Adam's mam, Lorraine, kindly shared her story with us.
“We hadn’t really heard of the Hospice before Adam was referred. When I mentioned it to friends a few people told us that the Hospice was a great place, but I thought that was just something they were saying to be kind and make us feel better. We needn’t have worried. It was nothing like you would expect. We were only there for two weeks, but it really did make all the difference."
“Adam became unwell in June and it wasn’t obvious at first how serious it was. It began with pins and needles and he was feeling more tired than usual. None of us, including Adam, were hugely concerned. It was only a short time later that he was becoming more and more tired and it was only when we realised that he was struggling to walk, that we got in touch with the doctors. His GP sent us straight to the Hospital for a brain scan suspecting a stroke.
The wait for the results was agonising. We waited ages. The good news was that he hadn’t had a stroke, but the scan showed a mass on his brain. We had so many questions but it was all just a whirlwind. He was admitted to hospital, had a shunt fitted for the pressure and a biopsy taken. When we were told it was brain cancer it was all looking good for treatment options. That all changed so quickly as Adam’s mobility declined further and we were told he wouldn’t be getting radiation therapy and we’d be looking at quality of life.
It was difficult being at the RVI to manage travelling from our home in Sherburn Village to Newcastle each day and there were limits on his number of visitors, which was difficult as we all wanted to be with him. They suggested St Cuthbert’s to us as it was closer to home. We were thinking that Adam might go to get a bit better and be able to try other treatment options, but he just wasn’t strong enough and they couldn’t operate with it being close to the brain stem.
It was the little things that made a huge difference to us. Being able to bring in Poppy our dog was great. Adam joked that the dog was called ‘cheddar’ like in the tv show Brooklyn 99. It was great to see his sense of humour back. He even joked with the nurses that his tattoos said ‘fish & chips twice’ when asked about them. The nurses loved to fuss over his beard and told us to bring in his oils and comb. Nothing was a bother. If he wanted toast at 3am he was able to have it.
We were kept up to date all the time with what was happening and what to expect. He was on the best drugs that could be prescribed. He wasn’t in pain and although he slept a lot he knew that he was somewhere special. There was a bird table outside his room and we saw a squirrel a couple of times. There was a robin that would come to visit and we saw a jay bird too.
Adam was a carer for my Mam and Dad. When we told him my Dad had died he just took it all in, he didn’t really show emotions. I missed the funeral service to be with Adam at the Hospice, but we were all with him when he passed away later that day. You couldn’t write it that it all happened on the same day.
We really can’t thank the team at St Cuthbert’s enough for Adam’s care and for looking after us all so well. The nurses just do everything and they’re always checking in on you. There were no other options available to us and the Hospice was so peaceful. As a family we’ve all just joined the Win Win Lottery in Adam’s memory and hope that others support the Hospice in any way they can. We would have been lost without them.”