"The prospect of going to the hospice frightened me. The reason I went in the beginning was to give my wife a break from looking after me. Since my first visit, I go for me now.
"It was a huge shock to me when I was diagnosed with bowel cancer. I had no symptoms. One minute I was sat watching tv, the next I had excruitiating pain in my stomach and was shouting for my wife to call an ambulance. I was rushed into theatre as my colon had burst and 60% of it was removed. It was sent away for analysis and 10 days later I was told it was caused by cancer.
"I wanted to shut myself away and thought: 'why me?' but the hospice has been there to help me, for the emotional support and the practical help. I couldn't do without either of those.
"One of the services I've beenfitted from at the hospice has been counselling. It has helped me come to terms with the psychological side of having cancer.
"Although it sounds strange, having cancer has given me the opportunity to meet people and do things I wouldn't ever have done otherwise. I get frustrated when my symptoms don't allow me to do things that I could do before but the counselling I've had encourages me to focus on the positives, not dwell on the negatives. Obviously I have bad days as well as good days, but for me the hospice has shown me the light that I couldn't see when I was diagnosed.
"The other patients in Creative and Support Therapy, combined with all the help I've had from counsellors, complementary therapists, physio and the clinical nurse specialists who visit me at home have lightened the load.
"The nurses, counsellors and all he staff feel like friends in the way they look out for you and notice if you're having a bad day.
"It's taken the worst part of my life to meet the greatest friends I've known."