Over two years ago, after treatment for breast cancer, I found out I have a rare auto-immune disease. It affects my breathing and creates heart failure. It was a huge shock.
There’s no cure and so many other things can go wrong. You feel like you’ve lost control of everything.
When they suggested palliative care, I freaked out. I thought palliative care was for people on their deathbed. Fear ruled my life. I resisted.
Palliative care sent the right people. Even though you say, “Oh, I don’t need anything,” they’ll still turn up and you get to build a rapport. They listen to me. It’s not what I thought it was.
Palliative care gives me great emotional support and counselling. They visit to make sure that I’m okay. They check if I need anything and help me to get back into the community. They empower me.
Especially with getting back to swimming. It was a big fear and they helped me overcome it. Helping me to get back into the water. That was just like a lightning moment. It was like, “Yes, everything’s going to be fine now because I can do it.”
They gave me back a sense of freedom.
About a year ago, I had a panic attack at two o’clock in the morning. I wasn’t sure if it was my heart, or whether it was a panic attack. It was hard and they helped me calm myself down.
They’re a really big support. It gives me peace of mind knowing that they’re there.
I’m not dead. I’m not dying. I can still do things. It requires a lot of help and some really good support. It makes me feel like I’m okay.
I couldn’t have got this far without palliative care. And my family and friends of course.
I look at ways that I can live. So I do bit of gardening or rearrange some flowers. I need to feel like I’m living, that I’m not just existing.