Mum and son sitting on a white outdoor sofa both wearing sunglasses and smiling at the camera

With the support of Treetops Hospice at Home nurses, Daniel was able to fulfil his mum’s wish to die at home after her terminal diagnosis.

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Mum's diagnosis came out-of-the-blue

Peggy, 70, was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive bowel cancer in 2019. The news came completely out-of-the-blue, as Daniel explained:

"Up to her diagnosis, mum was the picture of health and happiness in her new-found retirement. 

“In March, mum and her long-term partner went to town on a coach trip. They sat having some fish and chips on a wall, just talking. And she said, I don't feel very well.

Woman with glasses sitting on a couch and smiling

We made the most of the time we had left

“She rang me, and I knew something wasn’t right before I answered. She’d been referred to the hospital for tests because something wasn’t as it should be.”

In June, despite three courses of chemotherapy, Peggy was told there was nothing more that could be done.

“Mum was a mega-positive person so from that point on, we made the most of it. We went for family weekends to the East Coast. 

“In true mum spirit, she also got all her affairs in order - bills, insurance, car logbook. You name it, she took care of it. Just as she had done all her life, along with taking care of me and my brother, even though we had flown the nest decades previously.”

Mum wanted to die at home

It was Peggy’s wish to die at home. Daniel and his family were determined to make this happen. But they did not anticipate how “all-consuming” this would be.

“In the weeks leading up to mum coming home from hospital, we’d got everything that we needed. Almost as soon as she got home, she just became so calm. It was like she realised she didn’t need to struggle any more.

"We didn’t have a clue what we were doing at the start. After all it was us who’d been looked after. Now the roles were reversed.

Caring takes over your entire life. Anyone who’s been through this knows how difficult it is.

"You're busy for five or ten minutes at a time, and then you sort of sit around. And then because you’re not really doing anything, you feel guilty that you're not really helping them.”

The Treetops nurses were a godsend

Treetops Hospice at Home nurses came to help look after Peggy through the night to give Daniel and his family a break.

When the Treetops nurses came at night, it was a godsend. They were so friendly, helpful, and understanding.

“From the minute they walked in, they came in as a ‘person’. Rather than just putting on a plastic apron and coming in and out to help clean my mum.

“It was just so reassuring that we had people that knew what we were going through and to put our minds at rest. It made us more relaxed and organised. And it meant we could look after mum better. We weren't frantically panicking and bickering between each other about what needed doing.

“When it was mum’s final hours, the Treetops nurse came and woke us up and said, ‘I don’t think there’s long left’.  She explained she would leave us to say our goodbyes.

I can't imagine going through this without Treetops support

It's never pleasurable when you see someone going through what they're going through. But I can look back and say, we did everything we possibly could for her with Treetops help

“We could grant mum’s wish and bring her home. And we could look after her with all the support that we got, knowing we were doing it right. It just made the whole experience a lot better for us. I can't imagine going through it without the support we had.”

Proceeds from the annual Treetops Super Draw help provide end-of-life nursing care for patients like Peggy, and families, living in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.