Here’s Vicky to share her Mum’s story and how she’ll be remembering her this Christmas…
Mum was first diagnosed with stage one ovarian cancer in 2009. Catching it so early on, we were confident that it seemed to have been successfully treated. But when her energy levels dropped, a blood test confirmed our worst fears: the cancer had spread. Mum was now battling stage four lung cancer.
It was in 2012 that we first came into contact with the incredible team at Birmingham St Mary’s.
Chemotherapy wasn’t working, so Mum’s oncologist recommended the community nursing team at Birmingham St Mary’s. It was so hard facing up to the fact that the cancer was winning. But Chris, one of Birmingham St Mary’s community nurse specialists, was our shining light. She visited mum regularly at home, supporting her with things like pain relief and talking through her concerns. Mum wanted to spend as much time as she could at home with us, and Chris understood that.
Mum, who was a nurse herself, could talk to Chris about anything.
Mum was a fighter. She would face each day with courage and humour. She lived every day for me and my dad. Every Christmas, we used to go away as a family to Devon. I’d always make her a Christmas box and fill it with presents and her favourite goodies. Thanks to Birmingham St Mary’s, we were able to spend mum’s very last Christmas together doing the same things we always did – creating precious memories I will always treasure.
It wasn’t long afterwards that Mum’s condition worsened. She became unsettled and anxious. Chris knew it was time for mum to be cared for at the Hospice and in doing so a tremendous pressure was lifted for us all. Mum had been so worried about us and how we would cope but we were in the best of hands in the darkest of moments.
When Mum passed, one of the nurses laid a flower on her bed. It was such a beautiful gesture, and I’ll never forget it.
She was only 53 years old. My best friend was gone.
I’m so grateful that Mum spent as much time as possible at home with me and Dad. But the Hospice was the best place for her at the end. The love and care that the staff of Birmingham St Mary’s showed was beyond words.
Thank you for sharing your story with us Vicky and helping to raise awareness of Birmingham St Mary’s.
Help us to support more families like Vicky’s this Christmas and beyond, by clicking here to get involved with our ‘Care at Christmas’ campaign, there are lots of fantastic ways for you to join in.