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FSB Care helps shop owner back on his feet

The support of FSB Care transformed Alan Norman’s outlook and wellbeing when a chronic pancreatic condition was making his life intolerable.

Alan bought a gift and collectibles shop, A Coven of Witches, in the New Forest when he retired in 2005 after a long career with Cunard working aboard cruise ships.

“I felt I was too young to stop altogether and could make use of my experience as a purser to start something new,” said Alan, now 67, who became a member of the FSB soon after buying the well-established business in Burley.

For three years, the little shop flourished and Alan was enjoying his new career. Late in 2008, however, without warning or symptoms he became violently ill with severe acute pancreatitis – a condition in which the pancreas begins to die.

He is now diabetic and dependent on insulin injections. The small part of his pancreas that remains functional is almost constantly inflamed, and at times, painful. Yet despite the severity of the condition, Alan was never given the follow-up care he needed. Instead, he pays privately to ensure his condition is monitored.

Problems surfaced again in 2013 when Alan began to experience severe headaches. After consulting his GP, he was referred to a chiropractor, but treatment offered no relief.

“My whole life changed dramatically,” he said. “I was unable to work for nine months, or even get out of bed. In desperation, I called FSB Care, but without any great expectation. I felt I was running out of options, so might as well give them a try. It was the best thing I did.”

After a couple of lengthy conversations by telephone, Personal Nurse Adviser, Shelley Sawkins, suggested reflexology – a complementary therapy which involves manipulation of the feet.

“I knew nothing about it,” said Alan. “But I was in a bad place. I was willing to try. It had an almost immediate impact. Within days, the headaches became less severe and less frequent and, in time, went away altogether.

“I don’t understand how it worked. I just accepted totally that it did. It was an enormous relief to be free of the headaches. I found I had a lot more energy and was able to get back to work. 

“Shelly takes a lot of interest in my wellbeing. I am able to converse freely, no matter how trivial the problem might seem. She has, above all, given me the confidence to deal with my condition and allay any fears I may have.”

What is Reflexology?

Reflexology is a holistic treatment, which involves applying pressure to the feet with

thumb, finger, and hand techniques. There are around 7,000 nerve endings in the foot, and reflexologists believe zones in the foot correspond to organs in the body. Pressure applied to these areas in the foot stimulates the movement of energy along the nerve channels, helping to restore balance in the whole body and increasing its ability to heal itself, physically and emotionally.

FSB Care: at your side when you most need help

When tragedy, trauma or serious illness strikes, the impact can be devastating. FSB Care – a listening ear when you need it most – can help you, your family and your business get back on your feet.

People are reluctant to pick up the phone and ask for help,” says Christine Husbands, Managing Director of RedArc, the company behind FSB Care. “But the shock and anxiety after an accident, a stroke, heart attack, diagnosis of a serious disease or the loss of a loved one can lead to problems later.”

FSB Care provides practical help in a wide range of ways, including helping you understand your illness and its implications, point you towards the practical support available, putting you in touch with self-help groups, and arranging further specialist therapy.

“It’s straightforward practical advice, tailored to individual needs,” says Christine. “We see it as informing and empowering patients.” But sometimes the most valuable service FSB Care provides is a ‘listening ear’ – an experienced nurse who takes the time simply to listen without judging.

Through the scheme, a patient has unlimited access to their Personal Nurse Adviser when they need help, for as long as they need it, even if they subsequently leave the FSB. “People often call us when they’ve tried every other avenue and feel overwhelmed by the strain of having to cope with illness, disability or bereavement, and the additional worry of running a business in difficult circumstances.

“We would always encourage people to seek help early. The sooner they call us, the quicker we can help them recover, manage their circumstances and stay well.” Feedback to FSB Care from patients is overwhelmingly positive. These genuine comments were typical:

“Thank you for being so prompt and kind; you have made a huge difference in just 24 hours. I feel so much more positive.”

“The service you provide is so fantastic. It really helps to be able to talk to you.”

“I am delighted you have rung me with some common-sense advice. I am not used to being supported by anyone other than my wife.”