“I look forward to coming to the Hospice, it gets me out of the house and I’ve made some friends and enjoy listening to their interesting stories.”

Eighteen months ago I worked in the building trade, I was strong and fit. Saying that a friend commented that my left arm wasn’t as big as my right and I noticed that I had started to lose my grip in my left hand too. However it wasn’t until I started to trip up for no reason that I made an appointment to see the doctor, I thought I’d had a minor stroke.

The doctor ruled a stroke out and sent me for tests. A few months later I was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, it was a massive shock.

The MND nurses at Preston Hospital referred me to Day Therapy at Trinity Hospice. I knew what a hospice was as I live nearby and it seems ironic now but I’ve always donated clothes to the Trinity Hospice shop on Devonshire Road. Despite having an awareness of Hospice care I was still apprehensive about attending.

I’ve only been coming to Day Therapy for six weeks and already I’ve benefitted in many ways. I look forward to coming to the Hospice, it gets me out of the house and I’ve made some friends and enjoy listening to their interesting stories about their careers in the RAF.

I benefit from private physiotherapy sessions and am also having Reiki treatments which help me relax.

I feel I can air my worries with the ‘girls’ that is the wonderful team of nurses. I am Irish and always had a strong faith but not actively practiced it in recent years and don’t know who the local priest is to get in touch. I mentioned that I’d like to have a chat with a priest to the nurses and they are going to help me arrange this. They’ve also provided me with a Spiritual Care guide.

The nurses asked me if I have anything on my ‘bucket list’. I’ve always loved travelling and would love to have a holiday in the sun. I didn’t think this would be possible but the nurses are going to look into different companies that provide specialist travel insurance for people like myself with MND.

There is currently no cure for MND and nobody can tell me how long I’ve got left but I am trying to be positive and am determined to make the most of the life I have. My partner, Mary and I are getting married in five weeks and in a few months’ time I am hoping to go back to Ireland to celebrate three milestone birthdays including my mum’s 80th.

I know that in the future I will probably be reliant on a wheelchair and mobility scooter and consequently Mary and I will have to move house to something more suitable.

Mary has been offered the opportunity of having counselling at the Linden Centre. I think it would be beneficial for her to have someone impartial to talk to.

Attending day therapy has helped me to ‘cross the bridge’ from denial to fully accepting my prognosis. By accepting help and support from the hospice and organisations such as the MND Association I have learnt more about managing my condition which will help me maintain as much independence and enhance my quality of life as I can.

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