Testimonies by our patients
Struck down with breast cancer, I have just gone through six months of chemotherapy and day by day, week by week, I’ve had to learn how to cope with the inevitable secondary effects of the treatment. I’ve watched my body change: weight gain, loss of hair and eyebrows ... I’ve had to adapt to these changes, accept them, make them part of me, tame them in order to retain a positive image of myself not only in front of the mirror but also in front of others. To help me do that, I’ve benefited from the care provided by the Mimi Ullens Foundation beautician. By welcoming me at the Clinic but in a calm and warm-hearted space, she has enabled me to unwind and regain a physical and mental state of well-being that the illness had made me forget. A great help in finding healing and an additional weapon in the fight against and victory over the illness. Thanks to the benefits of the care offered by the Foundation, I was no longer a ‘patient’: I was simply a woman.
When you undergo extensive treatment like I did, it’s easy to become prey to your ‘black dogs’. You either dwell on the past and ruminate on the causes of the illness, or you sink into the future and wonder how much time you’ve got left. The meditation provided enables you to lead your brain back to things that are more specific, to the present moment. It brings relief not only physically – to back pains, for example – through the maintenance of certain postures, but also mentally. I have been able to connect with the simple, beautiful things that, in moments of difficulty, it is all to easy to forget.
Seeing the person you love waste away day after day is extremely hard to stomach. So I turned for help to the psychological support offered by the Foundation. It was as if I had a vital need to share my experience, to feel I was understood. I have never regretted for a moment asking for help. It gave me the strength I needed to be able to support and sustain my wife.
Having gone through the treatment, instead of feeling pleased, I felt empty and frighteningly alone. I was also terrified that the illness would return. The psycho-oncologist of the Foundation who had been by my side throughout my treatment stayed with me. I continued to go and see her until I felt well again.
I didn't want to bore my nearest and dearest who were already suffering the effects. The Mimi Ullens Foundation enabled me to express what I felt at each stage of the illness.
When I learnt I was ill, my deepest concern was how to tell my children. How to do so without making them worry? How were they going to accept the idea that I might die? What should I say to them? I was completely lost. I shall never be able to thank the psycho-oncologist of the Foundation enough for finding the words to help me and calm my fears.
A draconian diet, loss of libido, inability to go back to work... The cancer almost destroyed me. Fortunately, I was able to benefit from outpatient’s psychological support to keep my head above water.
I particularly love the massages for the relief they bring. They help me overcome the insomnia from which I suffer since my diagnosis.
The products they inject into you during chemotherapy make you extremely tired, nauseous, angry or bitter. I found the massages I received as soon as I discovered I had the disease extremely helpful. Each session gave me energy and relief.
After the chemotherapy, my hair started to fall out. I felt demoralised. A wonderful beautician helped me find a wig. That helped me regain some of my confidence.
The well-being care that I received thanks to the Foundation sparked in me a desire to start looking after myself again. Once again, I had the feeling that others appreciated me, and that I liked myself. It’s so important to like oneself, particularly at times when you feel weak. I felt I was being listened to, understood, soothed. The beautician who looked after me was fantastic. We discussed everything: restaurants that were ‘in’, current affairs, the incredible weather, as well as my fears. Her support enabled me to forget my illness and to feel once again that I was like everyone else.
The well-being care sessions provided by the Mimi Ullens Foundation helped me to let go, to put the illness on hold for a few moments. This type of approach enables you to regain a positive image of yourself, with its immediate effects on your morale. At the end, you’re in a better position to accept the treatment. I’ve also managed, little by little, to cast aside the isolation into which I had been plunged by the illness. Today I have gained the strength to fight the illness.
I never thought I'd be able to put the illness to one side... and yet! The support given by the Foundation is pure joy. A moment of escape, of rest, that gives me the feeling of relaxation. I leave the well-being centre with a spring in my step, relaxed and rested. I'm sure the decoration and the atmosphere of the premises are hugely responsible for that. It’s incredible to find a cocoon like that inside a hospital.
I had the good fortune to meet the Foundation team at each of my chemotherapy sessions. It was really useful to be able to combine my care sessions with my treatment sessions. It also enabled me to think of other things, to escape from a day-to-day existence dominated by medication. A real breath of fresh air.
Testimonies by our professionals
A hand or foot massage, a facial or simply advice. It gives me enormous pleasure each day to offer patients a moment of relaxation, a moment devoted entirely to them, even if it’s only an interlude.
Medical beautician at the UZA
It’s quite upsetting and difficult to find oneself in front of a patient knowing full well that, there but for the Grace of God go I! We are not doctors, but we can nevertheless help patients to feel a little less ill during this dark period of their lives. What greater reward can there be than to hear someone say “Thank you, I see myself as myself again” or “It’s the first time in ages that I’ve been able to relax again”? I'm so grateful to the Mimi Ullens Foundation for enabling me to be part of this brilliant initiative.
Medical beautician at the UZ Leuven
When I pushed open the door of the Foundation at the Hôpital de Sion for the first time, I was enchanted to discover a place bathed in softness and warmth, a space awash with colour. This same wonder, I see it every day in the look, the smiles and the words of the patients. The appointment for the treatment and its side effects turns into an appointment to take care of oneself. Care for the legs, the feet, to soothe dried skin. Care for the hands, to strengthen weakened nails – to varnish them for the pleasure of colouring them. Treatments that appear so inconsequential. And yet, each day there are so many testimonials mentioning the importance of these spaces which enable people to breathe. They make it possible to repossess and re-tame this body that gives them so much pain, providing a reconnect with the idea of well-being and softness that is all too often discarded once the illness has been diagnosed. Above all, for me, the Mimi Ullens Foundation is a wonderful adventure in humanity and I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to form part of the Sion team from 2013 to 2017.
Socio-beautician at the Centre hospitalier du Valais
Each day I try to bring a ray of sunshine into the lives of the patients through the care I provide them with, creating a cocoon of well-being in which they can, be it for only a moment, forget that they are ill. I give patients a breathing space during a painful treatment and in return they give me a pride in my work as a medical beautician.
Valérie Le Delliou
Medical beautician at the Cliniques de l’Europe (site St-Michel)
Our mission is underpinned by a genuine therapeutic vision that is acknowledged and valued by the medical staff. What we do is complementary to the medical treatment. By working on the well-being of patients, we contribute, along with the multi-disciplinary support teams, to a holistic approach towards the people we encounter. Through the care we provide and the advice we offer, patients are able to restore the image they have of themselves and to discover within themselves the resources to fight and overcome their illness. Each day I adopt an attitude of goodwill, respect and professionalism towards our patients. And I thank every one of them for what they bring me each day in return: it is truly a mutual and beneficial exchange! !
Medical beautician at the Cliniques de l’Europe (site Ste-Elisabeth)
While some patients appear slightly reticent to begin with, they end up recognising that the beneficial effects of care provided by medical beauticians has a positive effect on their morale and their relationship to their body.
Prof. Eric Van Cutsem
Head of Oncology at the UZ Leuven
I work closely with all the staff of the hospital oncology department: doctors, nurses and volunteers. And we liaise regularly to improve the coherence and quality of the care we provide for patients.
Adriana Rios Vergara
Psycho-oncologist at the Cliniques de l’Europe (Site Ste-Elisabeth)
Professionalism is essential when working with vulnerable people. The quality initiative of the Mimi Ullens Foundation guarantees best practice that ensures that patients are looked after as well as possible.
Prof. Marc Peeters
Head of Oncology at the UZA
When the Mimi Ullens Foundation opened a well-being centre in our hospital over ten years ago, we had no idea how essential the care they provide would become. Today it is inconceivable not to include their therapeutic well-being care in the treatment we provide for our cancer patients. The professionals of the Foundation seek to soften and alleviate the discomfort of cancer patients and bring them a measure of relief. They form an integral part of our team.
Dr. Dominique Verhulst
Head of Oncology and Haematology at the Cliniques de l’Europe (site Ste-Elisabeth)
I have nothing but good to say about the Mimi Ullens Foundation! The space of well-being established by the Foundation in our hospital is appreciated by patients, families and friends alike and even by the carers. Patients can come up for a breath of fresh air in order to continue the fight against their illness and overcome it and they value enormously the moments of gentleness they enjoy. After each treatment they emerge relaxed, rested and smiling. And as a result, they are better able to accept the difficult treatment that the illness imposes on them. The teams of carers notice this and rejoice at it as it enables them to go serenely about their work. I hope that we’ll be able to benefit long into the future from the therapeutic well-being care provided by the Foundation. Today they have become in indispensible part of our holistic approach to our cancer patients.
Prof. Yves Humblet
Oncologist at the Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc