My name is Julie. I am married to Robin and have 2 grown up sons, 3 stepchildren and 4 step grandchildren. In 1983 when aged 20 I woke one morning to find I couldn't see out of my left eye. Tests revealed that I had a large tumour in the eye. The only option was removal of the eye.
The tumour was a malignant melanoma and the prognosis was 50% survival. I fairly quickly adjusted to life with one eye and wearing a prosthesis. I was alive and the tumour hadn't spread. In 2003 I had another brush with cancer when a basal cell carcinoma was found in the side of my nose. Although not malignant the surgery was fairly radical to remove it. In 2015 I had another dry scaly area on the tip of my nose. A biopsy confirmed this to be another Bcc. This time because the surgery to remove it was more radical I had to have reconstructive surgery with a skin graft from my forehead to repair the defect. I now had 2 areas on my face to heal.
After a few weeks post-surgery I was struggling to come to terms with what had happened again. After discussions with my good friend who had been a patient at Beechwood 10 years earlier I decided to get in touch. I was invited in that day for an initial meeting with a nurse counsellor and I started the eight week programme the following week.
When I was asked to be a model at the Ladies Lunch how could I refuse after having such a positive experience at Beechwood. It’s a sanctuary. The one to one sessions and the lovely relaxing therapies and relaxation sessions have helped me to regain a sense of perspective. I am facing some further non- surgical treatment on my nose and hopefully now have the strength to get through that.
I am currently attending an introduction to counselling course being held at Beechwood in conjunction with Macclesfield College. This will hopefully help me in my work with patients who are going through the loss of an eye and facial disfigurement.
Heartfelt thanks to all staff and volunteers at Beechwood.