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The Joys of an Oncology Ward

You may expect an oncology ward to be a sad place. A place of suffering and tears. Pain and death. A place where people have lost hope and with it their spirit, their vibrancy taken by the many drugs, treatments and procedures.

You’d be wrong…

I remember at the start of the film ‘Love Actually’, Hugh Grant describes the love you see in an airport; people greeting one another with hugs and kisses and happy stories of fun and laughter. I liken this to an oncology ward.

You see here there are no arguments, no stress, no hatred. There is only room for love.

The patients have a certain appreciation of life that comes with a cancer diagnosis. They laugh and joke together and quickly bond. They have a connection they don’t share with their friends and family. They know the pain they each feel, the daily struggle they each face and they see through it, sharing stories of how far they have come, supporting those at an earlier stage in their journey and learning from those who have been walking this road for many years. It is truely inspiring to watch. I am so touched by the strength of my fellow warriors.

Likewise the visitors, the friends, the family members don’t bring stress or drama or judgement. They bring hugs, photos, stories and laughter. They bring hope and a reminder of life outside the hospital walls. Most importantly they always, always bring love.

I am most inspired by the partners [mine most definitely included of course]. They are pillars of strength for the person they love. They comfort and sooth. They bring smiles and laughter to faces stained with tears. Then partner no longer looks the same and yet they look beyond it. They show the importance of loving a soul and not a body.

There, of course, is a sadness too in their eyes. Sometimes they cry with their loved one. Sometimes they just hold them, offering a comfort that no one else on this earth could match. It’s a real test of a relationship to witness. While their partner goes through treatment they have to take on every role in the family home, whilst also caring for an incredibly sick loved one and emotionally dealing with the implications of their diagnosis. Some of these relationships have children and they are called on to care for and reassure them also. I struggle to find the words about how beautiful and wonderful these relationships are to witness but the words ‘soul mates’ comes to mind, after all, once cancer strips your identity and everything you’d expected in your life together what else is left apart from two connected souls.

The same can be said of the staff. In an oncology ward there is time to get to know your patients, what makes them laugh and cry, what they are feeling, who they are as a person when you look beyond their diagnosis. Many of their patients have been on the ward more than once and, almost always, for extended periods of time. Watching the nurses as they laugh and joke and comfort the people in their care it is sometimes hard to remember the pain these caring souls also deal with too. They connect with their patients on a long and challenging journey then, all to often, are at their side when they pass. Yet despite this they smile, offering strength and courage, hope and determination to those in the greatest of need. In minutes they can go from hearing a patient be told they will soon pass to making jokes with another patient whose soul needs to be enlightened with positivity once more. These are true angels at work and I am so blessed to have witnessed them. I have so many stories of the support each of my oncology angels gave me whilst in hospital. We’ve shared hugs, jokes, tears and laughter. They have been true blessings on a challenging journey. I send so much love to them all.

I once again reflect on the gifts cancer has given me, most importantly the gift of seeing true love in the everyday. We truly live in a wonderful world filled with hope and possibility and love – you just need to know where to look.

Love and light, Fi xxx 

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Meeting Nina Conti

Well I am just the happiest person in the whole wide world!

Just 3 days after after coming home from hospital and only 17 days after an operation during which all of my reproductive organs plus 3 other organs were completely removed and 4 other organs were partially removed, with the help of my amazing(!!) Macmilan Nurse I not only made it see my favourite comedian and ventriloquist Nina Conti tonight…but…I was also invited to meet her backstage! I am on cloud nine!


I had bought front row seats for her show in Perth Concert Hall for my husband, a friend and I in the hope that I would be well enough to go. I explained to my Macmillan Nurse that I wanted to go and she agreed that it would be a good thing to aim for. Not only that but she phoned Perth Concert Hall to explain the situation and ask for their help – once again demonstrating the wonderful impact and support Macmillan can offer in every aspect of care. Perth Concert Hall not only took on board what she had explained to them but from the moment we arrived at the venue they treated us like VIP guests. We were escorted to our seats before everyone else (me in a wheel chair from the British Red Cross), they were on hand throughout and explained that if we needed anything at any point that they would be there for us. During the interval they checked we were OK and explained that Nina would like to meet us after the show. Again they escorted us there and I felt safe and supported throughout the whole experience.

The show itself was incredible! If you don’t know who Nina is then you seriously have to look her up on YouTube…I promise she won’t disappoint! If you do know who she is then you will understand my excitement at the fact that not only did the show include Monkey and her usual masks for the audience, but Granny also made a surprise appearance, making the evening even more special!

Nina is my absolute favourite comedian and also, I’m now pleased to say, a really lovely person. This is a moment I will cherish always, particularly in the challenging days ahead.
With a million thank yous to Macmillan, Perth Concert Hall and Nina Conti for making this happen.

Love and light, Fi xxx