Peter speaks out to promote Hospice Care Week
A patient from St Catherine’s Hospice is sharing his experiences of day therapy to help break down myths about hospice care as part of a national campaign.
Peter Fitzpatrick is supporting Hospice Care Week, which this year has the theme ‘be surprised’.
The 58-year-old, who has lung cancer, wants to dispel many of the common misconceptions people hold about hospices – something even he was guilty of before he began attending day therapy sessions last year.
Peter, from Fishwick, admits he only came along for the first time out of courtesy to the St Catherine’s Community Nurse Specialist – who was initially providing support for him at home – when she arranged the visit.
But he was proven wrong on the very first day.
“When I was first asked about attending the hospice I was very reluctant to go,” he said.
“I thought St Catherine’s was a place you go to die, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. It is a place you go to live. Now I believe it’s one of the best moves I have ever made in my life.”
Peter, a grandfather of seven, first became ill in 2008 when he needed to have a kidney removed because of a cancerous tumour, and was soon after diagnosed with lung cancer.
The condition forced him to give up his much-loved job as a butcher, which had a huge emotional impact.
He said: “For me cancer is one of those illnesses that grabs everything and takes it away from you.
“It took my work away from me and I used to live for work – it was my social life too.”
But now, after coming along to weekly sessions at the Lostock Hall hospice – where he takes part in group activities whilst also having the opportunity to access specialised nursing care – his life has changed significantly.
Peter, who has been married to wife Jillian for 37 years, said: “St Catherine’s is absolutely fantastic.
“You don’t even think about your illness when you’re here, it’s such a happy place to be.
“Every time I walk through the door on a Thursday morning I’m greeted by a good morning and a smile – that just makes me feel so special.
“The biggest thing I get out of coming to St Catherine’s is speaking to different people who are going through similar experiences. We can relate to one another, which really helps me cope, but we can also talk about what we’ve been up to over the week, which helps take your mind off your condition.”
St Catherine’s Hospice would like to thank Peter for sharing his story, which we have published here with his permission.
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