Hospice News

Helen's Story

05 Oct 2023

Patient & Carer Stories

Helen, aged 55, has come to the Hospice for pain management. She has cancer in more than one area of her body, in her liver and lung and the cancer has spread to her bones. Helen has suffered from intense pain in her left leg for months which has prevented her from walking short distances.

An intervention from a friend led to her arrival at the Hospice. Helen was staying at her friend's house and was in such intense discomfort, that her friend rang 111 who advised that Helen should contact St Peter's Hospice for help with the pain.

Helen said: "My friend begged me to go as I didn't want to. I said, "as long as I haven't got to stay there then I'll be alright". But when I arrived at the Hospice the bed was ready, and they gave me pain relief."

Helen in the In Patient Unit

It's taken weeks to find the right balance of pain relief, but Helen's intense pain is now dulled, reduced to an ache. Helen said: "When I was in pain, I needed to focus on something else. The pain was there all the time."

"It's been incredible being here. Everyone, even the domestic staff has time to talk to you. I've been in a lot of hospitals, but you feel this place is so serene. It's homely – you ask for a tea or coffee and they bring it. I drank them out of orange juice when I arrived. The food the chef cooks is fabulous and, you're not afraid to ring the bell if you need something. I'm glad my friend made me come here. It's amazing and I'm so grateful for the staff and what they do. I love this place – it's so lovely."

"This is the third time I've had cancer and this time it's terminal, which is upsetting because I have six kids, aged from 19 - 37. I won't be able to see my youngest walk down the aisle which is hard."

Our Occupational Therapy team are working on helping Helen return to her flat in Henbury. They've assessed her needs and are arranging adaptations to her flat to help her cope at home, including the installation of a second handrail so that Helen can move around safely.

"I'm getting better and am excited about going home," says Helen. "It'll be a phased return. At first for a few hours before returning to the Hospice and then I go back for longer each time.

"My body will let me know when the time is right for me to come back into the Hospice. I would be happy to die here as I know I will be treated with dignity."

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