Wherever You Go, There You Are

Mental Wellbeing

Self-care is crucial so, remembering to be compassionate and kind to yourself when you’re entering into the recovery stage, is especially important. As personal and unique as any individual’s journey is, this insight applies universally.

And so, we’ve partnered with Trinity College Dublin, Occupational Therapist Deirdre Connolly, to offer her latest programme called “OPTIMAL” which is designed to provide practical support and advice on self-management to patients coming out the other side of cancer treatment.

In collaboration with Deirdre and a willing group of survivors, we’re already two full rounds in, gaining ever-important survivor feedback, allowing us to continue to evolve and improve upon this innovative resource.

Research teaches us that 1 in 4 recovering patients continue to have difficulty physically and psychologically, often experiencing fatigue, sleep disturbance, pain, low mood/depression. Managing these feelings and side-effects is difficult to do when you are also the one experiencing them: it’s easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees.

Dr. Deirdre Connolly
Creator of OPTIMAL

We now know that people who have finished their cancer treatment have many difficulties getting back to doing the activities they did before their cancer. Many people talk about fatigue, pain, not knowing what they should eat and how they can exercise when they feel so tired. So, the purpose of OPTIMAL is to give individuals a better understanding of some of the after-effects of cancer treatment and give them some simple strategies to improve their health and well-being.

And remember:

Let me be kind to myself in this moment.

Some testimonials from programme-attendees:

I found the OPTIMAL programme to be very informative and beneficial.

It addressed all of my concerns and gave me a better understanding of my physical and emotional journey.

I would highly recommend others do the course soon after their surgery as it gives great support and positivity for your overall wellbeing.

Many thanks to the OCF and Dr Deirdre Connolly for organising the OPTIMAL programme.

Peter Cosgrove

It was brilliant. I would do it again and I would recommend it to anyone who has Oesophageal Cancer.

I really enjoyed it. It set me on the road to exercising again and being more conscious of my diet and mental health. I took something out of each week that I found helpful.

It was brilliant speaking to others who have been through it. You learn a huge amount from other people.

I was able to come every week and speak openly and freely about my cancer. I have learned how to motivate myself but also not to beat myself up if I’m too tired to do something.

The course was well presented and well set out. All the topics were very relevant.

For more information about OPTIMAL, or to find out about the start date for the next OPTIMAL programme for individuals with Oesophageal Cancer, contact: Dr. Deirdre Connolly, Discipline of Occupational Therapy, Trinity College, Dublin at 01 896 3216 or email at

And remember:

When you let go, you create space for better things to enter your life.

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