Receiving a cancer diagnosis is one of the toughest news you or your loved ones can face in life. And while healthcare systems like the NHS provide the best support possible, it may sometimes feel like you're just "another patient, another number" rather than an individual with personal needs and concerns.
This is what motivated Dr Samir Agrawal and occupational therapist Pinky Jimenez-Agrawal to open The Wellness Script, their organisation that runs retreats and consultations for people with a cancer diagnosis. It isn't a second-opinion service but a programme that will complement a person's ongoing oncology treatment.
Through their medically led, holistic approach, the husband-and-wife team give clients a medical consultation and a wellbeing assessment, where clients can ask questions, raise concerns about their treatment, increase the effectiveness of their treatment, and be armed with the right tools and skills to minimise the risk of relapse.
The Wellness Script's package offers a two-night stay on a barge where clients can have personal medical and wellbeing consultations
Dr Agrawal, a Consultant Haemato-Oncologist with over 20 years' experience helping people with blood cancers, explained: "The reality of a large cancer centre is that it's a busy place, and patients often feel they don't have the time to stop and ask their doctors and other healthcare professionals about the many challenging things that they're having to come to terms with. Even just understanding their cancer, what does their diagnosis means, the scans, the blood tests, and what are now really quite complex treatments.
"What I've realised is that people need time, and that's what we want to give you at The Wellness Script. Time to speak to an expert. You don't have to feel that you cannot ask questions. And to help you understand what is going on with your cancer and in your life from a medical perspective."
The package is very much designed to look at the emotional side of a cancer diagnosis as well as the physical
The other side of the programme focuses on helping people with the psychological and emotional challenges of their cancer diagnosis, which is where Ms Jimenez-Agrawal comes in.
A mental health practitioner with over 30 years' experience, Ms Jimenez-Agrawal helps clients deal with the painful thoughts, feelings, and experiences that come with having a cancer diagnosis. She aims to give clients the tools to "revive their life" and not lose sight of who they want to be, rather than "fight for survival".
A group retreat in Kent is also planned for later this year
The basic package, which costs £650, is an online service, but clients can also have in-person consultations with Dr Agrawal and Ms Jimenez-Agrawal through a retreat in Sandwich, Kent.
The package, which starts from £1,650, includes a two-night stay on a Dutch barge or a cottage in the heart of the historic town, all meals, snacks, and non-alcoholic drinks provided, plus the option of yoga, mindfulness, reflexology, massage and more – as well as the medical and wellbeing consultations with the husband-and-wife duo.
Plans are also in the pipeline for a group retreat to take place later this year in October and again in February 2023, also in Kent. The package, for three nights and four days, will provide a similar experience to the individual barge or cottage package but will be a group setting of seven clients, plus up to one additional guest per patient.
For more information, visit thewellnessscript.co.uk
Like this story? Sign up to our HELLO! newsletters to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.