Georgina is an award winning Artist who specialises in pet portraits. She has been kind enough to share her experience of the Hospice with us on the day that she is leaving to go home.
“8 years ago I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Understandably I was afraid but determined to get better and the process of mastectomy, chemotherapy, radio therapy and reconstruction ensued. The whole process took 2 years, but after 5 years I was finally discharged and pronounced clear.
It was mentioned at my 2nd consultation, prior to the surgery, that there had been some cancerous cells in the Lymph Nodes. After the surgery it was my understanding that they had removed what they could, but no real mention was made again of these cells.
So after the 5 years having been pronounced clear I felt safer and as though I was able to get on with my life, though I had no idea of what was going to happen in the future.
1 year after my all clear I started suffering from lower back pain with severe spasms.
Over 3 years I made visits to the doctor, chiropractor, sports masseur and 18 months working with an osteopath but none of this solved the problem. No one had considered the potential strong link between breast cancer and secondary bone cancer and it was rapidly getting worse.
When not in pain I was able to get on with what I love, pastel animal portraits, and in August 2013 I won the BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year competition for a Lion Fish painting.
I was delighted that I won and there was a fantastic prize. The prize was a Safari Holiday which I was due to go on in October 2013. However as October approached the pain became so bad that I could hardly walk. To me it felt like it was in the bone.
At this point a colleague of my husband, Geoffrey, organised an appointment with a specialist who confirmed that ‘something was not right’. He quickly organised an MRI in London and my GP endorsed the findings. It was bone cancer in my lower spine and right hip.
Things moved very quickly then and the oncologist organised more indepth scans. This was obviously devastating us both when we were informed that it could be contained but not improved.
I did everything I could to carry on, and I probably did too much.
Mostly my illness, but possibly doing too much resulted in my hip giving away one day and due to this I was admitted to the General Hospital. The ball of my femur bone broke in my hip, weakened by the cancer. The trip in the ambulance and scan was excruciating but they fixed me up and I had a hip replacement.
After a few days recovery I was sent to Countess Mountbatten House to recuperate and receive specialist care from the physio and occupational therapy team. I felt a little perturbed to be coming to a hospice as in my mind it was where people were sent to die. When I arrived here I was very disorientated but my room overlooked the beautiful gardens, and the staff here were amazing, both the CMH nurses and doctors. I quickly felt more at ease and was so impressed by the volunteers and the cheerfulness of all staff.
At the General Hospital the staff were so busy with so much to do, small things were overlooked, but in CMH nothing was too much trouble. I didn’t know about the charity until I came in here and I was so happy when Starsky, my dog, was allowed to visit. That would never have been allowed in the General but it has helped me so much and he was actively welcomed by the staff”.
Countess Mountbatten Hospice Charity
“I think that the work of the charity makes such a difference. I had no idea that they funded extra staff, more comfortable beds, and a few ‘home comforts’ like a morning paper and drink at mealtimes. I forgot to say that wi-fi is a REAL benefit to people like me, for keeping in touch with family and friends, and also funded by the charity.
Thank you to all staff for their care and attention as I am going home today.”