Ask Delyth Thomas about the hardest part of treatment for breast cancer and she won't tell you about the surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy. She'll tell you about a time three months on from the end of active treatment - a time when she thought she'd feel much better but, in fact, she felt so much worse.

Delyth's story is not unusual. Moving forward after breast cancer can be hard. Hard not because you have lots of hospital appointments in the diary, but because everyone around you wants life to return to normal at a time when it is anything but.

Having worked throughout active treatment in a stressful job, Delyth admits she didn't give herself the time to process what was happening: 'I had my head down, just coping.' So when she was put on the drug Femara at the end of her treatment, she assumed it would be time to 'recover and move on'.

It wasn't. 'I remember feeling so disappointed and frustrated about not being well when I thought I would be so much better,' says Delyth. She didn't immediately link the drug to the way she was feeling, but a trip to Breast Cancer Haven helped her realise that she didn't have to suffer alone and just accept what was happening to her.

'At Breast Cancer Haven, everyone takes such a huge interest in what you are going through and, when I explained about my achy joints and that I was feeling horrible, someone suggested I go back and ask to discuss changing my medication,' explains Delyth. 'And, that's exactly what I did.'

The Hereford Centre, which she describes as: 'a place that is serene, calming and restful' has had a huge impact on Delyth's recovery. It gave her the chance to enjoy some precious 'me time'. And, it also gave her the opportunity to turn trips to the centre from her home in Cardiff into calendar highlights: 'we'd make a day of it. It wasn't all about the centre. It was about the journey away from the city into the countryside. It was an escape. I miss going up there. I miss the drive, the nice hotel on the way, the gorgeous valley and stopping for a coffee and a wander round the shops.'

Delyth's journey is one she hopes many others affected by breast cancer have to strength to take. So much so, she's even suggested helping out: 'If someone is under-confident and nervous about making the trip, I would offer to drive them there.'


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