radiation therapy)or haematology services. Patient interviews are also included.
Since 30 January 2018, the video has been featured on the Auckland DHB vimeo channel as well as the following Healthpoint pages:
Auckland DHB Oncology Services
Auckland DHB Radiation Therapy
Auckland DHB Clinical Haematology
All pages have been optimised for search to ensure that ADHB is able to reach as many people as possible who are looking for more information about the services provided.
These three Healthpoint pages receive on average 1000 visits per month (cumulative) by members of the public, and the video is the first thing that visitors see when coming to any of these pages.
The Auckland DHB video link has been viewed more than 180 times since it was published.
2017 Funding provides a much needed upgrade!
Margaret Stewart House Wellington now has fantastic new bedding, lounge furniture and laundry appliances thanks to a grant from the Dry July Foundation. It’s wonderful to finally replace items that have given us 20 years’ faithful service. We’ll be able to get through lots of laundry, especially in winter, with the brilliant commercial-grade laundry appliances we now have! The very generous grant means we can keep providing a very comfortable home away from home for people needing a place to stay while receiving outpatient cancer treatment at Wellington Hospital.
Much needed refurbishment at Shirley Crawford Haven
The Far North Community Hospice Shirley Crawford Haven provides a home away from home for the patient and their family / whanau. It is a self contained unit with bathroom, lounge/dining area, bedroom and kitchenette. Funds raised from the 2017 Dry July Campaign have helped to update the space at the Shirley Crawford Haven with comfy lounges, new carpet and blinds.