The 38-year-old mother of two young daughters was transferred to the unit on 15 December, after a lengthy stay in hospital. Diagnosed with cervical cancer in October 2014, Lydia underwent chemotherapy and radiation to send the cancer into remission, but has endured complication after complication and been treated for various debilitating infections since then. When she arrived at the unit in December, she couldn’t walk or even feed herself without assistance. So much has changed since then…
Sitting comfortably in the La-Z-Boy recliner in her room, with a fresh dressing on her propped-up left leg, she talks about what it’s been like for her at Stepping Stone Hospice’s In-Patient Unit in New Market Park: “This is a second home for me. Whatever you need or want, you get it. If you are feeling emotional or down, there are people to talk to. I have felt so many changes between then (being in hospital) and now. God has made miracles here for me. He sent me here. I feel alive again.”
Lydia passes the days by painting and colouring using arts and crafts supplies kindly donated by Stepping Stone Hospice volunteers. She is currently trying her hand at fabric painting a satchel for her eldest daughter (12). She says that keeping busy helps take her mind away from her situation.
Clinical Services Manager, Sr Sheryl Newman, points out that everything about the patient is important at Stepping Stone Hospice – not just their disease. “Everything we do here is aimed at getting the best quality of life for our patients. We work as a team (of nurses, doctors, psycho-social workers and volunteers) to address every patient’s physical, emotional, spiritual and psych-social needs. From making art, to spending time outside in the garden, to being able to reunite patients like Lydia with their families for a short time, no-one is left to just lie in their bed. There is a treatment plan for every patient.” For instance, part of Lydia’s treatment plan involves her being taken to the wound clinic every week.
Another part of Lydia’s treatment plan was to be accompanied by one of Stepping Stone’s nurses for her weekend visit, “to monitor her, to change her dressings and to see her back safely on Sunday, so we can continue to care for her,” says Sr Sheryl.