Supporting the

Neuroendocrine Cancer Community

Maxine Patterson – Ambassadors Chairperson

Jan 23, 2023

FROM KENDAL CARAVANS TO AMBASSADOR ACTIVITIES

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Maxine Patterson, our newly appointed Ambassadors Chairperson for 2023.

Maxine (76) a patient and retired deputy head teacher, joined us last year as an Ambassador, taking part in health podcasts and educational events to help raise awareness and promote the work Neuroendocrine Cancer UK does, especially at her local NET Centre of Excellence at The Freeman Hospital in Newcastle

It’s a good thing Maxine has retired, as she also enjoys spending time with her local U3A group in the North East where she has established two Book Groups, a Creative Writing Group and a Photography Group. She also enjoys spending time at their caravan in Kendal – although lovely husband, Alan, is adamant that gardening is her main obsession!

Maxine had a crash course using Zoom during the pandemic, continuing to run all the groups and the monthly meetings for up to 40 members.

Like many during the pandemic, voluntary groups have continued remotely using platforms like Zoom, and as our 2023 Ambassador Meetings will remain in this format, Maxine is certainly experienced in the joys of tech!

Additional Background:

Maxine’s experience as a patient has also offered insights into what it can be like living with Neuroendocrine Cancer: “I’ve always had “tummy” problems,” said Maxine, “but things got serious in 2015 with endless visits to the doctor where I asked: was going to the toilet twelve times during the day normal? Patient and kind but completely out of his depth, he suggested the FOD map diet and referred me for tests.

“The specialist diagnosed IBS but just as a precaution sent me for another colonoscopy. They couldn’t insert the camera, so I was sent for a scan which identified the tumours, and I was referred to The Freeman MDT (multi-disciplinary team) in Newcastle.

“After a biopsy at North Tees Hospital in Oct 2015 it was confirmed that I had cancer. Luckily, this Consultant had trained under the Consultant at the Freeman and was able to explain more about Neuroendocrine Cancer. But he was still rather hesitant, so I wrote down everything he said and went away to do a little research of my own. That became the start of my Neuroendocrine Cancer journey and my attempt to maintain some control over my life.

“In January 2016 I had an emergency small bowel resection right hemicolectomy. I had no idea what that meant.

“My GP, a kind and caring person knew nothing about NETs, and said: “ask your specialist nurse.” In desperation I used the internet and found the Royal Free Hospital website, Ronny Allen and Neuroendocrine Cancer UK’s website.

“These days, I’m on three weekly Olatuton injections and I take Colesevelam 3 times daily.

Top tip: “I find life has to be taken day by day now, and it’s so important to allow space for rest on the not so good days.”