Sam’s Story

Asset 1

Our Living Well Centre provides a bright spacious “activity hub” for our day services and outpatient clinics. Our aim is to help our patients “live well” with their diagnosis making every day count and improving their quality of life.

We provide a variety of services, including short courses such as mindfulness and fatigue management, acupuncture, complementary therapies (for patients and those important to them), a physiotherapy group and a 12 week Living Well Programme. People can “dip in and out” of the different services according to their circumstances. In contrast to most people’s expectations, many of the services we deliver can be most beneficial earlier on in a patient’s diagnosis as we aim to provide information and education around symptom management, address individual concerns and enhance coping strategies.

One of our patients Sam McGimpsey tells how she has been supported by the team at our Living Well Centre, “When I was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer at the age of 40, we were immediately offered support by the breast care team. It was a comfort to know that there were a team of professionals ready to guide us if we had any questions or needed any support. If the word “Hospice” had been mentioned that day then I’m certain that my husband, Jason, and I would have gone into full panic mode.

“My Nan and Mum had received support from The Hospice Of The Good Shepherd when Nan was poorly a number of years ago with breast cancer, and although my friend and I got involved with one of their charity fundraising events in Nan’s memory and later joined the lottery scheme, I hadn’t fully understood what the Hospice was about. Like so many people we associated the Hospice with the elderly and assumed it was just a place you went to for care at the end of life. Whilst it’s true that they help a lot of families in this situation, they also do so much more.

My diagnosis currently means that I will need targeted chemotherapy treatment indefinitely. I’m fortunate that the side effects of my long term maintenance treatment are manageable, but I sometimes need help along the way. The Hospice has supported Jase and I for 3 years. Complementary Therapies such as reflexology and acupuncture, along with Yoga, have helped me manage and cope with things like relaxation, sleep, head stress and hot flushes related to my chemotherapy. We have both been coached on how to administer my acupuncture to help keep the hot flushes under control – which is probably the most surprising skill that we’ve been lucky enough to learn. With my ongoing treatment plan it is vital to us that Jase and I have the most “normal” life possible. Courses run by the Hospice such as “HOPE” and “Managing Fatigue” have been an invaluable aid to me to help us achieve our “new normal”.

“I couldn’t possibly tell you all about the wonderful practical help that this place has provided us with, without mentioning the special family that we feel a part of. The fantastic, enthusiastic staff, volunteers and other Hospice users have become friends. The Hospice is a place to stock up on your good vibes, a second home. We already considered ourselves rich when it came to family and friends, so to have extended that support network with even more lovely people, and being able to have a natter with someone outside of your “inner circle” makes us feel a part of something very special indeed.