“Lose yourself in spaciousness and find your true self”
– The Radiance Sutras; Sutra 53//76
Welcome to SamSpaces
Samspaces is a virtual support service and community offering solidarity and empowerment to patients as they near the end of their treatment and during their recovery as they adjust to life again.
Life is a step-by-step process after cancer. As we recover from treatment and begin to take those tentative steps forward, things can feel very unpredictable and overwhelming and we can feel vulnerable. During my own cancer journey I noticed how much more emotional support I needed after treatment, while I processed what the hell just happened! I also realised how important the concept of Space is. Space to heal, love, learn, recover – and just to ‘be’.
The effects of any treatment can be far reaching, affecting us physically, mentally and emotionally. Patients will often have that ‘wake up call’ and naturally become more proactive in changing their lifestyle so as to prevent any further diagnosis; but we can’t do it alone. This is a great time to embrace radical and positive change, and Samspaces is a place for you to feel encouraged, supported and informed. We are all individuals with different needs and ways of healing, and while our loved ones high five and want to celebrate with us, we need our own team who understand that we may have reached the summit of the mountain but we still have to get down!
If you have been affected by cancer in any way, yes, even as a supporter (we couldn’t do it without you!), Samspaces is here for you.
This nugget of a website is my way of offering a resource of information and suggestions to help us take control of our wellbeing again, through monthly blogs written by me, as well as other patients and professionals offering therapies, expertise and courses that can and will help you.
You can read about my three little dances with breast cancer on the My Space page. As well as blogs relating my experiences, there is an at-a-glance time-line and a little blurb about who I really am!
The Safe Space page has information on Safe Space gatherings, the beautiful Samspace bracelets we sell, as well as other exciting projects, collaborations and the chance to connect on a one-to-one basis.
You can access contact details and more information for the professional therapists and courses reviewed on the directory page, and read more articles that I have been involved with or written on the Space to Read page.
Whatever you are looking for, this is your space to explore, read, learn, reflect and grow. There is no one-size-fits-all approach here, and while you learn to embrace the amazing, strong and brave person you are, you don’t have to do it alone x
The value of SafeSpace is having a dedicated time and opportunity to verbalise many of the thoughts, anxieties, fears and emotions that circle around my head incessantly. This is a special collection of people and although we each have our own story, the group as a whole gives me a sense of belonging and shared experience that is often hard to find amongst friends and relatives that (try as they might) don’t know what ‘IT’ is like. SafeSpace gives me an outlet, and more importantly the reassurance that I’m not alone. It’s also a lot of fun.
– Natalie, Breast Cancer
I was put in touch with Sam through a mutual friend. During my treatment I didn’t feel in the right place to reach out to anyone but it was a few months after my treatment had finished when things started to return to normal that I felt the need to talk to someone who understood. On the outside I was looking like I’d put it all behind me when on the inside I was still processing the shock of it all, getting used to my new body and the side effects of my ongoing treatment. I was so relieved after meeting Sam for the first time, knowing there was someone local who had been through much of the same surgery and treatments who properly understood what I was going through. I think with Sam she really does strike the right balance between being a supportive listener and adviser but also being a friend who likes a chat and a giggle! As life moves forward and my cancer journey hopefully becomes further and further away it brings me huge comfort knowing that I’ve got somewhere that I can share my feelings and fears openly that sometimes with very close family and friends it’s hard to do.
– Becky, Breast Cancer
I can not tell you how much Samspaces means to me and how much a difference it has made. Sam is such an inspiration. She is professional at raising awareness and informing everyone on all aspects of life with or after Cancer. We have lots of fun too.
During my treatment I was given plenty of information and guidance by the hospital, but talking to someone who had actually been through what I was about to deal with was so valuable to me. It made me feel it was achievable and that I wasn’t so alone and unusual in my experience.
– Joanna, 30, diagnosed with TNBC & BRCA1
I met Sam through a mutual friend Caroline. Caroline asked if i would like to meet Sam after I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in November 2014. We met for coffee with Caroline and I wasn’t on best form because that morning my hair had started to fall out due to chemotherapy. It was a huge upset to me, knowing it was a symptom of the chemo Drugs, even though using a cold cap it was still upsetting and a shock. Sam was wonderful and comforting, offering good advice and knowing she had been through all of this not once but Three times showed me a strength that I needed to share.
Since that first meeting, Sam and I are in regular contact, sharing thoughts and her giving me personal advice that i can connect with. The consultant states from a medical position the symptoms of these invasive drugs, but of course first hand experience is second to none. Going back to the hair situation, lots did come out but I’m extremely happy to say that with the Fourth chemo on Friday the cold cap is working and i still have probably 60% of my hair.
Thank you Sam for your support.
– Jo Breakell, Breast Cancer
Talking to Sam, and having her very thoughtfully keep checking in with me – never intrusively, but always just a gentle ‘hello, how’s it going’ really makes a big difference. Sometimes reaching out to people feels like you’re being weak or a ‘bother’ but if they’re getting in touch with you, forces you to just take stock, and take a moment to really think about how you’re doing. Friends and family can be a massive support but often people you hardly know, especially those who have experienced the ‘you’ve got cancer’ moment can be the ones you feel most able to speak to.
Speaking to Sam has in fact inspired me to offer support to another contact who has just been diagnosed. Indeed the whole process seems more like an excellent way to make new friends than any formal support network!
– Claire Broughton, 37 Breast Cancer
“Thank you for sharing your story and the journey you’ve been on. With all the high’s and low’s you’ve still managed to approach each challenge with fortitude and a positive attitude. You’re outlook is a breath of fresh air and I’ve very much appreciate your honesty as we all know its a difficult time during and after diagnosis and treatment. You’re truly an inspiration to others who are also tackling this obstacle and you’ve made it much easier for them sharing your knowledge, experience and heartfelt support you provide to everyone. I can’t thank you enough for supporting me through my own journey and providing hope and optimisim for the years ahead. ” You have a gift worth giving…..thank you!
– Andrea Tulloch, 43 Breast Cancer
‘Cancer (and other illnesses) can be a very lonely road – from diagnosis to the end of treatment, and beyond. It often feels that everything has been turned up-side-down and will never be the same again. Everyone tells you to be positive and you try your best to be so, but, however good your act, it is still a very lonely place to be. Thats where people who have also been there – or still are there- can play such an important part. For someone to tell you details as they really are and to show you that this is only temporary, that things like hair and nails will grow again and in the meantime there are ways of easing the problems. People like Sam – so full of life and a sense of fun – are a real inspiration as they walk beside you.’
– Evelyn Gaff
Even though my recent brush with cancer was very minor and treatable compared to others, Sam was a tremendous support. She never made me feel as though I was not entitled to voice my worries or feel that I couldn’t talk about my concerns as there are a lot of people worse of than me. She knew intuitively how I felt and was there to listen and empathise. The little cards and gifts and well timed messages were hugely helpful and I was very touched to know I was in her thoughts through the operation and the following treatment, especially when she had concerns of her own and a very busy schedule. I will always be hugely grateful for her friendship. She is a real inspiration and her energy, enthusiasm and proactive approach will I am sure help the many others who find themselves affected by this horrible but sadly now so common cancer.
– Diane Lovegrove