Tuesday, June 8, 2010
"It would be awful going through this without Weston Hospicecare..." Jackie Board's story.
More and more people with life-limiting illnesses want to be cared for at home, in a place where they feel comfortable, surrounded by family and loved ones. That dying wish is something Weston Hospicecare can help to grant.
But now the Hospice itself needs help, and is appealing to the community to help it raise the money it needs to cope with the continuing rise in patient numbers.
The Do Just One Thing campaign is encouraging people to do just one thing for Weston Hospicecare - and whether that involves running a marathon or holding a coffee morning, the money you raise can make a real difference to the lives of people like patient Jackie Board.
Jackie who first went to the hospice in September 2007, after being referred by Weston General Hospital for cancer of the rectum.
She admits she was very nervous, and didnt know what to expect as she was still coming to terms with the fact that she had cancer. But she discovered that the hospice is not a grey and depressing place where you go to die, but somewhere that could help her live with her illness.
Jackie said: It is very light and inviting, not at all oppressive and gloomy and everyone is very welcoming.
Youre very vulnerable when you find out you are seriously ill and being able to go to a safe place where you can share experiences and learn from others is incredibly important.
It really helped to rebuild my self-esteem you can feel very vulnerable as a result of procedures you have to have done or the uncertainty you are experiencing about your future and the social activities and treatments really helped me to deal with that. Self-esteem is a wonderful thing to give to a person.
I met many people with similar experiences and it gave me such a sense of hope and especially it reassured me that you can be comfortable while you have cancer, the medical treatments exist to help you manage pain and live your life. I learned that theres no need for fear.
I have a young family, my daughters are 12 and 20, and this is such a painful time for them.
They know that they are going to lose me eventually and that is very hard for us as a family to cope with.
The wonderful thing about day Hospice is that it is a place for me to be me for a day. I can chill out and be looked after. Its safe to talk without worrying about the effect on my family it really takes the pressure off.
The staff and volunteers are all wonderful. Its a safe place where we can have a cup of tea and we can share our experiences it makes such a difference to be able to talk to other ladies with similar illnesses.
Recently, Jackies cancer started to spread and she went to the in-patient unit to receive help managing her pain and symptoms. Jackie said staying in the unit made her realise that although people do go there when dying, it is also a place to go for recuperation and support, or when you need a bit of treatment, such as a blood transfusion.
She said: The in-patient unit got me to a level of wellness to go home, back to my family."
And Jackie continued: I was really nervous and scared before going in. I wondered Is this it? as I genuinely didnt know if I would die in those few weeks. But the room was lovely. I had an electric bed, a recliner chair, an ensuite shower room, and a private patio to the garden.
I was able to walk around the garden, using my zimmer frame, with my Mum and Dad.
My daughters have been able to get to know the nurses and it has helped to prepare them for when I need to go back to the unit.
I have been very lucky and it wasnt the end. After three weeks I was able to go home again.
I dread to think how me and my family would have coped if there had been no hospice. Its been a lifeline to us.
Coming here I get the support I need, and my family get the help they need too.
I feel like I need to give something back. I couldnt have done without this place.
With Weston Hospicecare Ive learned to live each day as a precious moment and to live in the moment. The Hospice has become a focal point for my family.
People need to be more aware of Weston Hospicecare and of the fact that it is funded by donations from local people.
How long do I have now? I have no idea. I try not to think about it, but to make the most of each day here with my family. I would like to live to see Christmas, I love Christmas. I will fight the cancer for as long as I am able to, and make the most of each and every day.
It would be awful to be going through this without Weston Hospicecare, I cant think of anything worse.
*Sadly Jackie passed away in February 2010. Weston Hospicecare would like to thank Jackie for her openness and willingness to share her experiences for the benefit of others. The Mercury would also like to thank Jackies family for allowing us to continue to tell Jackies story.