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Pauline’s story

Pauline’s story

Pauline, from Braunton, said her whole life changed when she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in October 2022. But after a long year of treatments, she said the Fern Centre had been a comforting and calming refuge that is helping her and her husband Roger to move forward and start rebuilding their lives.

This is Pauline’s story…

Pauline at the Fern Centre
Pauline at the Fern Centre

After a diagnosis of stage 3 breast cancer in late 2022, my whole life changed. I would normally say that I am rarely overwhelmed but hearing the words ‘cancer’, ‘possible mastectomy’, ‘surgery’, ‘treatment’ and even ‘tattoos’, had a profound effect on me.

I was a healthy 68-year-old, happily enjoying a lovely yet simple life with my husband Roger, here in beautiful North Devon, but those words seemed to put my whole life on hold. I was no longer in control of me essentially.

In late January 2023, everything kicked in and I started my journey to enable me to be cancer free and I was looked after by a wonderful team of clinicians, every step of the way, at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (RD&E) and North Devon District Hospital (NDDH). It was a long year!

During this process, I was initially introduced to the Force Centre and then I discovered the Fern Centre, nearer to my home in Braunton. Both offered great refuge, a calming environment and support to myself, Roger and many others.

After my treatment ended, I approached the Fern Centre to help me find my way to moving forward.  On my first visit, I didn’t really know if I needed or indeed wanted help but after nearly a year of appointments, you suddenly do have time to start rebuilding your life, albeit a life of adjustment.

The Fern Centre is a welcoming hub of information and support delivered by a lovely team of people.


Pauline at the Fern Centre

It started with a smile and the offer of a cuppa from a friendly volunteer and immediately any reservations I had were wiped away.

Moving forward is key for me on my journey and I have attended several courses at the centre and have learnt much more about complimentary therapies available to me, all of which I have found invaluable!

Beyond that, it has been wonderful to meet a wide variety of fellow people, to share our thoughts and experiences with each other, indeed support each other and know that we are not alone!

I am now a member of a small WhatsApp group of like-minded people too, which is a direct result of the opportunities that are offered to us all by the Fern Centre.

I am so grateful for the care, support and opportunities that have been afforded to me through a very difficult time. Without it, both Roger and I would not be in the positive place we are today.

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