Hayley Matthews: How Rev Ruth’s honesty about cancer opened my eyes

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I was listening to Sara Cox on BBC Radio 2 earlier in the week, as she filled in for Chris Evans. The music was fantastic and I think Sarah is just great. When I heard Rev Ruth Scott come on to do Pause for Thought, it was a double bonus.

I love Pause for Thought, no matter who is on, although Ruth is a favourite. The non-preachy guidance keeps me grounded and I can understand why the feature is so popular.

I’ve been listening to Ruth talk ­honestly about her journey with ­cancer and Sara commented on the amount of feedback that comes in when Ruth is on, as what she says resonates with so many.

It’s awful to think of so many who are listening and relating because they’re going through a similar experience. However, it’s reassuring to know that some comfort comes from Ruth’s advice.

She was talking about the feeling that comes with recovering from cancer and how, for her, getting back to the norm – after the diagnosis, treatment and recovery – has been very difficult. She described how when she was ill, she couldn’t worry about the everyday demands of life because she was too unwell to worry.

However, now she is in recovery and a bit better, she just wants to hide away sometimes because those demands still feel very overwhelming. Understandably, this is a difficult time and Ruth’s honesty, I’m sure, must give others comfort.

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What she said resonated with me as I have a friend who has been going through an almost identical experience. I’ve seen a very strong woman who’s recovering from ­cancer, pick herself up and get back on the horse, all whilst feeling overwhelmed. It would knock the utter wind out of the most indestructible person.

Those feelings of being overwhelmed at the thought of everyday tasks, the anxiety that fills your world along with the complete and utter aftershock of what you’ve just gone through is what Rev Ruth talked about openly.

As someone who has never battled cancer, I think it’s probably something a lot of people don’t realise is a very, very tough time for those recovering. The only thing I feel I can do is listen.

However, I really wanted to do something nice and saw that there were treatments suitable for those recovering from cancer at the ­Balmoral Spa. They have just completed their training in cancer touch therapy, offering treatments in association with charity Made For Life. The treatments are available to all but have been specifically devised for those recovering from illness so I thought it would possibly help my friend relax and feel a sense of comfort.

We both booked in for the hand-on-heart session, which was a lovely, light-touch treatment. No chemicals, only organic products, so it was all very natural. My friend mentioned how it was lovely for her to just have her skin touched and her face massaged. I could see us both instantly lifted. For my friend, it was because she relaxed a little, and for me because I could see she was comforted.

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When people are recovering from cancer, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are overjoyed. They may very well still be struggling with daily tasks that others take for granted. I am grateful for Ruth’s sincerity in sharing her journey as it’s helped me understand what my friend is going through and hopefully I can help a little.