“Finding myself again”

Jane’s journey with breast cancer and the wondrous powers of complementary therapy

It’s Complementary Therapy Week and we’re raising awareness about the difference our amazing therapists make for our patients and their loved ones through treatments such as massage, reflexology, aromatherapy, relaxation and reiki.

When Jane Lloyd, 49, from Newton Abbot found out that her breast cancer had progressed, her GP referred her to Rowcroft where she tried out some of Rowcroft’s therapies and discovered some surprising and unexpected benefits.

Jane’s breast cancer diagnosis

“In 2021, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and started treatment and surgery. It’s been an unbelievably difficult time but my wonderful doctor has been amazing and referred me to Rowcroft Hospice last year. As I work in oncology at Torbay Hospital, I already knew about Rowcroft, and my mother had been an inpatient at the hospice when she had breast cancer.”

Finding relaxation through complementary therapy

“I’ve been having Indian head massage and reflexology at Rowcroft. It’s been wonderful – it has allowed me time to relax and to switch off my brain and to stop thinking about cancer treatment. Ever since I was diagnosed, I’ve been in a fight or flight mode, thinking about treatments, scans, side effects, medicines etc. It’s been really hard to switch my brain off from it all, and it’s been very difficult to find any point where I could feel relaxed. But Rowcroft’s complementary therapy has been so powerful and has enabled me to do that. I’ve been able to relax, and to find myself again. It’s been great that it’s allowed me to be here in the moment and enjoy it.”

The complementary therapy room at Rowcroft Hospice set up ready for a patients massage treatments

Connecting with her daughter

“At one of my sessions with Liz, one of Rowcroft’s therapists, I mentioned that my daughter has been struggling to talk to me about my diagnosis. So Liz arranged for my daughter and I to have a joint reflexology session. When we arrived, it was magical – there were fairy lights and candles – and it allowed myself and my daughter not just to have a bit of quality time together with relaxation and lots of laughter too, but it enabled us afterwards to talk about things that we’d both been putting off. We went for lunch together and we talked about how she’s still very upset and angry about my diagnosis – these are all things that she’s not been able to share with me before. The treatment opened up a new avenue for us to talk about the important things – it’s just been brilliant.”

Support from across the Rowcroft team

“There have been other unexpected benefits of Rowcroft’s involvement. Nurse Hayley helped me to get my medication sorted out in order to help with the pain, and Rowcroft’s social worker Mandy has also been incredibly supportive. Mandy was also able to help my husband too – he’s a ‘man’s man’, and we had been avoiding having the much-needed conversations about my diagnosis – but Mandy helped him to open up and to start talking about these difficult things.

“The Rowcroft team have been calling me every two to three weeks and checking up on me. It’s just lovely having that support – they’ve scooped us all up and taken care of us all so quickly. There isn’t a word good enough to describe the team; they’ve all been amazing and they deserve a medal!”

Returning to work

“I didn’t think I would be able to go back to work again, but actually speaking to the Rowcroft team I realised that I could. Rowcroft’s support has allowed me to see myself again – the me before all this happened – and to see a future of going back to work. So I’m back at work now in my role as a Therapy Radiographer at Torbay Hospital.”

Carrying on living

“There seems to be a stigma attached to visiting a hospice as it’s often seen only as a place for people who are dying. But that’s not necessarily the case. You can come here for support, and for me, this support has helped me to carry on living.”

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