My mobility has improved a lot thanks to the hospice. I’m still very active and I play golf three times a week!
Bill McCusker is an out patient at St Catherine’s Hospice and attends regular sessions with our Therapy Team. He tells us more about how the hospice has helped him to stay active and keep living life to the full:
Eighteen months ago, I was diagnosed with a tumour, which is lodged on the nerve of my right shoulder. Doctors didn’t want to risk operating, as I might have been left with no movement at all, so instead I went for chemotherapy treatment.
Initially I couldn’t even open my hand or raise my hand above my head. It was over a drink one night, someone suggested that St Catherine’s had a therapy team and I should get in touch to see if they could help.
At first, I had a therapist from the hospice visit the house who left me some exercises to try and help me move my fingers apart. The next visit I had was a few months later from Senior Specialist Therapist Jo, she came to the house, and she told me about a six-week exercise course she was running. There was a small group of us, and they kindly gave us tea and biscuits afterwards.
Jo also gave me exercises to do at home and I’ve bought myself a couple of dumbbells so, of an evening, I can sit doing my exercises constantly.
Jo invited me back for some one-to-one sessions on the exercise bike. I’ve been doing them every week and I have a couple of sessions left, but Jo has given me lovely diagrams so I can remember what to do when I get home.
Jo is great. She is helpful and explains things very well and she’s a lovely person to chat to. She encourages me to do my exercises and she tells me how to improve my balance – she gets me to try and walk heel-to-toe on a line (like the police!) and she can always tell if I haven’t been practicing!
I really enjoy the sessions – it’s good to have something to come out of the house for. Jo is so bubbly and helpful and I only live five minutes away, so it’s never a problem to visit.
My mobility has improved a lot thanks to the hospice. I’m still very active and I play golf three times a week and tend to play 13 holes. Golf is all about movement and the lads at golf have really noticed that since I’ve built up the strength in my arm, I’m connecting better with the ball and hitting it further. I even won some money at the golf competition last weekend!
My tumour is never going to go away but I have chemotherapy on a three-week cycle with scans every six months. My last scan, I was told that my tumour hadn’t grown, it had stayed the same size. I’ve sailed through the treatment so far – after golf I might sit on a chair and nod off – but as yet I’ve only lost my hair with no other symptoms.
My wife and I keep busy and we make the most of my two week breaks between chemo treatments. We’ve been on a cruise, had a holiday in Lanzarote, went over to the Isle of Wight and right now we’re planning to have a couple of nights up in London to see a show. My daughter wants to go to Cape Verde for her 50th and I’ve said, put me down for it!
As I’m still fully active I haven’t got to the stage where I need more help from the hospice yet. From what I’ve seen though, it’s brilliant. It’s very welcoming and there are always lots of people about keeping busy.
Although I wouldn’t choose to need a hospice, I love coming up here for my sessions. I’ll keep coming as long as Jo’s happy to have me and I hope I’m around to see the new hospice when it opens!