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17 Jan 2020 Personal Stories

Eugenia’s story

After struggling with the symptoms caused by cancer, Eugenia Cyrus, of Springwood, was referred to Kirkwood’s In-Patient Unit by Community Nurse, Fiona back in December 2019. Feeling apprehensive and unsure about being at Kirkwood, Eugenia’s fears were taken away and she discovered her sparkle once again. 

51-year-old Eugenia, who has worked as a domestic cleaner and home carer, was initially diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. At the time, her illness was manageable.

Then in April last year, Eugenia was involved in a road accident and was immediately sent to Hospital for a check-up. During her visit to hospital, tests found that Eugenia’s cancer had spread to many other places around her body.

“Ever since the summer, I have been struggling with my mobility and I haven’t been able to go out and enjoy the things I usually like to do.” said Eugenia.

“I have had regular visits at home from Kirkwood’s Community Nurse, Fiona Marshall. Fiona recommended several times that I should visit Kirkwood Hospice, but I just wasn’t ready to go at the time, Kirkwood just meant death to me.”

As the months went by, Eugenia’s symptoms worsened, and after another prompt and reassurance from Fiona, she was admitted to Kirkwood’s In-Patient Unit, where she received round the clock care and support.

Eugenia said: “I just felt at breaking point with my pain, and I was feeling down. Fiona asked me again to spend some time at Kirkwood, and although I was very apprehensive and scared, I said I would try it.”

After spending her first night on the In-Patient Unit, all Eugenia’s fears were taken away.

“The next morning when I woke up, I was asked what I wanted for breakfast. I had the option for a full fried breakfast! The food is just delicious there.

“When I was at home and in pain, I never usually wanted to get up. I didn’t eat a lot and I just felt like I was giving up. But after a few days, I was getting up in a morning and getting dressed. I was also having three meals a day!”

During her stay, Eugenia was also introduced to other services such as Complementary Therapies and Physiotherapy – which helped her to improve her mobility. She also attended one of Kirkwood’s newest programmes, ‘Keep your Sparkle’, which supports ladies in dealing with the visible signs of illnesses.

 Kirkwood's Complementary Therapist, Angie, with Eugenia after her first 'Keep your Sparkle' session.

 

“I’ve had Reiki, a massage, a Jacuzzi bath, and more; I feel like I’ve been treated like a queen!

“I was even able to invite eight of my friends to have breakfast with me one Saturday morning; it really cheered me up.

“I just feel like a different person in comparison to how I felt before coming to Kirkwood. I am back to being me.”

With Eugenia being cared for at Kirkwood in the run up to the festive season, there were many events going on, including our annual Light up a Life celebrations and a visit from a local Choir, which sang Christmas carols for patients on the In-Patient Unit.

“Christmas is such a special time at Kirkwood, the unit is beautifully decorated.

“I was able to watch the Light up a Life service in December, which was held in the Hospice gardens. It was a very moving and lovely event.

After receiving support from the whole Kirkwood team on the In-Patient Unit, Eugenia was able to go home again just before Christmas.

 Staff Nurse, Anna-Marie with Eugenia.

 

“When my son visited me on the In-Patient Unit, he said straight away that it was the right place for me to be.

“When I did go home, the social workers made sure I had everything I needed and wouldn’t discharge me until everything was in place.

Eugenia has since been re-admitted so the team can help her with the symptoms she is currently experiencing; but she hopes to go home again in the near future.

She then plans to use Kirkwood’s Drop-In service in Support & Therapy and feels comfortable in being able to come back to Kirkwood anytime she needs extra support.

“Before Kirkwood, I didn’t feel as though I was getting the support I needed, but now, I feel I’ve got all the help I need and that is so important to me. It means a lot.

“I just feel so reassured. I know that I want to be at Kirkwood at the end of my life; I know I will be in safe hands.”

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