Carol's Story

Date Published: 23rd April 2018

Since being re-diagnosed with Breast Cancer, Carol, 57, has been coming to our Day Hospice for psychological and emotional support. Carol shares her brave story and explains how the hospice has helped her at a time when she needed it the most…

Pictured: Carol in the garden at Teesside Hospice

"In December 2016 I went for a check-up, my health MOT as I call it, I’d been diagnosed with Breast Cancer ten years previously, for which I received treatment, underwent a mastectomy and had reconstructive surgery. I went on to live a happy and busy life but at my routine check-up I was told that my liver function tests were high and I was sent for a scan straight away.

The next day I got a phone call from the Doctor telling me to come in and bring someone with me. The Doctor told me that the cancer had returned, but this time it was too advanced to operate. I was told I had around 6 months left to live without treatment and 2 years with, I made the decision to begin chemotherapy.

It was my GP who first mentioned Teesside Hospice to me, as soon as I heard the word hospice I thought it was a place where you go to die and I wasn’t ready for that. My friend reassured me, she told me that the hospice was the best place on earth – and she was right.

My first experience of the hospice was on the In Patient Unit, I was monitored for 10 days whilst I was going through chemotherapy, due to the amazing care I got, the hospice quickly became my comfort zone. My chemo was okay to start with but I got an infection and my condition quickly worsened. I asked if I could be referred back to Teesside Hospice at this stage, I knew I would rather be there than anywhere else, I’m always treated as a person here, not just an illness.

I’ve been accessing Day Hospice since November 2016, I was in a bad way and I needed more psychological support, especially since I was due to give my daughter, Claire, away at her wedding.

On the day of Claire’s wedding I felt great, it was the most amazing day – I don’t know where I got the strength from. Claire and I did a dance together, it was such a lovely and special moment.

Sometimes when I’m having a bad day I don’t feel like visiting the Day Hospice, but I always push myself because I know the nurses will make me feel better, they always do. We’re a really tight knit group, we all share stories, laughing and crying together and have an understanding of the emotions we are all going through.

Pictured: Carol and friend Richard, patient at Teesside Hospice

The care I have received has been amazing, it’s like a five star hotel here… Jacuzzi bath with lights, hairdresser, reflexology and massages, it’s all made me so comfortable and relaxed.

It’s nice to know that Teesside Hospice are here to help my emotional wellbeing too, not just for pain and symptom management. I’ve had to give up my home and move in with my sister, Christine, since my condition worsened. I was also a foster carer to a lovely boy, I did have plans to adopt him, it broke my heart that I couldn’t, but I know he’s been cared for. Teesside Hospice have been here for me through it all.

My whole family have been brilliant, I don’t know what I would do without them. Julie, the Social Worker at the hospice suggested I should make some memory boxes for my six grandchildren, it’s given me something to focus on and has really helped me, and I’m going to do something special for my children too, I have two sons and a daughter.  

The hospice has given me happiness and comfort at what could be the darkest time in my life. The best advice they have given me is to take one day at a time – every day is precious and you’ve got to enjoy it, don’t worry about tomorrow.

I will always be grateful for the love and care I’ve received from the hospice."

If you feel that you, or someone you know, could benefit from care at Teesside Hospice, please visit www.teessidehospice.org or call 01642 811060

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