By the time Stephen was discharged from hospital I was on the floor. Everything that we had been through, which we had to go through again during an extremely stressful complaints procedure with the hospital over their failings, had taken its toll on my own wellbeing. I was diagnosed with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and had Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) to help deal with everything I had been through. Stephen was still on oxygen for six months after being discharged but could remember very little about his time in hospital.
Stephen’s oncologist, Dr Saka, moved to GenesisCare and Stephen followed him to have his treatment through GenesisCare. Stephen was told about the support he could get through Penny Brohn at GenesisCare but didn’t feel that he needed it at the time and was focused on his medical treatment. However, the nurses recognised that I wasn’t coping very well and asked Bev, the Penny Brohn Wellbeing Consultant at GenesisCare in Milton Keynes, to speak to me.
I immediately clicked with Bev. She helped me with breathing exercises and showed me how I could use my love of gardening to relax. Once I knew that Stephen was safe and being cared for by the team I felt that I could start to open up. Bev has kept an eye on me and Stephen and we know that she is always there to talk to whenever we need her. She has reassured me that I’m not on my own and organised for me to take part in a group discussion with other people living with cancer and their supporters. I honestly don’t know where I would be now if I hadn’t had the support from Bev. It has helped me cope with Stephen’s ongoing cancer treatments and the fear of other cancers being diagnosed.
Stephen had reflexology provided by Penny Brohn UK at GenesisCare to help with some of the side-effects of his treatment. He has fully recovered from the colon cancer and is now back at work. However, he has had a number of setbacks, being diagnosed with a lesion on the liver which was treated with RFA and cancer of the lymph nodes which was treated with SABR radiotherapy. All of this was successful, but he has now been diagnosed with a suspicious lesion in the left lung. Meanwhile, his lungs and breathing have improved so much that he has been discharged from the lung consultant.