Are you unsure whether to attend the meetings? See what other people are gaining from taking part!
I felt very alone when I first received my diagnosis. The meetings have helped me learn more about MDS and meet others with the same condition but different experiences.
My introduction to the Oxford Support Group was prevaricated. I had seen posters within the Churchill Hospital, had pledged to go, but had then missed the dates. I already attended "Maggies" Oxford and was benefitting from being with other cancer survivors.
Having joined MDS UK I finally met with the Oxford Support Group and was able to be with others who also had been diagnosed with the same condition as myself, albeit with many variations. I had found the illness a somewhat lonely experience and the sharing was a great counterbalance.
Claudia, the group co-ordinator, brought to the meeting news and views from afar, and, at later meetings, Kirsty, the specialist nurse and a mine of information, was able to answer members’ questions in a full and easy to understand manner.
There are exciting plans for the next meeting and, as usual, I am looking forward to it.
I have had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma for 17 Years and in March 2017 I was told by my Haematologist that it had developed into MDS. Although I received a good explanation medically, I was still very unsure about future treatments. I attended the Maggie Centre at the Churchill Hospital in May 2017, and heard about the MDS Patient Support Group. Maggie’s is a lovely building and has a very relaxing, non-clinical feel. On 23 June my wife and I attended the MDS group's bi-monthly meeting. We were able to discuss MDS and its treatment with 12 other patients. Everyone there has a different form of MDS or were at different stages of treatment. It gave my wife and myself great confidence in the future and we gained loads of knowledge.
We also had a presentation by an advanced nurse practitioner, who explained the various blood readings and their implications. This was extremely useful for the future. Our next meeting is on 29 September at the John Radcliffe where latest developments in MDS research will be explained and we will be able to tour the Haematology Lab. We look forward to it and meeting with fellow patients again.
I joined the Group when it was first formed, or shortly afterwards, by one of the Research Nurses working with Prof Vyas. In those days, we met in one of the lecture rooms at the Churchill Hospital. I don't remember very much about the early meetings: I hadn't been diagnosed with MDS very long, but had been referred to the Churchill and was on a clinical trial.
After a time we had to move out of the lecture rooms and start using a portacabin, with an occasional social get-together in a pub! For various reasons, the numbers attending the meetings dwindled and we struggled to remain in existence. But we did, thanks to Claudia, who had taken on the role of co-ordinator. During this time, we could see some building work in progress, which was most intriguing as there was no indication of its purpose. However, it turned out to be a Maggie Centre and this became the new home for our meetings!
At these meetings we are able to talk to each other about MDS and our treatment experiences – as most of us have a different Syndrome - and support one other in a sympathetic way. Maggie’s provides very comfortable meeting rooms and the volunteer staff are all very welcoming, greatly contributing to making our meetings a pleasant and helpful experience.
The group is very much revitalised and membership has increased thanks to Claudia's efforts, and to Kirsty, our very knowledgeable clinical lead and her informative talks. Kirsty is also able to arrange for members of the Churchill's staff to talk to us on subjects of interest. Particularly interesting will be the upcoming visit to the Research Lab.