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“Someone stopped the world and I got off”

Cancer treatment can be an intensely demanding time for patients as appointments, tests, and treatments become the ‘new normal’ for sometimes weeks and often months.

According to the National Cancer Institute, many people with cancer have found that doing relaxation techniques or imagery exercise has helped them cope with pain and stress during treatment and recovery.

Helen Forristal, Director of Nursing at the Marie Keating Foundation says that, “cancer from diagnosis to treatment and after treatment can be a stressful time for patients.  It is important for patient’s to take time to relax and to take a breather from the busy schedule that they have become accustomed to. For some patients gentle breathing exercises help them relax as they wait for treatments or test results, for others, having a calm mind and body can help them mentally come to terms with a cancer diagnosis”.

Painting is one relaxation exercise that two of our long standing Marie Keating Foundation ambassadors can vouch for. Marie Molly, breast cancer survivor and Bernie Walsh, currently living with cancer recently took a trip to the French town of Orleans on a relaxing painting retreat.

“Someone stopped the world and I got off . . .these are the only words that describe how I felt after spending  a fantastic  week as part of a painting retreat in the wonderful Château de la Chesnaye in France. I was a bit anxious going as I’m no painter, but soon realised it was not all about how good you were, it was about learning a new skill.” Bernie Walsh

Château de la Chesnaye, a newly renovated 18th century French Château, situated in the vast French countryside, is a beautiful  retreat that aims to reward and rejuvenate its guests. For both Marie and Bernie, this retreat was something completely new and both admit to have reaped the benefits of such a relaxing break.

“As a novice I was a little unsure about the painting activity. However with encouragement and support from Jackson and yourself painting was a pleasure.  It was creative, it was fun and discovering that it didn’t matter whether it was “good” or not was a joy! I learned about myself while lazing in the shade of a tree, painting the wild flowers, in your beautiful garden,” Marie Molloy

Château de la Chesnaye goal is to reward and rejuvenate its guests. With an extensive range of creative and relaxing activities available, the spacious French chateau creates an atmosphere that its guest can immerse themselves in and completely escape from the outside world.

The purpose of this trip was to take a breather from the hustle and bustle of life and submerge themselves in a more relaxing and calming atmosphere.  For Bernie, being able to relax was a novelty that she admitted she rarely gets to experience.

 “It was hard to come back to our normal lives and to be honest as someone going through secondary cancer, I have never experienced a calm and “I’m ready to face anything” feeling like this before. Thanks you so much Sandra Kelly Williams for opening your beautiful Château to me and for the experience of a life time,” Bernie Walsh

For more information about Château de la Chesnaye and other alternative cancer support services, you can click here.