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“Had it not been for the Satellite Clinic, I would have said no to hospice care.”

8 February 2019

Having been diagnosed with an incurable cancer, James was put in contact with Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice. He wanted to access the Hospice’s services at a place that was convenient for him, so James decided to visit our Satellite Clinic at Cape Hill Medical Centre. At our Satellite Clinics, our expert team of specialist nurses can provide a wide range of hospice services, including practical care and emotional support to people and their families.

Read James’ story to discover how Birmingham St Mary’s Satellite Clinic has enabled him to feel more in control of his symptoms, as well as helping him to live well with his illness.   

Having been diagnosed with lung cancer twice and after having unsuccessful operations to remove it, I was referred to Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice last year.

When my doctor first mentioned the word ‘hospice’, I have to admit, I was a little frightened. I didn’t like the idea of going into a hospice as I thought they were only for people who were very, very ill.

So when my doctor suggested that I could visit Birmingham St Mary’s Satellite Clinic at Cape Hill Medical Centre, I thought I’d give it a go – and I’m so glad I did. Having that support so close to home has been invaluable. I now feel more in control of my illness and more secure in the advice that I am given by my expert nurse. It’s so convenient having a Satellite Clinic that I can visit and I still think that had this service not been available, I would have said no to going to the Hospice.

At the clinic, I speak to Laura who is my clinical nurse specialist and she has really helped me to live well with my cancer. I tend to visit Laura once every few weeks at the clinic – sometimes once a week if I need the extra support – and we’ll often talk about how I’m feeling and what symptoms I’d like to get under control. She helps manage my symptoms and answers any questions or worries I might have.

Even if I haven’t got an appointment booked with Laura, I know she or another member of the Hospice team is only a phone call away. It really puts my mind at ease knowing that I’ve got someone I can talk to if I have any concerns or queries.

One of the best things about Laura’s support though, is that we don’t just chat about my health. We’ll talk about life in general and the things that matter most to me, such as going out with my wife, Carol, and meeting up with friends. That’s why Laura is always suggesting things, like medication and exercises, which will help me to keep doing the things I enjoy with the people who matter most to me.

Before I met Laura and came to the Satellite Clinic, I hadn’t left the house in six months and was struggling to eat, sleep or drink. I really felt disheartened by my illness and to be completely honest, I think I’d given up on life.

It was Laura who suggested I do a little bit of exercise each day and to begin with, I didn’t think it would make much difference. But sure enough, my short walks up-and-down my road soon turned to me walking to my local pub and meeting friends to play pool. I can’t believe how much my quality of life has improved with the help of the Hospice and it’s great to be getting out more and interacting with others.

Chatting to Laura always takes any worries myself or Carol might have out of our heads. She is so knowledgeable and it’s reassuring to know that she is constantly reviewing the medication I am taking. She really does connect all the dots with my care and it’s so much easier having just one person we can talk to. Laura never makes anything seem like too much trouble or too much to ask for – she really does make things just that little bit better.

Thanks to Laura’s and Birmingham St Mary’s support, I am now enjoying life that little bit more. I find myself laughing much more often and planning things for the future. In fact, Carol and I are looking forward to getting our wedding vows renewed next year! It’s great that we have things that we can look forward to and I now feel like I’m not going to give up on life so easily.

Thank you James for sharing your story with us. If you would like to find out more about the care and support at our Satellite Clinics, please take a read here.