A Suffolk woman has penned a book detailing her experiences as a young carer while she helped nurse her mum through treatment for a terminal brain tumour.
Handle With Care is a part-diary and part-guide written by Rochelle Bugg which describes how at the age of 25-years-old, alongside the support of St Elizabeth Hospice, she cared for her mother Shirley after she was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour.
There are 7 million carers in the UK, and 700,000 of those are classed as young carers, and Handle With Care offers an insight into the reality many of these young carers experience as they navigate changing family dynamics, financial and emotional pressures as well as adjusting to life after the loss of a loved one.
It is these experiences which have inspired Rochelle to take her successful blog, which she kept while caring for her mum, and to develop this into a book which she hopes can provide guidance and support to others going through similar experiences
“When a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness, it can be such a lonely time and you don’t know where to turn,” Rochelle explained.
“Following mum’s diagnosis, and having already lost my dad in 2000 to pancreatic cancer, my first thought was ‘there’s no way I will get through this,’ but I did and my book combines my story with practical advice and a healthy dose of humour, which hopefully provide help to anyone going through something similar.”
Both Rochelle’s parents were popular members of the community in Lowestoft and Waveney, and were well known for running Lowestoft Family Bowl and the Carousel pub as well as Shirley working at a number of schools across the region.
Before passing away aged 56, in 2012, Shirley and her family had utilised St Elizabeth Hospice’s day care services, respite care and its 24 hour support phone line, OneCall.
Rochelle explained: “St Elizabeth Hospice meant the world to us. The hospice was bright and welcoming and their emphasis was about helping us to live with mum’s illness, rather than focussing on the fact she was one day going to die from her illness.
“They understood that in order for mum to get the best care, I needed to be looked after too – because it was me that was looking after her most of the time. The hospice really provided the perfect blend of emotional and practical support and my book explains how this was of real benefit.”
Handle With Care will be published on 4th March. To pre-order the book visit www.rochellebugg.com/read-the-book.
To read more about the support the Bugg family received from St Elizabeth Hospice visit here.