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I first met a lovely lady, Helen, from MacMillan early days when I was having my Chemo Transfusion on the Clatterbridge / Southport Hospital Chemo Unit. I was reeling from the many shocks of starting this cancer journey and she was a breath of fresh air.
The Unit at Southport, is bright, airy and for me, so much more uplifting than the mobile Unit on Tesco Carpark. This is where I had my first Chemo experience which was horrible. The Nurses were lovely, however, for me, there was something depressing and soul destroying about having life or death treatment in Tesco’s Carpark – for me it equalled “The End...No hope”. So, I was delighted when I asked could I go to the Hospital instead and they allowed me in - Hurray! Thank God for Marina Dalgleish who I believe, raised the funds to build this uplifting Unit for people like me, in shock, fighting this terrible disease.
The lovely lady from MacMillan came around to talk with each person on the Unit, she offered each person support and help from Macmillan, if, they wanted this. She was warm, friendly, informative and though it was over a year before I actually went to visit the MacMillan Centre in Southport, I knew it was there, just knowing it was there and they understood something of what I may be facing, helped me.
I didn’t actually visit for ages, probably because I was in some degree of denial. Bit, by bit, I have been getting my head around the “C” word being used directly to ME and eventually picked up courage to go along without an appointment. I had also spoken to Helen and Sarah on the phone a couple of times before this, again, they were warm, friendly and helpful to me.
Sarah came to see me straight away. She took me into a private room for a chat. I didn’t really know what I had gone for, I just wanted to put my toe in the water of MacMillan and their world of dealing with Cancer and see if there may be something there to help me. We had a long chat - this lady was a great listener, without judgment, which is what I needed at the time. This was so helpful for me and I left considering attending their Singing Group which met the next day.
I went to the Singing Group, (without audition thank God!) and joined in. For me, this was the first time I had mixed with others with Cancer, apart from those at the Hospital having chemo too. This Group were delightful! Welcoming, jolly, supportive, kind and inclusive. I was delighted that I went along! I met some lovely people, had fun singing along to some jolly songs (they give each person a word sheet ) and left feeling supported, uplifted and less isolated than I had been feeling.
Before I left, I spoke to the Group and invited them to consider joining in something fun which I started by accident the year before with some friends.
In October 2014, I was in London at a Conference on the Monday, went to Clatterbridge Tuesday morning, as they wanted me on a clinical trial and I was due to start my Chemo at Clatterbridge the following week. My blood count ruled me out of the trial and I was told I would now start my first Chemo the next day, Wed, in Tesco’s Car Park – this was not an uplifting experience!
Very upset after the first Chemo, we then raced over to Ormskirk Hospital to have another Scan in the afternoon. Part way through the scan, they inject dye and they used the same canula as I had for my Chemo that morning. All was fine, then the dye went in...my legs shot up into a curl at my chest in the scanner as it hurt so much! I had not expected this at all! The nurse was very, very kind and said the pain was because my veins were raw from the Chemo in the morning. I will not forget her kindness nor that terrible pain in a hurry...OOOOUCH!
When I stopped crying, with my arm still tender, I decided this would not slow me down. So I went with my 2 lovely friends who accompanied me to both hospitals, for a lovely meal at The Cricketers in Ormskirk. I have found, that it is always good to do something nice after the horrible stuff. This was very uplifting for me.
The next day I was exhausted and slept most of that day, Thursday. The following day, Friday, I was back into Southport Hospital on the same Unit for a Blood Transfusion. Whilst lying there hooked up to the Blood Transfusion, my feet were dancing to the radio in the background. I received a text from another friend in London, saying, “...no dancing for you tonight...you must rest!...” I thought, “ Stuff that for a game of soldiers!” and had an idea!
I texted all my friends who know about my Cancer and invited them to stop whatever they may be doing @ 8pm that night, to think of me, send me some healing vibes and positive energy out into the world, to do a little dance, smile and have some fun!
It was fantastic! I got all sorts of unexpected messages from here, there and everywhere, letting me know what fun they had, Toe Tapping @ 8! Some were on the train, on the Bus, stuck in traffic in the car, with their children and grandchildren in the kitchen, out on the town at dinner ( under the table), down the street, many, many places , they all had smiles on their faces and so did I from the positive energy of the messages!
The next Friday, to my surprise, I got more texts from these friends and their friends who were joining in too. I have been getting them from all over the world since, so we are now Global Toe Tapping! Mexico, Spain, Niagra Falls, Machu Pechu, London, Liverpool, Manchester, Scotland, Wales, Preston, Southport, everywhere!
So, I told this story to the lovely MacMillan Singing Group and invited them to join in too if they fancied a bit of positive fun! All those gathered thought it was a great idea, it made them smile, which is what this is all about – positive energy from many people, together having fun all over the place @ 8pm on Friday’s.
If you choose to read this, I invite you to consider joining in too and have some fun. It’s a date. Friday, Toe Tapping @ 8 ! Wherever you may be, whomever you may be with, send your positive energy to someone who may need it, to yourself, to me, to the universe and have some positive fun Toe Tapping too!
One of my friends has a daughter who has been Toe Tapping from the start. She is currently working with Strictly Ballroom and I believe they have picked up on this idea and are planning a simple 8 step dance routine which they want the whole country to join in! Hope this is true - Toe Tapping Fun Rules- Hurray!
So, my experience of MacMillan so far, has been very positive and I would like to thank all those who kindly and generously give their time to MacMillan to support us all. The MacMillan Volunteer Army! If you haven’t yet been along to the Centre, I encourage you to consider taking that step – I’m glad I did and believe you will be glad you did too.
I wish you all good health, happiness, good luck with your Cancer Battles and lots of fun Toe Tapping if you choose to join in! You could also consider sharing your stories of Toe tapping fun too with MacMillan and spread the smiles!
Thank you for reading this.
Mary from Hesketh Bank