David came into the care of the hospice after being diagnosed with a liver tumour at 52.
Having previously lived a very active and healthy lifestyle, and with no family history of cancer, this came as a real blow as he was forced very quickly to take early retirement from his role as a Suffolk primary school teacher. It was at this point that St Elizabeth Hospice was informed about him by the hospital and the next thing he knew, a community nurse specialist made contact with him.
The nurse makes regular visits to David who lives in rural East Suffolk and listens to him and uses her extensive experience to explain expectations. She also liaises with the district nurse; meets with his GP every week and sorts out pain relief using her specialist knowledge. This help and support has gradually enabled David to feel positive again and to be seen in his own home.
A key turning point for David came when the nurse spotted his need for some kind of outlet for self-expression. As a teacher, David had always done lots of art with the children at school but never for himself. She put him in touch with the hospice art therapist. They meet regularly and David soon discovered that it really is a form of self-expression for him, especially when his emotions were all over the place.
David was also referred to the family support team; who have really helped him to deal with the emotional side of his illness. David reveals: “These counselling sessions are so useful to me. I feel cared for as the whole person that I am, not just as a patient with metastatic colon cancer. I no longer feel isolated.”