Lorraine, our wonderful Clinical Nurse Specialist, has been undergoing the challenging rollercoaster of breast cancer. A palliative care specialist with an infectious sense of humour, positivity and practicality. Her story is one of the human spirit and one of encouragement – her reminder to everyone to be aware of their bodies and to self-check for early detection. “Both as a woman and healthcare professional, I urge you to fumble your fun-bags every month!” explains Lorraine.

She shares that the hardest part for her was telling her child and husband of her diagnosis. She needed a moment first, a buffer, before going home to break the news. “Put the kettle on, it’s cancer” she told her close friend, as she left the hospital. After tea and a wholesome chat, she gathered the strength to go home to tell her family. Lorraine describes her husband of 28 years as her best friend and a calm and gentle presence in her life, in addition to appreciating these very qualities all-the-more during difficult times like this.

As a key worker, Lorraine clarifies that not everyone living with an illness has a safe space to come home to and the much-needed support to help them through. "I am happy to share my story for others to know that they don’t have to go through these things in isolation.”

From diagnosis to surgery took a few short weeks, with the impact of it all only hitting Lorraine when she eagerly returned to work. “Understanding my new limits has been a lesson for me to learn. To accept my new changes and to be kind to myself” she explains. “For me, cancer has been a time of reckoning. A loss of identity that I have had to try rebuild. The way people deal with illness or loss can also be hard for those on the receiving end. It can be complex.”

Having experienced cancer as a patient, she shares that she is more in awe of the work they do as nurses than ever before. When referring to her longstanding career specialising in palliative care, Lorraine explains that it “teaches you that life is precious. I am aware of my mortality and have used that to help steer me toward the good things in life – such as climbing Mount Snowdon, the brilliant fundraiser I’m taking on with my fellow colleagues, in aid of St Raphael’s Hospice.”

Lorraine (left) with fellow nurses: Rebecca (middle) and Kate

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