Emma, wife, mum of two, blogger and lawyer from Devon, received breast cancer diagnosis in 2019

When Emma was diagnosed, she had no concerns in telling her manager and place of work. However, being the first employee in her team to come forward with a cancer diagnosis meant they were both unsure of what support and resources were available but as part of the Royal College of Nursing employee benefits package through UNUM, Emma had access to Reframe’s support services.

Initially, Emma didn’t think she needed our services and was worried it would add another appointment to her growing list. But after a week Emma thought she would just give us a ring to see how we could help, and she is so glad she did.

Emma was introduced to her team that would support her throughout her 24-month plan, including Suzanne, a Cancer Nurse Specialist. “Suzanne has been amazing and easy to speak to. She made it clear that she was available as and when I needed to chat, air concerns to or just run an odd feeling or side-effect past her.”

Having access to a single point of contact who is also an experienced care professional, empowers our clients with the knowledge and understanding of their diagnosis and treatment options. Our support team go above and beyond to help their clients and one thing that has stayed with Emma was how Suzanne helped her one Friday afternoon.

“Out of the blue I received a letter detailing a new scan that I was required to have. This one wasn’t on the list so I was immediately concerned that something had been picked up in the other scans, the results of which I hadn’t received at this time.”

“I tried calling the hospital but couldn’t immediately get the reassurance I needed and so I called Suzanne. She put my mind at ease and provided other perspectives on why they might want to see me and suggested that she would call the hospital and clarify this herself.”

When Emma was able to speak with her hospital team, it turned out they were being extra cautious, and she had simply received the scan result letters and new appointment letter in the wrong order. In that moment of worry, Suzanne helped to reduce her anxieties.

There to speak to

Emma’s support team was there to speak to as and when she needed. She began to build a relationship – with Suzanne in particular – and when she felt like she would be bothering her hospital team, she would call Reframe to double check how she was feeling. Running her questions and worries past Suzanne filled her with confidence [that she wasn’t being silly].

Emma felt at ease to ask Suzanne anything and knew she’d get an answer – “If she [Suzanne] didn’t know something, then it probably wasn’t worth knowing.”

At the very beginning of treatment, just after her PICC line had been inserted, Emma felt a fluttery feeling when lying down. She called Reframe to check what might be causing this and whether this was ‘normal’. Her team prompted and prepared her to call the hospital – leaving her to feel valid for phoning her hospital team.

Our clients are placed at the heart of their support programme. “There was never any pressure to have meetings or calls with Reframe – I usually had weekly calls but felt no pressure to pick up if I was feeling unwell or had the children running around.”

How a blog led to a book

Her approach with friends and family was to treat her as normal and to keep making her laugh. She quickly became bombarded with positive messages seeking updates so started sending a weekly ‘mini blog’ update after her Tuesday treatments.

Emma found the experience of writing throughout her treatment journey to be extremely cathartic. Encouraged by suggestions from her friends and family to write a book, she thought, “why not?”

Our critical support programme equips clients with an understanding of their cancer diagnosis and treatment options, enabling them to feel in control and able to carry on with their life and goals.

Emma has a successful blog and in September 2020 released ‘Take My Hair (but not my humour): One mum’s journey seeing off Breast Cancer‘. In her own words, “this book is a Bridget Jones meets cancer.”

*Image is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent Emma.

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