Angela’s Story

Angela has been accessing Rennie Grove Peace services since a cancer diagnosis in the summer of 2022. She tells her story.

Angela’s Story

Support from diagnosis

Angela has been accessing Rennie Grove Peace services since a cancer diagnosis in the summer of 2022. She tells her story…

“After being diagnosed with breast cancer I was treated with a mastectomy and radiotherapy. The cancer had spread to my bones which impacts my mobility and means I live with pain in my bones.

“I was referred to the specialist nurse clinic at Peace Hospice for support with the pain I experience. The nurses at the clinic were great at explaining to me how best to manage my pain through medication. They explained how different pain killers could be used in combination to best manage my pain. I had a lot of concerns around using morphine-based painkillers and they were able to talk to me about my concerns and explain everything, to calm my fears.

“When the specialist nurse clinic had supported me with my pain, they suggested I try outpatient exercise classes to support my mobility. I was referred for a 12-week course of the higher-level exercise class and am about two-thirds through the course.

“I absolutely love coming to the exercise classes. I really look forward to coming to the classes and for me, the benefits are two-fold.

“First, the exercises help me to stay mobile. And keeping my mobility, after the diagnosis of cancer in my bones, is incredibly important to me. There are a lot of chair exercises in the classes which are just right for where I am in terms of fitness and mobility. I have a lot of nerve damage in one arm from the radiotherapy that was used to treat my breast cancer. I have lost a lot of the use of that arm but the exercises are tailored and really help me to build the strength back up in my arm.

“The thing I like about the chair exercises is that I can remember them and do them myself when I’m sitting in my chair at home. So I’m not just exercising once per week in the class, I can keep it up in my own time.

“Exercise has always been a part of my life so for me, being able to still exercise is very important to me. I always used to go to exercise classes like boxercise or Zumba. Being able to take part in exercise classes at Peace Hospice helps me feel like my old self again. The higher-level exercise class gives me the benefits of attending a class – the motivation to keep going and the social side, but in a way that I know is safe for me following my diagnosis. The staff who run the class always encourage us to listen to our bodies and only push ourselves as far as we comfortably can.

“The other benefit for me is the social side. The group is wonderful and we always have a chat and laugh during the sessions. It’s a lovely group and I wake up on Tuesday mornings looking forward to coming to the class.

“I don’t drive but Rennie Grove Peace arranges a volunteer driver to bring me to the class. This is great for me because I know I’ll be picked up and can just relax on the way to the class. If there wasn’t a volunteer driver I’d have to be thinking about whether the bus would turn up and how I’d get from the bus stop to the hospice. I think I’d be too exhausted by the journey to take part in the class. So for me, the opportunity to have a volunteer driver has really made the difference between me being able to take part and not.

“The exercise classes aren’t the first time I’ve benefitted from a volunteer driver. I have previously had a course of scar therapy at Grove House in St Albans. That was wonderful. The therapist was just marvellous and really made a difference to me after my mastectomy. As well as massaging the scar tissue, we talked about all kinds of things like how best to care for my skin and the impact of diet on my recovery. She recommended creams to me that I still use now – both to help with my scarring and to tackle the very itchy skin that I had after radiotherapy.”