James was diagnosed with bowel cancer
James is a retired gentleman in his early 60s living in Herefordshire. He was diagnosed with bowel cancer in September 2020 which in the end turned out to be quite a year for him. James had been made redundant the month before, and at the end of 2020 moved from Surrey to Herefordshire. He had an operation in summer 2021 but in early 2022 was told that the cancer had spread and was incurable.
He started having chemotherapy but found he was losing a whole weekend through the process of having to travel to his closest hospital, at least a 50-minute drive each way and that was on a good day! Fortunately for James it was then suggested that he visit his local Hope for Tomorrow mobile cancer care unit, only a 10-minute drive down the road and a much easier journey. James now visits every other week, normally on Wednesday, for his treatment.
He says that apart from saving on the driving time (and trying to find parking which is always a struggle) visiting the unit has halved the amount of time he is spending on the treatment. Whereas previously the visit to the hospital and the time taken for the treatment would involve a total of around five hours every other Wednesday, this has now come down to around three hours by being able to access the mobile unit locally.
James describes the service received at the mobile unit as “fantastic” adding the oncology nurses on there are “are out of this world.” He always has a laugh and banter with the two drivers who open the door for him with a welcoming smile and chat.
He says it is reassuring that “you get to see the same faces” when he goes for the regular treatment. In a hospital environment there are normally 20 to 30 seats in the oncology unit, and it was often the case that James only spoke with the nurses and consultants on the ward. On the mobile unit, the space is more contained and so, in James’s opinion, much more conducive to striking up conversation with fellow patients.
As James says, “you talk to everyone, have a laugh and a joke.” The chat often goes on for a couple of hours, to the extent that James often doesn’t get out his iPad or book from his bag as everyone is so busy talking.
Ultimately the experience on the Hope for Tomorrow mobile cancer care unit is “nice and sociable” according to James and this has “made life so much easier.” When chemo day comes around, James feels happy to pop down the road to the unit, have his treatment and return home to a cosy fire. “Without the Hope for Tomorrow mobile cancer care unit, life would be so much harder,” he says.