East Lancashire Hospice

Ann Dobson

"We're a force to be reckoned with!"

Business woman Ann has a busy life, but always keeps Thursday free to spend the day with a special group of people at East Lancashire Hospice.

When I was diagnosed with cancer, for the 5th time, I really thought my life was over and this time I was going to die. I had never been offered support following diagnosis but now, for the first time, it was mentioned that I could go to creative and support therapy at the hospice. My Dad was one of the first patients to be cared for in the hospice. I questioned myself; is this really me? Do I really want this?

After much deliberation I rang my GP and was referred, after speaking to the Hospice staff who encouraged me to come,­ if only to give it a go. I am a very strong-willed person and always thought I could cope with everything, no matter what. At the Hospice it was suggested I try something totally new to me - Counselling Support. I did, and it was amazing. I didn't realise how much I had to say!!! Afterwards I felt so much better knowing they would be there,­ whatever the future held in store.

I love to have a laugh, love being around people, and I am a bit of a joker, so I also went to Creative Support Therapy just to see what that was like. It was great fun, lots of laughter, most of us being in the same boat.  I realised how good it was to talk to people openly about my diagnosis and how I felt.

It’s so much better than staying at home feeling like there might not be a tomorrow. It helps give me the strength and deter­mi­nation to carry on. I really enjoy chatting and being able to help others and my creativity skill are getting much better too.

I have also had some compli­men­tary therapy sessions when my treatment has allowed me too. It takes away the stress, I am calmer and feel less troubled.­ It is hard to put into words, it really helps me feel so much better.

My stand out memory (one of many) was Christmas last year. I was having treatment and was quite poorly, I couldn't manage to cook at home and was very upset thinking I was going to miss out on my favourite time of the year. Then it was Christmas Dinner at the Hospice, and WOW!! As we walked into the dining room the candle were lit, the music was playing, wine on the table, just a perfect Christmas Dinner. I haven't experienced anything like it, such a happy and emotional time. It was a very special Christmas after all.

Going to the Hospice every week is like going to my second home and an extension of my family. It makes me feel safe and not alone anymore, I am able to focus on the future. 

I want to bottle the feeling the Hospice gives me and take it where ever I go. It makes my heart smile.

Ann Dobson, Blackburn