Nicky's Story

Demand for Thistle's services is now so intense that we are having to ask people to wait for support. We hope that you will help to #stopthewait and support people, like Nicky, to restart their lives.

"A hospital bed is no place to celebrate Christmas.

But that was where I ended up last year, having chemotherapy for cancer. I was too weak to go shopping for presents for my husband and my four kids. Too exhausted to celebrate properly with my family. Instead, I was stuck on a ward, terrified that I’d never celebrate Christmas again.

Before my diagnosis, I’d been an active and busy mum. I’d just celebrated my 40th birthday, and started a new job. I’d always worked, always kept fit, and always done everything for my family. Cancer took all of that away from me.

During this time, my family were amazing. They looked after me — helping me get dressed and assisting with my feeding tube. But they couldn’t be with me all the time. Alone and unable to go out, I started to spiral downwards into depression.

I had been so focused on getting through chemotherapy and surgery, I never thought about what would happen after my treatment.

Now I was facing the possibility that for the rest of my life, I might have to be fed through a tube. I had to try and accept that I’d never go back to being the active person I once was. The future was terrifying.

That all changed when I came to Thistle.

Even during my darkest moments, I knew that if I could just talk to someone about how frightened I was, then I could get better. When my doctor referred me to Thistle, Sophie* became that someone. Together we talked through all my fears and suddenly I didn’t have to face them alone.

As my Wellbeing Practitioner at Thistle, Donna* helped me get moving when cancer brought my life to a standstill. With her support, I got out of the house to try some gentle exercise. I started walking and cycling.

Life still isn’t easy. But with people I can turn to, the fear of cancer no longer consumes every minute of every day. Now I try to focus on enjoying the moment. I can’t change the future, and the fact is that many people with my diagnosis don’t survive beyond ten years. What’s changed is that I have the ongoing support I need to get on with my life.

Thistle helped me live after cancer. But right now, people just like me are facing illness and disability alone, and they need your help.

When I look back to how my life was six months ago, I know that if I’d had to wait any longer to get help then I wouldn’t be feeling better now. I was so low, and I was in a fast downward spiral. Now that I know the difference Thistle can make, I am determined to make sure people in my situation get the help they need — and to do that I need your help.

You can make sure that, when someone is brave enough to reach out to Thistle and ask for help, they won’t be turned away or be put on a waiting list. A caring person like Sophie or Donna will be right there to hold their hand.

What you can do 

This Christmas, too many people are suffering and struggling alone. They feel trapped, frightened and they need your help. So please, show your generosity today, and help another person like me to start living again after a devastating diagnosis.

Six months ago I didn’t believe I’d be here to celebrate Christmas. You’ve helped me change my life, and now I can’t wait to wake up on Christmas Day with my family all around me.

Thank you, and I wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas".

Nicky

 

*Names have been changed

 

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