Cuttsy+Cuttsy

A New Kind of Cancer Care

Clare Mariconda | 19 October 2021

Drowning in uncertainty, overwhelmed by information and ultimately fearful of a short future; as a wife and a mum to a toddler, receiving a grade 4 bowel cancer diagnosis knocked me off my feet.

I am proud to have contributed to many cancer patient support projects in my role at Cuttsy+Cuttsy, but suddenly I was about to be on the receiving end…as a patient.

When I think back to that time in late 2020, I was a bundle of anxiety scrambling to understand, desperate to make sense of it all and terrified that my daughter was going to grow up without a mother. I could see my happy family life being torn away by this hideous disease.

When I was referred to my incredible oncologist and had a specialist nurse contact, I started to relax a tiny bit. I felt supported and started to see rays of hope. There were no guarantees chemo would work or that surgery would ever be an option, but at that point I knew I had the best medical team fighting with me. At that first consultation, I was handed a Maggie’s leaflet which I kept in my file.

I quickly started a rigorous course of chemo. The first cycle wiped me out. One day when I was feeling as low and as sick as I can every remember, I called my specialist nurse and later that day spoke to a clinical psychologist from Maggie’s. This helped to normalise how I was feeling, and I learned more about the support they offered as a charity.

I didn’t need to speak to a psychologist after that but have tapped into many of the support groups available. Their stress management course reminded me of techniques and practices that I could apply in new ways in these new crazy circumstances I was living in, I attended art therapy sessions and on every chemo day, Sue from Maggie’s would pop in for a chat with me and my husband.

Following three months successful chemo (yay!), I was booked in for surgery which involved removing the primary bowel tumour and my ovaries. The emotional impact of losing my ovaries has been huge, and yet again, Maggie’s have been there to help me come to terms with it and support me with specialist knowledge as I have been thrown into the menopause at 39.

About to embark on another course of chemo in the hope that liver surgery will be possible, I know that Sue and Lisa are there at the end of an email or a call, they are always grounding, understanding and informed.

Maggie’s have an incredibly personal approach; they feel like friends, and I know they truly care. There was no doubt in my mind where I hoped a Cuttsy Cares donation would be made. Huge thanks to Cuttsy+Cuttsy for the donation, it will make a very scary time more manageable for others in the future.

Maggie's offers emotional, psychological, and practical support for anyone affected by cancer - including friends, family, and colleagues. At a time when there can often be so much uncertainty, following a diagnosis, Maggie's is able to be alongside, offering strategies and support not only for the emotional impact but also to help navigate the complex clinical world they now find themselves in.

“All of our work is funded by the generosity of our supporters in the local area so on behalf of the whole team at Maggie's Cambridge, ‘Thank you’”, Lisa Punt, Centre Head Cambridge.

The donation will fund a cancer specialist as they give advice and support for anyone coming to the centre, and for a 2 hour ‘managing stress’ session for cancer patients.