Eight years ago my mother was diagnosed with Cancer. After an operation and a course of chemotherapy she was given the all clear.
Following this she slowly gained weight and got better and each year for the next five years she was given the all clear. I read somewhere that if you were clear after 5 years you had the same chances of getting cancer again as someone who has never had cancer, but luck was not on her side. Two years ago my mother started getting pains in her stomach and began eating less. She had more check ups and it slowly became apparent that the cancer had returned. We were never told that it was terminal, just that it could not be operated on.
Over the coming year Mum became weaker as visits to hospital became more frequent and Dad started doing more and more to care for her. Her routine became centred around radiotherapy, chemo and blood transfusions. The visits to hospital were draining but as the stays in hospital lengthened, the lack of privacy and frustrations with the care received became too much. It was then that the Princess Alice Hospice became involved.
Suddenly from crowded wards and NHS meals she had a private room, meals that she wanted and a wonderful caring environment. When the time was right the Princess Alice Hospice provided everything we needed to take Mum home including home help, hospital bed and oxygen. And, just as importantly, they told us what to expect.
Mum had two good weeks before she died, the sun shined, she ate better, ordered us about and even went outside into the garden. I have an image that will stay with me forever of one of these days with the whole family in the garden having fun and chatting. I looked over to Mum and she was just looking around, taking in the scene as if it was the first and last time she had, or would ever see her beloved garden.
We will always be grateful for those last days with Mum and so we are attempting to raise money for the hospices, particularly Princess Alice's. We want to give something back and continue to give others the support they need at the most difficult of times, making the unbearable that little bit easier.
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