June was referred to Blythe House in June 2021, after she had developed peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) in her hands and feet due to the course of chemotherapy to treat breast cancer. June attends Therapeutic Thursdays at the hospice and has received physio and occupational therapy.
The Buxworth resident said: ‘I cannot thank Blythe House enough for the support they have given me and my family. When I think back to last summer, where I was in a really tough place physically and mentally, effectively bed bound, to where I am now, it goes to show how essential Blythe House is as a local charity. Now I have more and more independence gained from the valuable support Blythe House gave to me.
‘I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the end of 2020. My course of treatment was chemotherapy. A common side effect to chemotherapy is losing your nerve sensitivity. I didn’t immediately have this side effect. I started getting the tingling sensation at around ten to 11 weeks of chemo. Within three weeks of the initial tingling sensation, I could no longer walk.
‘I got to the point where being stuck in my bedroom was leaving my mental health in a really bad place. My niece decided I needed additional help. I was receiving the necessary medication from the district nurses, but this was about gaining my independence back again. This is when we reached out to Blythe House for help.
‘When the Community Hub team visited me at my house, I had immediate trust with them. They were so kind and patient with me. I didn’t feel like the same person pre-chemotherapy treatment. I had lost a lot of weight from my cancer treatment and the nerve damage had left me with no strength.
‘There were immediate changes by the initial visit and assessment of my home; I was hopeful that they would be able to help. They sorted out equipment for me, so I could move around my house more easily and to support my carers. This was a huge change that enabled me to get out of my bedroom more easily. I was given an exercise programme which gave me the strength to eat my dinner myself.
‘When my physical strength improved, it meant that I could start going to events and seeing friends who I had sorely missed. When I could see the daily improvements from my physio and occupational therapy, I started thinking more about my self-care.
‘I now go to Therapeutic Thursdays at the hospice, which gives me a chance to meet other people who are going through something similar to me and gives my partner a break.’
Miriam Haddock, occupational therapist at Blythe House who has worked closely with June during her rehabilitation for the past year, added: ‘When we first met June back in the summer of 2021 we could see how physically and mentally her cancer treatment had affected her.
‘Our focus is “what matters to you”, and for June she no longer had her independence. She has done whatever we have asked and been so motivated. June is like a different person; so much more confident. Her mood has lifted, and she seems to be enjoying life much more.’