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Caren’s story 

Caren, from Barnstaple, said her brain went into overdrive when she was told she had breast cancer and needed urgent chemotherapy in December 2021. It was just the beginning of a tough year of treatment. But the support she found at the Fern Centre, and friends she has made there, have helped Caren and her family through a difficult time.

This is Caren’s story…

Caren, from Barnstaple
Caren at the Fern Centre.

Writing about my cancer journey seems a bit surreal at times because it’s not until you write it down do you realise what a crazy journey you’ve been on.

The Fern Centre has supported me through the whole process from diagnosis to being cancer free!  It all started in Dec 2021 when I was told I had breast cancer and needed urgent chemotherapy.

Your brain goes into overdrive – what will happen, how will it feel? Will I survive? It is a scary, lonely time and you need to talk to people who understand.

My surgeon Anna Conway directed me to go to Fern Centre to find out about everything, which I did. The wonderful Holly gave me and my husband a detailed talk about what the next few months might look like having chemotherapy. It was so useful to be prepared and gave me lots of tips.

During six months of chemotherapy, I often popped down to see Holly just to get some moral support. Losing my hair was the worst thing for me and I could always talk openly about my feelings with the Fern Centre team and volunteers as many of them have already been through it. Anyone who has had chemotherapy knows there are great days and terrible days. It’s a rollercoaster!

I was put on the waiting list for some therapies which were truly amazing. I was offered reiki and reflexology. I loved the reflexology sessions.

My husband was also offered these therapies. He enjoyed the reflexology sessions. It is great that husbands are included in the support on offer.

I had surgery in July 2022 and then had to have radiotherapy sessions in Exeter. What a crazy year! In 2023, I had to have additional tablet chemotherapy which comes with its own side effects.

The ability to talk to people at the Fern Centre who have gone through all this before is very precious. I’ve met so many lovely friends at the Fern Centre and I still attend yoga sessions there.

After my treatment, the Breast Cancer Care Team held a ‘Moving On’ meeting at the Fern Centre which I found very useful and met more lovely survivors.

I’ve attended fundraising events such as the Quiz Nights and Wellbeing Fayre organised by the Fern Centre which is my way of giving something back to them.

It has truly been a lifesaver!

Thank you to the whole team.

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Caren at the Fern Centre

Caren’s story 

Caren, from Barnstaple, said the Fern Centre had been a ‘lifesaver’ after being diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2021.

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