Heather’s story

I was given 12 weeks to live, so I was fast-tracked into getting things in place for a rapid decline in my health – but I didn’t die. Now, nine months down the line, I’m still here.

My pain management wasn’t great so I was referred to the In Patient Unit in Winsley for a week to get my medication sorted out. The idea was to help me live a more comfortable life. I had some reflexology sessions to relax me and some aromatherapy. It was really lovely.

Then I was referred to the Day Patient Unit in Winsley – I come every week on a Wednesday. It’s been great from the start. You make friends with staff and patients and it’s great sharing stories and experiences.

We have a session of serenity in the chapel each week where there’s music and mindfulness. Once, I was so relaxed I fell asleep. It’s lovely to be able to concentrate on relaxing.

What’s really good about Dorothy House is the ethos – the emphasis is not on death, or even preparing you for death. It’s about living. You’re given the opportunity here to make so many more MOSTS of things – it’s a privilege really. Here, you’re put in the centre of things. That’s something not many people have had in their lives, when maybe work and family have taken priority.

I was able to get involved in the Creative Keepsakes programme with my children and my grandchildren over five weeks and we all made clay figures together. That was great fun. I do crafts every time I come in now. We do all sorts of things. I’m an arty person – I’ve always got a project on the go although that’s not so easy now. Doing this is a bonus for me.

And I’ve joined the Sewing Bee at the Peasedown outreach centre – making things to sell for Dorothy House. You’re mixing with volunteers, patients, and the bereaved. Illness is never mentioned because we’re all so different. It’s something extra – I feel it’s something to give back – my daughter goes as well. She lives with me and she’s my carer. She gets some support from a Dorothy House counsellor as well – emotional and practical advice. Dorothy House is there for my children. That gives me peace of mind, knowing that they’ll be looked out for when I’m gone.