Gerry's story

We caught up with Gerry who attends our weekly Outreach group every Friday in Badsworth. Gerry and his wife Sandra were married for over 50 years; Sandra was cared for by the Hospice and sadly passed away on 1stAugust 2017. 

Gerry has been attending our Outreach group at Badsworth since October last year, along with patients with life-limiting illnesses and other carers who have lost their loved ones at the Hospice. Gerry told us that when Sandra started feeling ill he wrote in a diary everyday recording how she was, hoping that it would be a good outcome and he would be able to end the diary with her having made a full recovery. 
Sadly, this was not the case. We were privileged that Gerry offered to share his diary with us taking us on the journey of his wife’s care from the beginning to end.  

20thJanuary 2017:
During a weekend away in London, Sandra experienced some pain, which she took paracetamol to try and relieve. Shortly after, Sandra had an appointment for an endoscopy where they were told it was nothing serious. 

2nd February 2017:
Still in pain, Sandra saw her doctor who arranged for her to have an ultrasound scan, following the result of the endoscopy.  That weekend Gerry and Sandra went to Bournemouth to get away for a couple of days, however Sandra was in a lot of pain and had to spend a lot of time in bed.  

7thFebruary 2017:
Sandra had the ultrasound scan, she then went to the doctors a few days later along with Gerry for the results. The results showed a 4cm mass in Sandra’s pancreas, so the doctor advised another scan so they could investigate further. 

3rdMarch 2017:
Sandra had a CT scan and received the results a week later at an appointment at Pinderfields Hospital. Gerry told us; “The results were not good, there was a small cyst on her kidney and a mass on her pancreas which was a tumour.” Sandra was referred to St James in Leeds. 

4th May 2017:
Sandra had her first chemotherapy treatment, the following week she had another. Sandra was supposed to be having more chemotherapy the week after but they were told it couldn’t go ahead as there was a problem with the blood test. 

May 23rd 2017:
Father Stephen, the Hospice Chaplin is the Chaplin for the Badsworth Parish and knows Sandra and Gerry very well. He advised Sandra and Gerry to go to The Prince of Wales Hospice in Pontefract to meet everyone and find out about the activities at Outreach. 

3rdJune 2017:
Gerry and Sandra had booked a cottage for a few nights in Pickering to celebrate Sandra’s birthday. Their daughter, Rachel, came on the Sunday aswell to join them. Gerry told us they all had a really good weekend away. 

13thJune 2017:
Sandra and Gerry went to the Hospice for the second time to talk with the staff who asked Sandra how she was getting on with her medication and suggested some things that could be changed to help manage her pain.

16thJune 2017:
Sandra and Gerry went to their first Outreach group, however Sandra was in a lot of pain so they went to the doctors and got an emergency appointment. 

19thJune 2017:
Over the next few days Sandra was still in a lot of pain and it was decided that she would be admitted to the Hospice’s Incare Ward. As well as being there for his wife, the next day Gerry had to go to Pinderfields to see the colon nurse for a colonoscopy to remove polyps which were also cancerous. 

25thJune 2017:
Sandra’s condition deteriorated, so she was transferred back to Pinderfields. She returned to the Hospice on 25th June. 

1stJuly 2017:
Today the couple received some good news. Sandra was well enough to return home with Gerry. Shortly after returning home, they were told that the tumour was too close to the vital organs and therefore they wouldn’t be able to operate.  Sandra’s diagnosis was terminal.
Gerry told us; “Sandra being Sandra said to him, how long have I got? Because Sandra was like this, she was very positive. He said do you really want to know? She said of course I do I’ve got things to do. So he said well you’ve got six months to a year.”

13thJuly 2017:
Sandra was starting to experience a lot of sickness and confusion and it was decided that Sandra would go back to the Hospice for another stay on Incare, which Gerry told us she was happy with. 
The next day Sandra was taken round the Hospice gardens where the Hospice was having a forget me not bows event, for supporters to remember their loved ones by tying a bow onto a heart structure. Gerry told us that Sandra enjoyed the day and it was lovely to get out in the gardens. 
 15thJuly 2017:
Gerry and his daughter, Rachel, stayed alternate nights in Sandra’s room at the Hospice so that she could be with her family. Gerry told us that two of their friends came to visit Sandra; they were talking about the night they went out for the millennium and sang Abba on karaoke.  This lifted Sandra’s spirits and she joined in signing Abba songs with her friends in her room.

1stAugust 2017:
Sadly Sandra’s condition deteriorated and on 1stAugust she passed away in the Hospice. Gerry then stopped writing in his diary.

After Sandra’s death, Gerry received bereavement support from the Hospice. We asked Gerry how the support he received has helped him, he told us; “You get things off your mind and it’s nice to talk to someone who understands.”
Gerry told us that whenever he felt low he would go to the Hospice and see Father Stephen and other members of staff for a chat.  Father Stephen recommended Outreach to Gerry and he’s been going ever since.  
“The Outreach feels like a family to me, it’s absolutely brilliant, I’ve got a lot of respect for the Hospice because of how they treated Sandra and how they looked after Rachel and me as well. They’re all lovely people.”
Gerry told us its uplifting going to Outreach every Friday, and that it’s something he hopes continues. 
We asked Gerry why he loves the Hospice, he said “The Hospice is a brilliant place and the staff are outstanding.” 

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