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“A hospice doesn’t always mean end of life, to me it means help and support when I need it. It’s given me time.”

47 year old Amanda Johnson from Langley Park is currently receiving In-Patient care at St Cuthbert’s Hospice. Amanda was admitted over a month ago to help manage her symptoms and receive pain control. Since admission she has spent several nights at the Hospice but has also been able to go home during this time. Something that she didn’t expect.

Amanda said: “When I first came to the Hospice I was terrified. I agreed to stay one night, which I did, but then I came back another time and stayed for the weekend and I’ve been back a few times now – I’ll be back as often as I need to as they just help me so much.”

Amanda has been diagnosed with fast growing tumours in her pancreas, which have now spread to her adrenal glands, stomach wall and liver. 

“In April I had life-changing gastric surgery. The plan was to help me get my life back. I was 29st and had two grandchildren who I wanted to spend more time with. The surgery was a great success and at my smallest I weighed 13st. What we didn’t know then was that I had also been losing weight due to being ill. The surgery in no way caused me to get cancer but it masked the symptoms.”

Specialists at Durham Hospital delivered the news that there was no treatment that could be provided to treat the cancer.

“Getting that diagnosis hasn’t changed me as a person. I’d rather I had it than a child. That’s just my way of looking at things. It is a lot for a younger person to take on knowing that you won’t survive. I have a lot to give. I have had teary days but I always pick myself back up and get back on that party bus as I call it.”

“St Cuthbert’s have been so good to me. I’m on first name terms with all the doctors, nurses, therapists and cleaners. There’s a one-to-one level and a respect that I just can’t fault. I call the nurses my princesses – I love them to bits. I have been down on my knees with pain and they’ve lifted me up. The Hospice has been a safety net for me and my husband when my pain becomes too much.”

“They’re helping me do everything to make sure this Christmas is the best one ever. It could be my last, if it isn’t then that’s wonderful, but this one will definitely be the best. They’re giving me ideas such as writing my memories in a book for my son. I’ve got some card here to put kisses on and laminate them for my grandchildren. There are so many people here to help you. It means that the time that I do have left I can spend with my family.”

“I wanted to say to anyone who might read this and be in the same position as me, don’t feel scared. A Hospice doesn’t always mean end of life, to me it means help and support when I need it. It’s given me time.”

If you would like to donate to support the work of St Cuthbert’s so that we can support more people like Amanda, please click here.


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