Mary Ratcliffe

I am sixty eight years old and was just beginning to look forward to and enjoy my retirement when I was diagnosed with lung cancer.

It was quite a shock. I had collapsed at home the week before and following tests they discovered my sodium levels were low. The reason behind this was because I had three small cell tumours in my lungs. I was told that surgery wasn’t an option but I could have chemotherapy to try to reduce the size of the tumours.

I had four sessions of chemotherapy and the District Nurse came to visit me once a week. The fourth session was particularly aggressive and made me feel really down. The District Nurse suggested she refer me to Rossendale Hospice, I received a telephone from the Hospice and a week later I visited Day Therapy for the first time.

I thought the Hospice was going to be gloomy with people talking about their illnesses but it isn’t like that at all. The atmosphere is uplifting.

In Day Therapy I have benefitted from complementary therapies including reflexology and reiki, we have a lovely lunch, learn about other support available and have the opportunity to ask for advice - nothing is too much trouble for the nurses and volunteers, they are fabulous and so friendly.

I knew the Hospice was here but I didn’t realise how it could help me. Coming to the Hospice and speaking to other patients who were at different stages of their treatment really helped me, some who’ve had cancer for a second and third time. They inspired me and gave me hope. I have made lots of friends whom I keep in touch with outside of Day Therapy. Before coming to the Hospice I thought my diagnosis meant ‘the end’, it doesn’t!

When I come to the Hospice, my husband has a day off and goes cycling – he doesn’t like leaving me at home on my own.

I don’t let little things worry me anymore and try to be positive. Health professionals tell me that my attitude has helped - I feel much better now than I did twelve months ago!

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