Paula was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour in February 2018 at the age of 46. She came under our care a few months later after having an operation and treatment to reduce the size of her tumour.
“I knew of the Hospice from years ago when I was involved with outreach via my role in social services at Maidstone Hospital. I wasn’t scared. I thought it would be a good opportunity to access alternative therapies, but initially I wasn’t sure what I’d get from it.”
After her referral Paula was very quickly contacted by a member of our Living Well team who arranged for her to attend an arts and crafts session. She thoroughly enjoyed it. Over the course of a year, Paula took part in a variety of beneficial activities and received practical, financial and emotional support from the Hospice.
“The Hospice has become such an important part of my life. It’s not just the friends I’ve made in the arts and crafts sessions; it’s the all-encompassing support I’ve received.”
Initially the Hospice referred Paula to the Harmony Trust for six holistic treatments. Paula chose reiki to help with her relaxation. She also completed four sessions of hypnotherapy at the Hospice. “I was having trouble sleeping and relaxing. These two things really helped and I still use the techniques today.”
It didn’t stop with reiki, hypnotherapy and craft sessions, Paula also spent time with the Hospice’s Welfare Advisor. “She helped me with all the forms I needed to complete for work and made sure I accessed the benefits I was entitled to. It was invaluable. I would never have known where to start.”
In addition, Paula was offered counselling to help her through a very difficult time. “I was at a very low point in my life. The counsellor’s approach really helped me deal with things. It helped me to be able to leave my concerns at the Hospice, parking them ‘til the next time, so that when I met friends I wasn’t all sad and negative with them.”
Despite not being able to go to a public gym with her brain tumour, Paula was granted permission by her doctor to attend the Living Well Pilates sessions at the Hospice. “It’s mentally and physically good for me and great to be able to do it where I feel safe. I also really enjoy my fortnightly reflexology sessions. It helps with the pain but is also really relaxing. I float out of the room it’s so lovely.”
A year on from being referred to the Hospice, Paula’s brain tumour is stable and her treatment has been paused. She is understandably overjoyed. “The Hospice has become such an important part of my life, I couldn’t wait to come in and share the good news with the group.”
While she is not receiving active treatment, she is still continuing her activities at the Hospice. “The sessions give me something to focus on that detracts from the cancer. The interaction with other people is invaluable. They’re like family, we’ve all got different diseases and ailments at different stages but we all get on. I’m so grateful to everyone, for the independence the Hospice has given me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”