Joanne’s story

Despite aggressive breast cancer, Joanne King can’t wait to return to work after support from Cavell Nurses’ Trust moved her from “desperation to elation”. Joanne, a 52-year-old health visitor from Buckinghamshire, underwent chemotherapy following a shocking diagnosis, surgery and rounds of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

“I’m so lucky to have the support of my son Sam and daughter Megan. I remember struggling down the stairs after my first round of chemotherapy, I barely made it down. But Megan was there to care for me.” said Joanne. Months later, Joanne had more to worry about than recovering from surgery and the impact of cancer on her kids; she was struggling to make ends meet.

“I was having a meltdown. I couldn’t see how to cope,” said Joanne “That’s when I was put in touch with Cavell Nurses’ Trust. They give me money to help with the mortgage and they really listened to me. It was like going from desperation to elation. It sounds silly but I remember I punched the air!”

Just 10 months after surgery, Joanne was able to start working as a health visitor again, caring for people in the community:

“It sounds silly but I wanted to be a nurse since reading Nancy the Nurse in a comic called Twinkle. Over the years I’ve met so many patients. I get such a lot of satisfaction from seeing people’s lives transformed by the great care we can give. I’m delighted to be back to health visiting!”

But does she think being a health visitor has helped her cope with her cancer?

“The treatment is incredibly hard. I am sore from surgery. I get nauseous, I’ve been on steroids which keep me awake, I was battered. The veins in my arm couldn’t cope. Clumps of hair came out in the shower and at one point I was injecting my stomach 49 times. But I think it’s the sort of person I am, and my wonderful friends and family, that helps me cope. And it’s the sort of person I am that makes me a nurse. Not the other way around.

“If a nurse, midwife or HCA needs help, even if they’re retired or changed profession, please get in touch with Cavell Nurses’ Trust. Please be brave.” said Joanne.

Contact Cavell Nurses’ Trust