Treatment for breast cancer is like stepping into the unknown. With planning ahead virtually impossible, it becomes hard to know how to move forward and make the right decisions.

Caroline, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 and again in 2014, understands this more than most. She admits she went back to work too quickly in 2010 because she felt that was the right thing to do. But, it wasn’t until she found Breast Cancer Haven (via a leaflet at the hospital) that she began to recognise that she couldn’t cope and needed to focus on her recovery.

‘I needed someone to make that decision for me and push me in that direction,’ says Caroline. ‘The team at Breast Cancer Haven made me realise that it was ok to make time for me.’

Make time is exactly what she did, with a series of therapies focused on relaxation and mindfulness. And when she hit rock bottom in 2014 - faced with more surgery and chemotherapy - she knew exactly where to turn.

With free services on offer, Caroline is grateful she never had to think twice about a trip to the centre in Leeds Centre. And, with practical and financial advice – the team helped her secure a small grant – it played an important part in her recovery.

For Caroline, Breast Cancer Haven was a “calming and welcoming place, where you could be yourself, with or without a wig.” The actual process of travelling to the Centre was important too: “I could have driven, but I chose to get the bus so I could use the appointments as a way to get out in public,” says Caroline. “I felt able to do that because I knew that the Centre wasn’t far from the bus station and that when I got there I’d feel immediately less vulnerable. It gave me the chance to be around people without feeling the need to explain myself.”

Today, Caroline works fewer hours with less responsibility and understands the real impact of stress on her body.  “Breast Cancer Haven helped me think about what is important in life and I will be forever grateful for the support and reassurance they offered me.”


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