January this year saw us launch our Recovery Retreats – spa days designed specifically for anyone who has suffered from cancer within the last two years or is currently undergoing treatment; but while we can tell you that therapists are Macmillan trained, treatments are safe and you have the discretion of having a consultation before you go to make sure your treatment meets your individual requirements, that’s all academic … So we thought you might like to know what they are like from someone who has experienced them first hand … here spabreaker Toni Richards tells us about her Recovery Retreat at Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa.
First of all, tell us a little bit about you …
I am a mum of three – I have a boy aged nine and twin girls aged six. I am a stay-at-home mum now, but I did work as a barrister. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2009 and had chemo and radiotherapy and surgery which finished in December 2009. I was clear for about a year and last year I found out that it has come back and spread to my bones so I will now have chemo once a week for up to a year.
How did you find out about Recovery Retreats?
I saw it in The Times – I read it to my husband and he cut it out for me so that I could put it on this wall at the hospital where I have my chemo where patients can recommend things to other people because so many don’t know that there are things like this out there.
Who did you go with?
A friend of mine comes with me each week when I have chemo – she is a mum as well, so she said we should go on a retreat but thought it was one of those things that wouldn’t happen for months as we thought it would be difficult to arrange a time. As it happened we both had a weekend in March free, so we booked it!
Are you a bit of a spa fan generally?
Yes, but I went to a spa in Kent a while ago when I had finished chemo the first time round and still had to take a letter from the oncologist to say it was ok to treat me – people are very cautious. Massage is obviously a problem because you don’t want to spread the cancer around the body, but the biggest problem if you are having chemo is the risk of infection because your immunity is so low … I can’t go in a swimming pool or a Jacuzzi, or have just any old pedicure because if I get an infection I will have to be hospitalised, and my chemo delayed – it becomes a big deal.
The therapist I spoke to was wonderful. She really knew what she was talking about and explained that she worked with Macmillan. When we talked about treatments it was great to have her guidance and she knew what I could and couldn’t have which was helpful and reassuring.
You went to Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa – what did you think of the venue?
It’s beautiful, and the spa is huge! There’s an ice room where two of the four walls are solid ice, and there are heated outdoor pools that even in winter people were swimming in. You do have to go outside to get to the spa from the hotel, which is worth remembering, but the service is impeccable and everyone is so nice.
What treatment did you have?
I had the Chakra Facial, which was lovely. The therapists there are a step above – everything was ready and prepared, the temperature was checked, it was serene, calm and well organised – I am sure it is chaos behind the scenes, but it doesn’t show!
Yes! She was so relaxed she slept through it!
Would you recommend Recovery Retreats?
Yes! And I would definitely recommend going with a friend – it was nice to have a break from it all, and even though we were only away for one night, as we were driving back it felt as though we had had a proper rest!
To find out more about our Recovery Retreats visit Spabreaks.com or contact the team on 0800 043 6600.
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