The hospice gave us hope

Date Published: 21st December 2016

“Pat was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003, but was eventually given the all clear after successful specialist treatment. Following an investigation for back pain in 2010, Pat was finally diagnosed with secondary cancer in her bones in early 2011.

Naturally we were devastated when the diagnosis was delivered, but Pat was more concerned about how her children would react to the news and how they would cope.

 At first everybody was in a state of shock, but personally with strong faith I felt that together as a family we would face the illness full on and support Pat all the way.

Initially Pat had a series of concentrated radiotherapy, followed by four series of chemotherapy across a three-year period. Pat reacted well to the treatment which most certainly contributed to her surviving beyond the six months’ life expectancy she was originally given.

Mid-way through Pat’s last chemotherapy, her condition worsened and instead of continuing with treatment, Pat’s Doctor and Macmillan Nurse suggested a period of care at Teesside Hospice to help tend to Pat’s current symptoms.

Pat had always known about Teesside Hospice having fundraised for the charity with her work colleagues in the past, but she was frightened at the prospect of going to the Hospice as she felt that once she got there, she wouldn’t return home again.

To this day I’m convinced that the three weeks of care Pat received within the Hospice is what gave her the strength and further determination to come home and spend her final weeks surrounded by her family.

As Pat’s illness progressed, she found it increasingly difficult to complete general day to day tasks such as getting up and down the stairs. The care and support offered to Pat by Hospice staff to help with such tasks was second to none.

All Hospice staff took the time to get to know myself and Pat’s kids, offering emotional support when we needed it most. Arrangements were also made to help equip us at home to make Pat as comfortable as possible including a chairlift being fitted and an assortment of support tools provided.

Setting realistic goals and problem solving helped Pat deal with her increasing anxiety over how her children (albeit in their 20s) were going to cope. I feel this was important for keeping Pat calm and focused on managing her illness as it progressed.

Pat passed away peacefully at home on 27th December 2014, eight weeks after her time spent in the Hospice. No words can describe how much I wish Pat was still here today. However, I feel comforted by the fact that Pat received the best possible care she could at Teesside Hospice.

When our world came crashing down, the Hospice gave us hope and did everything they could to ensure Pat had the physical and mental strength to be able to return home for the final weeks of her life. It also meant that she was here for her twin boys’ birthday, as well as Christmas Day with the family and for that I will be eternally grateful.

 Due to the exceptional care and support Pat and our family received, it has motivated us to raise vital funds for this amazing place in Pat’s memory.”

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