Cancer patient grateful for time in hospice

“Hospice care brought me to acceptance”

Not only is she losing her fight against oesophagus cancer, but her dream of ever becoming a granny, of being able to experience the onset of the spring season, she says, will remain just that, dreams unfulfilled. Yet, the 50-year old Cindy Eachus, a patient in the Stepping Stone Hospice In-Patient Unit in New Market Park, Alberton, remains remarkably strong, living “moment to moment and not allowing this to get me down.”

Cindy, originally from Hoedspruit and brought to Alberton by family and friends, was diagnosed with stage 4 oesophagus cancer in April this year. “I started feeling quite ill in November last year, but doctors kept on treating me for reflux. It was only when my family visited me from Nelspruit and noticed how much weight I had lost, that they insisted on getting another opinion.” That’s when a specialist surgeon in Nelspruit gave her the life-altering diagnosis.

“I remember walking out of his rooms with my mom, feeling quite weird. And then I just started sobbing my heart out, thinking of my two sons, Devon (25) and James (20). It just felt so unreal,” she says.

Her parents, Helen and Graham Warren, immediately took charge and arranged with the help of friends and Helen’s sister in Alberton, to move her to Baragwanath Hospital and from there to Stepping Stone Hospice’s In-Patient Unit.

“The move here has helped us all to come to terms with my reality.” Cindy says. “I have never experienced such a sense of competence and care as I have experienced in this hospice. The fact that my family can visit any time and for as long as they want, has allowed for some very precious moments,” Cindy explains. She spends most of her time talking to her parents and watching her mom knit as she says she doesn’t want to waste any of the time she has left, on other things that is not important to her.

Though clearly heartbroken with the situation, dad Graham says that the love they as a family have experienced, is what gets them through on a daily basis. ”My advice to anyone having to walk this journey, whether its cancer or Covid, is to open your heart to the love and care people bestow on you. That, prayer, and the incredible help we get from the hospice staff, is what helps us to get to acceptance.”

“I’m ready for what’s coming,” Cindy says. “I know where I’m going and I’m at peace that I’m leaving behind a legacy of positivity, something that is instilled in my children. I know I will always be remembered, and that is enough.”

Caption:
Cindy Eachus surrounded by her parents Graham and Helen Warren, and Sister Margi Bollman, head of Clinical Services at Stepping Stone Hospice.

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