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Trish from Bradwell was diagnosed with stage two ovarian cancer in 2007. In 2008 Trish received chemotherapy, which was sadly unsuccessful, and then radiotherapy sessions, which made her very ill. Trish's story demonstrates the impact that the combined services provided by Ashgate Hospicecare, Blythe House Hospice and Helen’s Trust have on patients in North Derbyshire.
Following her cancer treatment, Trish, 69, was admitted to the In-Patient Unit at Ashgate Hospicecare. She spent three weeks at the hospice initially, recovering from her radiotherapy treatment and has since had five visits for medical and symptom control.
“The hospice itself is absolutely amazing. The nursing staff can't do enough for you. I'd never be afraid to come in. I have every faith in them that I know I’ll go in but also come out. My outlook has changed completely. Nothing is too much trouble. They're just incredible.”
Trish now receives care at home from a number of local services, which includes visits once a week from Ashgate's Hospicecare at Home. Helen's Trust are providing regular visit from carers, which allow her husband to have some well deserved time to himself to do the things he wants to do and recharge his batteries. This enables him to continue to be a great support for Trish.
"He's gone through the mill as much as I have. It's the whole family receiving the care. It enables him to go out and take some quality time without thinking 'what’s she doing has she tripped up'. He needs respite as well as I do."
Trish also visits Blythe House Hospice once a week.
“I go to Blythe House Hospice on a Thursday and I have an appointment every so often with Dr Parnacott, who is my saviour. At one time I had to have blood transfusions and she can organise one by just pressing a few buttons on the phone. She is one brilliant lady.”
“At the moment I have everything I could wish for. I've got my independence back to a certain extent and that's really given me a boost. It has given me hope. Hope has been passed on to everybody"
Mary & Bob's Story
Ashgate Hospicecare, Blythe House Hospice and Helen’s Trust, who work together to form the campaign #ChallengeDerbyshire, have collaboratively met the needs of local patients through their variety of services for many years. Mary Atkinson, who was diagnosed with Corticobasal Syndrome 5 years ago, is just one of the many patients that receive care and support from all three charities. Her husband and full time carer, Bob, shares his story on the help they’ve both received from the local charities.
Bob says, “Towards the beginning of Mary’s illness, she started going to Blythe House Hospice. She loved it there and always had a big grin on her face when I collected her. She really enjoyed the company of the group and the nurses, who looked after Mary so well, were such a big help too. Rachel, the lead nurse, was our rock. She really helped me when things were difficult and regularly rang to see if there was anything she could do. The acupuncture and physiotherapy she received helped tremendously with strengthening her weakening muscles too. She got so much joy from Blythe House.”
Once Mary became too ill to leave the house, Ashgate Hospicecare provided her with a specialist chair to help her become more mobile.
“Instead of spending all of her days in bed, I can now move Mary around the house and she can sit with me downstairs and watch TV or look out of the window. We can live a bit more of a normal life. I even manage to take her outside occasionally. I can’t say enough about how great it is and how much it’s helped.
“Ashgate also send Fiona or Lesley from the Hospice at Home team every Tuesday morning to look after Mary while I go out and do the weekly shop and do a few bits and bobs. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to leave Mary. I can take my time now and can do the necessary things without rushing or worrying if Mary is okay, which is such a relief.
“Being stuck in the house 24 hours a day can be really difficult – it becomes like a prison almost – which is why my visits from Helen’s Trust are so important to me. They visit on a Friday afternoon for two hours so that I can have some ‘Bob time’. This gives me the chance to go out and walk in the country, or go to the library and do a bit of research into our family history which I find really interesting. It’s wonderful and a real blessing to have a couple of hours to myself. It keeps me sane, and I feel fighting fit again after it.
“For a while I felt like everything was closing in on me. I was finding it really difficult to cope and there were concerns about my health in terms of depression. But the support I received from all three charities really helped me deal with everything – they’ve really helped both of us. It’s much better that I can look after Mary in our own home because that’s what we would both prefer, her here with me. I wouldn’t have been able to look after Mary without the support of these organisations. Because of them, we can continue living our normal lives.”