Kathryn’s story

“I’d recommend the service to anyone. I’m so pleased it was there for me when I needed it and it’s really made a difference.”

When Kathryn Gendle, a 39-year-old beauty therapist from Tamworth, began experiencing mood swings and struggled to stop crying without any real reason, she feared that it was a sign the breast cancer she’d had treatment for six years earlier had returned.

“I went to see my GP who offered me anti-depressants but I knew I needed help in managing what was happening,” explained Kathryn. “I contacted the breast nurse and she suggested I contact the team at St Giles. It was a real relief to know that there was a service which could help as I had no idea what was going on.”

In February St Giles launched a specialist cancer support service for women living with the effects of cancer and its treatments. Kathryn was our first patient. After she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Kathryn had a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and still takes Tamoxifen, a hormone therapy to prevent it recurring. Kathryn attended a series of sessions with specialist cancer support nurse Katherine Hill and found the service invaluable:

“Katherine was great because she really listened to what I had to say and recognised just how much I had been through and how that affected me. She explained that the Tamoxifen had side effects which include menopausal symptoms and those were part of what I was experiencing.

“People don’t always understand that even five or six years later you can still be affected by the cancer treatment and it’s after effects. I think they just think you are better and are recovered, not that you could still be dealing with symptoms.

“I started running again, which I’d done all the way through having chemo, and it’s made me feel lots better.

“It was brilliant to have someone to talk to who had the time to listen and because I saw Katherine over a period of time I knew I wanted to report back and let her know how I was getting on. I’d recommend the service to anyone. I’m so pleased it was there for me when I needed it and it’s really made a difference.”

The service is based at our Sutton Coldfield site and is open to women living within our catchment area with the effects of cancer and the impact of its treatment. Visit www.stgileshospice.com/womens-cancer-support for further information.

Thank you to Breast Friends Sutton Coldfield and Boldmere Bullets for their support in funding the service.