As in-person services return to Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center, cancer patient and participant Victoria says, “I’m in!”
The first phase of reopening allowed participants to return to the building for one-on-one appointments, and Victoria has already been back to Waterford Place for an oncology facial and an oncology massage. The specialized facials help rehydrate her dry, burning skin, and the oncology massage helps reduce the swelling and inflammation that she experiences as a patient being treated for cancer of the lymphatic system.
‘It has made a difference’
Looking forward to spending more time at Waterford Place, she says, “It has made a difference in my life. Waterford Place has helped me through this.”
Victoria discovered Waterford Place more than three years ago through a neighbor. “She’d been telling me about Waterford Place for four or five months, but I didn’t want to go,” Victoria says. She finally agreed to visit the center when the neighbor offered to go with her.
Now, Victoria is so glad she did. Before the pandemic forced Waterford Place to temporarily close its building, she enjoyed light yoga there, which she says is perfect for anybody. The movement helped relieve her swelling after cancer treatments.
Yoga, nutrition and more
She enjoyed the self-expression encouraged by the art classes, which gave her an emotional release. Victoria also learned a lot from the food presentations. “These meals are very nutritious — I would never have had that,” she says. In addition, Victoria attended educational classes, including a program that provides financial advice for cancer patients. And she enjoyed soothing meditation sessions.
She was especially grateful for the handmade knit hats, rice bags and blankets she received while at Waterford Place.
“When you’ve had treatments, you’re always cold, even when it’s warm out,” she explains. The hats are handknitted and donated to Waterford Place, and Victoria wears one much of the time. The rice bag serves as a heating pad, but is much simpler to use and has no cords to get tangled. She microwaves the bag and applies it to her neck and other sore spots. She loves the blanket that is warm but not thick and keeps it in her car to use when she goes for treatments. “It keeps me warm and acts like a security blanket,” she says.
Victoria participated in some of Waterford’s virtual programs while the facility was physically closed, but she missed the hands-on expertise of the providers and the personal connection. With the building reopening, she looks forward to trying some new classes. She plans to take a writing class. On her own, she began writing a book about her experiences, which helped her to deal with emotions.
‘When you go to Waterford Place, you’re family’
She encourages other cancer patients to give Waterford Place a try. “From the day you walk in, your life will be enriched and changed,” she says. “If you try one class or service, before you know it, you will try a second.
“Having cancer is very hard,” Victoria says. “You go through so many changes, and you feel so vulnerable. People treat you differently.
“But when you go to Waterford Place, you’re family,” she says. “People are kind and respectful and the atmosphere is uplifting. There’s so much hope when you go there.”
Going to Waterford Place has helped relieve her anxiety and pain. “Without Waterford Place, I would be in a different place right now,” she says.
Victoria says there is a certain understanding among cancer patients when they see one another. At Waterford Place, she says, “We all look at each other with a certain look that means, ‘You’re one of the club. Let’s get through this together.’”