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My Friend Has Cancer

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 09 October 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,

My dear friend found out a few months ago that she has cancer. In a few short months she has changed from a vibrant, feisty woman into a quiet, constantly complaining one.

When I visit her she spends the whole time telling me how hard her life now is, and how unfair it is that she has cancer. She nags her husband and barks out orders to him. She shows no interest in what is happening in my life at all. I try to entertain her with stories or offer to play cards with her, or take her out, but she does not want this.

I don’t know what to do. I feel I have to push myself to visit her, and that makes me feel very sad as we used to be so very close.

Patricia Marie says...

When the threat of severe illness affects a loved one, it isn't always easy for family or friends to know how to deal with the situation. It is perfectly understandable that you are finding it hard to talk to your friend about her feelings and concerns, but if you can allow her to speak about what's making her angry, expressing her feelings may help her to feel better understood. It could be she is feeling anxious and hopeless, causing her to be irritable. She could resent you speaking about a way of life she may no longer have. For now, let your friend lead the conversation, and in time hopefully she will be better able to share your news.

A cancer diagnosis can cause doubts and uncertainty, and the future could seem suddenly dark and unpredictable, which can be very frightening. Your friend's illness may cause her to feel she has lost control in her life. Empower her. Encourage her to decide what she thinks would make her situation more bearable. Perhaps you could both work together on accomplishing even the smallest realistic goals that could have a huge positive impact on the way she feels.

It is very important for you to receive the support and care you are needing at this time. I urge you to call the Macmillan Support Line whose devoted team can advise on ways to help and support those suffering from cancer. Their knowledge and experience will give you a greater understanding of this brutal disease, and enable you to be more empathic of your friend's emotions.

You may have to accept that your friend is unable to be as she was, but the most valuable thing you can do for her now is simply be there for her, no matter how low her mood. Do remember, caring for someone with cancer is a strain, but it can be intensely rewarding and make one feel proud of finding the strength, courage and kindness to help a sufferer going through possibly the toughest battle of their life. Through your compassion you may experience the true value of what's important in life…..both love and life itself.

Macmillan Cancer Support: 0808 808 0000 or

The Navitas Clinic

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
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on Tuesday, 23 September 2014
Energy healing. Anyone with a vaguely pragmatic disposition (or those with a dose of good British cynicism) is bound to dismiss it. There are, however, things in this world are intangible yet undeniable. Instinct, for example. Gut reactions. And love, of course, that's a biggie.

We Young Ladies are always up for new experiences, so this one found herself trotting along to Wimpole Street one rainy Monday evening to meet Jackie Mannell. Jackie spent more than two decades working as a hairdresser and, realising that she spent a great amount of time listening to and consoling her clients, decided to focus on her natural affinity for healing. She retrained as an Energy Practitioner, and now operates The Navitas Clinic (the Latin word for 'Energy') in both East Sussex and London.

Her role is effectively to channel the healing energy of the universe to help those with a condition. This condition can be anything, from eczema to aching limbs to cancer. The way Jackie explains it is that you can't have a problem without having feelings attached to it. Our minds and bodies are so interlinked that these feelings affect our physiology, ultimately determining the behaviour of our cells. Jackie's belief is that she can locate the root cause of the problem (those unsettling feelings which manifest as a condition), and transfer energy to clear it away.

A consultation with Jackie (who has a wonderfully calm aura about her) begins with a discussion of your issue. Mine is that I am short-sighted. Not the most severe of problems, admittedly, but one that affects me on a daily basis. After pinpointing how and when the short-sightedness began, Jackie talks me through a meditation. I feel a little self-conscious at first, but with my eyes closed and Jackie's soothing voice taking me on a little mental journey, I am soon absorbed in the moment.
Next I lie down on the clinic's bed, and Jackie stands behind me with her hands pressed to my head. This is to channel energy, and as she gently moves her hands to different pressure points, I can feel a sort of tingling. Whether this is genuinely the transfer of energy or simply the power of suggestion, it nonetheless is a definite sensation.

Jackie's clients have been known to hobble into her clinic on a walking stick, and practically skip out by the end of the session. I can't say my eyesight was suddenly restored, but I certainly felt something go through me during my hour with her. I was fantastically relaxed by the end, and I slept better than night than I have in aeons.

Energy healing is a tricky thing to get your head around (no pun intended) if you're not an especially spiritual type. I like to think of myself a sensible sort of girl, but I unequivocally felt something go on in Jackie's gentle presence. If you have a problem and are at your wit's end trying to sort it out, why not throw away your preconceptions and give this a go? I am very tempted to book another session. Who knows...I could be flitting to my next Young Ladies' appointment with perfect eyesight.

For more information visit

How can I manage her when I feel so compassionate?

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 22 May 2014
Dear Patricia Marie

I have an ongoing problem with a colleague I am in management of. In 2012 she got arrested in the store for committing grievous bodily harm to her husband. I was very distressed at this, as she is only a small lady and believed her husband was being untrue. I went to the police station to see if I could do anything, and was told she was okay but being held overnight. She came back to work after she was let out, and all of my staff and myself felt very sorry for her.  About two months later she was rearrested for breaking her conditions of bail and visiting her husband when he was asleep, subsequently she spent Christmas in a prison cell.

I was very exasperated with her and could not see a way forward with her, then she phoned in sick, and said she had breast cancer, a doctor's note confirmed this.
12 months down the line after a double breast surgery she has returned to work.

I am glad she is well, but she is as disruptive as ever.  How can I manage her when I feel so compassionate towards her? I have done my utmost to accommodate her, but in the two week she has been back she has been late every day and I do not wish to be remonstrating with her all the time. Please could you give me your advice on how to handle the situation.

Patricia Marie says:

Firstly, your colleague is very fortunate to have such a caring, empathic manager as yourself. Your morals and work ethics, however, are being challenged around this person.

It seems to me that you have been so focused on supporting this member of staff that you have lost sight of the fact you have a professional duty to adhere to, including implementing boundaries within the work place, not only for your staff, but for yourself too.

Having conditions set at work can make one feel secure, and as this lady is all over the place, she may thank you for bringing some stability into her life.

Whilst you have displayed great warmth and kindness, it seems like you have been taken for granted, which you do not deserve. She is clearly not regarding your feelings and how her behaviour is affecting you, which is extremely unfair considering how tolerant and supportive you have been.

You need to sit down in the work place (rather than meet out of work, as she would associate this with you being a friend, not her manager) and have a proper talk with this lady. Do remind her that whilst she has been extremely brave in fighting cancer, and which is why you have displayed great patience, her recent poor professional behaviour cannot continue, and by you being honest with her, hopefully this should encourage her to act more responsibly in the future and also respect you as her manager.

Got a dilemma? Please email  Please note, while Patricia cannot respond to all emails, she does read them all.

In need of further support? Patricia Marie offers a counselling service in Harley Street, contact details as follows

The Dirty ‘C’ Word

Posted by The powder room
The powder room
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on Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Cancer, despite affecting one in three people, is still a word that people flinch over.

You would have thought with its prevalence that we would be a little better equipped to deal with it socially, but we aren’t; in fact, we're terrible at it, and it’s this tight lipped attitude that actually creates more stress than necessary, not least of all in the spa industry.

Did you know, for example that if you have had treatment for cancer within the last two years you are not eligible for most massages because they stimulate the lymphatic system? Or that why you are having treatment you can’t use a swimming pool or jacuzzi for fear of getting an infection?


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