64 year old Glenys has suffered from chronic asthma from childhood. When it suddenly worsened, ten years ago, she sought additional help and was referred to a consultant at Frimley Park Hospital. It was there that she was diagnosed with lung cancer which, over the last few years, has led to further disease in her kidneys and heart.
This diagnosis came at the end of a difficult time for Glenys and her family. She has two daughters, Andrea and Sarah, and six grandchildren. Her daughter Andrea is currently in remission from cancer herself. Glenys also had a son, but sadly he committed suicide in 2010. In June 2012, after they had been together for twelve years, Glenys married Terry, her second husband. Unfortunately, the following October, Terry was sentenced to 13 years in prison.
Glenys’ cancer was diagnosed as terminal in November 2013, and since then she has been in and out of hospital, with additional periods of respite care at the Hospice, in November 2013 and March 2014. “I could quite happily have moved in and stayed,” she says. At the end of April 2014, Glenys was admitted to the Hospice for a third time.
Once she knew that her mother’s cancer was terminal, Glenys’ daughter Andrea gave up her job and moved back home to care for her mum full-time. In addition to the round-the-clock care which her daughter provided, Glenys also visited the Day Hospice, where she discovered the range of therapies and treatments which were available. “I couldn’t believe what was offered – and it was all for me! And all free!” she exclaimed.
It was also at this time that the Hospice Care at Home team started visiting Glenys, to provide Hospice Care for her in her own home. However, when they arrived for a visit one day at the end of April 2014, Glenys’ condition had worsened, and they asked her if they could speak to her about coming back to stay at the Hospice. Glenys accepted and was admitted the following day.
“They’re angels in here,” she says of Phyllis Tuckwell staff. “They’re all my friends – they congregate in Glen’s room and we all have a good chat and a laugh. When I came back, the nurses smiled and said “Trouble’s back!”. She joked in response and said “You’ve got me for the rest of my life!”
Phyllis Tuckwell has helped not only with Glenys’ medical care and therapies, but also with family matters. Phyllis Tuckwell’s Patient and Family Support (PAFS) team has been instrumental in enabling Glenys’ husband Terry to move from a prison in the North of England to one in Winchester, which is much closer to the Hospice. Terry will therefore be able to visit Glenys much more easily as her condition deteriorates further.
Glenys has also left her two daughters and six grandchildren a fundraising task to complete after she has died. Although she has already donated a lot of her old clothes to PTHC shops, Glenys has given her daughters strict instructions to clear out the loft, where she has a caseload of clothes from the ‘60s, along with over 70 pairs of stilettos, which she has asked them to sell on her behalf, under the name ‘Glen’s Boutiques’, with all profits going to Phyllis Tuckwell.
“Don’t ever be frightened of death,” Glenys says. “If you are, then come and have a look round here.” She is very happy to talk about death; she’s planned her funeral with “different” music (“If they don’t like reggae, don’t come!”) and a request that “no-one wears black”. She smiled to recall the response of her grandchildren “Nan, you’re wicked!”. She continued; “I would recommend this place to anybody. I’ve known about Phyllis Tuckwell for a long time now, and I feel lucky to have been able to come here myself.”