Natural Health Service
Receiving a cancer diagnosis is probably one of the hardest things in anybody’s life. In October 2016, I received my breast cancer diagnosis. Staggering out of the building with words like “invasive and non-invasive”, “all low grade”, “spread over large area” and “mastectomy” swirling round my head, my husband and I could only retreat to one place to deal with the immediate impact: Newport Wetlands. After a visit to the cafe, we ventured out into the reserve trying to make sense. And then, in one of the hides, I drew a big line under my existing bird list and announced that, as of today, I would start a new list: the big pink list starting on the day of diagnosis until I became healed. I decided to run it for a full year. Nature is one of the most important factors in my healing process: It helped with the vile waiting for the operation. In hospital, I took great comfort from a Tawny Owl calling outside the window – for me it was a good omen! Soon after the operation, we ventured out and I could feel the life force streaming back into my body. The pink list gave me much needed motivation to go out and walk that little bit further. The best trip was out to Donna Nook, in mid-november, to see the seal pups! Setting off from home, I felt weak and in pain, but the moment I saw the seals, all was forgotten. Four months into the process, and my list stands at 173. I have been given the all-clear and don’t need any further treatment. I feel incredibly lucky and hope that this letter inspires others to use the power of nature to help them get through any difficult time in their lives! Here’s to the second NHS: the Natural Health Service!