Visiting the Day Centre for the first time with her two daughters Sian and Sarah, Tina aged 63 agreed to share her story of how the Hospice has been so supportive since her Breast Cancer diagnosis back in October 2018.
Coming to the Day Centre to attend the ‘ACTivate Your Life’ course was a real milestone for Tina and a goal that she had been working towards with Alice the Hospice Physiotherapist for some time.
Although Tina initially went to her GP back in April 2018, it wasn’t until some six months later that that she had a diagnosis. Initially the doctors detected secondary bone cancer, but they were unable to identify the primary cancer. Therefore while further tests were carried out Tina’s health continued to deteriorate, as she suffered from chronic back pain and breathlessness which meant she was unable to walk unaided.
Following another prolonged period in hospital during October 2018, doctors were finally able to confirm that Tina had Breast Cancer with secondaries in the bones. It had been so hard to detect as there wasn’t a physical lump, but cancer of the breast tissue.
The family recalls how although they felt some relief at finally getting a diagnosis, they also felt very alone “when mam was discharged from hospital we didn’t know where to turn” said Sarah, Tina’s daughter.
“We knew about the Hospice as you looked after our auntie, but we didn’t think we needed Hospice care! We were told to give you a ring anyway to see if you could help or even sign post us onto other agencies. But we were really surprised when we realised the support you could offer”.
As Tina was very poorly before her treatment started all of her care and support was provided at her home.
Initially the specialist nurses visited to access Tina and chat to Sarah and Sian about how they were feeling and what support they required as a family. This led to the involvement of the Family Support Team, the Physiotherapist and also the Complimentary Therapist. All working together to support the needs of Tina and her girls.
“The support you provide is so inclusive, me and Sarah were able to meet with Jonathan and he reassured us that our thoughts and behaviours were normal. Plus because you are a small team we got to know everyone and they all knew what was going on with mam, so we don’t have to keep repeating everything” said Sian.
“I went from being such a busy person, doing everything for everyone and then because of my illness I couldn’t do anything” Tina emotionally reflected
However through working with Alice at home, on breathing techniques Tina set herself the goal of making it into the Day Centre to attend the ‘ACTivate Your Life’ course.
Now that she has achieved this I asked Tina what her next goal was
“To get out in the garden once the weather breaks and hopefully get back to driving my car”!
As Part of Hospice UK ‘Taste of Home’ campaign I asked Tina and her daughters what their favourite family meal was
“ It’s got to be a Sunday roast, as even when mam was in hospital we would still go down to the hospital canteen on a Sunday and all have dinner together”
As a final thought I asked the family what advice they would give to anyone who found themselves in a similar situation
“Ask for help! Get in touch with the Hospice as you will be surprised at the support they can offer. It’s not just about end of life care, they help support the whole family and are always on the end of the phone to help”