“The hospice continues to be my lifeline to this day. They treat me like a human being – giving me their support, understanding and importantly their time, which I know is incredibly precious.”
When I was diagnosed with incurable secondary bone cancer last year, I didn’t really know what to think or what to do; I couldn’t have prepared myself for that kind of news. But as time went on, I started thinking, “Well, I can’t get around it. One way or another, I’m going to have to get through it.”
Since my diagnosis, it’s been a rocky road with my fair share of ups and downs along the way. Before christmas last year, I’d hit rock bottom. I was at home, already in a lot of pain, when I had a nasty fall. I was rushed to the hospital and checked for broken bones (miraculously there weren’t any!). The oncologist nurse who saw me recommended St Margaret’s Hospice. I’ll be honest, when I heard the word ‘hospice’ I felt uneasy – for me, a hospice meant the end – a place you went and never came out of; I was adamant I didn’t want to go there. But after further visits to the GP and the hospital, each time in more pain, I decided to give St Margaret’s a go – I didn’t have much to lose.
First, two community nurses, Sandy and Charlie, came to the house to assess me. They were absolutely brilliant and really took the time to listen, making sure I had everything I needed to feel more comfortable – a walker, a wheelchair, an extension for the toilet, another banister for the stairs – every possible thing – it was all fixed by St Margaret’s. Sandy and Charlie came in the morning and by the afternoon the new banister was attached – it was amazing.
The hospice continues to be my lifeline to this day. They treat me like a human being – giving me their support, understanding and importantly their time, which I know is incredibly precious. If I need anything at home, they’re there – whether that’s someone at the end of their adviceline to get help from, or a nurse to pop over to check I’m OK – nothing is ever too much.
Hospice care means improving somebody’s quality of life, for as long as possible. I remember that Stacey, one of the nurses, was the first person that helped me get the right medication. I’d been taking regular painkillers which weren’t working, but Stacey took the time to understand my symptoms and what medication she thought would be most suitable; it really helped ease the aches and pains and allowed me to feel a bit like the old me. I even managed to go for a swim not too long ago – something I’d really enjoyed before getting ill.
Going through cancer is a terrifying thing – not just for me, but for my family as well. But the staff at St Margaret’s have supported us throughout the entire process, making everything so much simpler and more manageable. My husband, Mick and son, Paul still get a bit nervous towards the weekend because there’s less provision and the GP isn’t around. But simply knowing that they can use the adviceline at any time, with somebody always there to help, is such a reassurance. These kinds of things are so important, because when everything else around you is looking horrible, having people you can ring straight away – who genuinely care – makes the world of difference.
St Margaret’s has been such a comfort to me and my family. Honestly, they’ve saved my life and I’ll never be able to thank them enough. But what I can do, whilst I’m still here enjoying whatever time I do still have, is urge anybody reading this to support St Margaret’s Hospice, because so many more families going through dark times really do need them.
All my best wishes,