Supporting Mental Health and Well-being

February 2019 – Paul Claridge – Emotional Well Being Champion

Paul Claridge

Paul Claridge

Emotional Well Being Champion

What a wonderful surprise to be named as the Emotional Well-Being Champion for February.

In 2017 things were looking good for me. I was losing weight and feeling good. Then at the end of August things started to change.

I ignored the initial symptoms. I assumed that a healthier lifestyle was the cause of my rapid weight loss and change in bowel habits. Only after months of badgering from a few close friends did I finally give in a see my doctor. That was in March 2018. Yes it did take me that long. Although I had already worked out in my own mind what the problem was I still convinced myself it was something else.. haemorrhoids etc.

Wrong, it was bowel cancer. Of course the diagnosis scared me but through employing a positive mental attitude with humour, along of course with the excellent medical teams, I’m beating it.

Sharing my story has been cathartic. Talking privately with close friends has been an even bigger help, especially when depression kicks in and from that, although I’ve always encouraged people to talk to me privately if they have problems I’m now actively encouraging it through my social media updates and by privately messaging people who I think may have issues. Since my diagnosis and going public with my story a number of friends have contacted me for a chat and asked for help and advice in regards to whatever their problem is. Oh and most of them aren’t cancer related.

As for me, I’m beating my cancer. The tumour is gone, yes I have to live with an ileostomy for a while but that’s a small price to pay. Chemo is kicking my butt and making me feel like crap but that will end in a few months then it’s onwards and upwards.

The lesson is that any problem can be solved, a serious illness isn’t always the end. Treat it as a new adventure… and talk.

Oh and if you have a few spare pennies please consider a donation to Dimbleby Cancer Care as charity helping cancer patients through treatment, recovery and beyond.

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