This week is Hospice Care Week and a user of St Nicholas Hospice Care has spoken of why she couldn’t have managed without its care and support.
“I don’t know what I would have done without the Hospice and its Orchard Centre,” said Jean Hille .
“The support you get is incredible and going there made a difference to my life. All of a sudden, a number of worries were lifted. It was a Godsend.”
Jean, 71, of Haverhill, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2003. When she was asked if she wanted to attend day hospice sessions, she said she ‘jumped at the chance’.
“The Hospice helped to sort so many things out for me back then. Money got tight and I was trying to save up for a shower as I couldn’t get out of the bath easily,” said Jean.
“But the Hospice sorted it all out. They told me what I was entitled to and then before I knew where I was occupational health had been round my house, spoken to the council and a wet room was put in. I wouldn’t have had any of that without the hospice.”
After her diagnosis Jean was underwent nine rounds of chemotherapy and a hysterectomy.
Following the treatment she went into remission, before two areas of cancer were found in 2008.
This summer, following more chemotherapy earlier this year, she was invited back to day therapy at the hospice’s Orchard Centre.
“Going to Orchard was a really good experience first time around, so when I went back this year I felt more confident. Your family don’t always want to talk about how you’re feeling, but at the hospice we have such a laugh and we talk about our illnesses, which we can do because we’re sharing it. That is one of the best bits about going there. Nobody is shy about talking,” said mother-of-four Jean.
The day therapy sessions were all the more welcome for Jean, after this year’s chemotherapy left her feeling drained.
“The chemotherapy was different this time. It was harder and not what I was expecting. I haven’t got any energy. I can vacuum the living room, but that’s about it for the day,” said Jean, who has four grandchildren.
“It is a real help going to the hospice. You’re picked up and taken there, then you have your meal put in front of you. The people there – staff and volunteers - are really kind and good.
“People come and see me at home, but it’s not the same as actually going out and meeting different people.
“Everybody gets something different out of going to the hospice.
“Some days, I just sit there and talk to other people, but other days I might do some art. But you don’t have to do anything at all if you don’t want to – it’s all just there for you if you want it.”