Emma is in her early thirties and has terminal cancer. Here she describes the 'brilliant' care she has had from St Peter's Hospice – from emotional support to massages to group therapy - and tells us why she wants to the end of her life to be with us.
"Hi, I'm Emma, I'm 33 and I've got stage four breast cancer that has spread to my lung, liver and more recently my spine. I'm having no further treatment and was referred to St Peter's in June when I was given six months to live. But I'm still here!
I get told I look really well all the time. Make-up plays a big part but I have to say how I look and how I feel are two very different things. That said, I did make the effort recently to throw myself a party. I've never had a party before, not even for my 21st birthday, so I thought, why not? I even kept some non-alcoholic bubbly behind the bar to really feel part of it!
When I was first referred to the Hospice I was mostly curious. I don't know anyone who has experienced what I'm experiencing, so I didn't know how it worked or what to expect. But it's been brilliant. I've been visited at home and I've been to the Hospice for various sessions.
I've had better care here than I have anywhere else. Everyone knows me by name and I feel welcomed every time I arrive. It's just so nice to feel comfortable here. I couldn't ask for more really. I feel like I'm their only patient because that's how they make you feel.
It was an awful lot to take in when I was first told I had six months to live. But I had a lovely lady support me through the emotional support service and I don't know how, but she made me think of things differently. She made me understand and deal with my emotions better. I’ve also had massages and other complimentary therapy and I've done the wellbeing course too.
I’ve also done the Day Hospice course, where a group of us came in every Thursday for 12 weeks. The staff are fantastic - they just know what's going on. They listen, help with medication and just generally find solutions for you. In fact, they feel more like friends to me. I couldn't ask for more.
St Peter's is not all about dying and it's not at all morbid. People find real solace in coming to the group - it keeps us busy and we get support without feeling judged. It's really not scary at all. I wish I'd known about it sooner in my journey with cancer.
I've chosen the Hospice as the place for my end of life, if I'm able to get here at that time, because this is where I feel most comfortable. But for now I'm doing well and hoping for the best. I'm just so glad that I found St Peter's Hospice."