Frank has been supported by Fair Havens Hub since the pandemic, care started in his own home to build his confidence and trust to leave the house.
Because Frank suffered from panic attacks and anxiety, the support from Fair Havens has been focused on supporting his mental as well as physical health.
“I’d been living with COPD for many years. Support workers would take me out to the local café. Even then, I always hid behind my hat and didn’t look at people. I relied on my mobility scooter and blue inhaler.
“During Covid, a chest infection landed me in hospital. At that point I wasn’t even concerned about being ill, it was my anxiety that meant I couldn’t think straight. Even when I was told that I had stage 4 lung cancer, I couldn’t ask a single question. All I knew was that there was no treatment because I wasn’t strong enough.
“A palliative nurse visited me at home and suggested that Fair Havens could help me. Two therapists came to the flat and could see how anxious I was. I was paralysed with fear, gripping onto the kitchen table, but deep down I was desperate to be helped.
“It was so hard in the beginning, but slowly Fair Havens started to unlock a part of me which showed I could have a better life. I knew at that point I wanted to change.
“Between Fair Havens, my partner and I, it’s been a real team effort. I feel equal and worthy now of having a good life. My relationship with my partner has changed. He was my carer for a long time. At appointments, doctors would speak to him and not me, like I didn’t even exist. But now we’re partners again and I can go to appointments by myself. That wouldn’t have happened without everything that Fair Havens taught me. He’s so proud.
“Fair Havens has helped me to break through the boundaries and barriers I was facing. I’m not the same person anymore. I have hope. I can start to think about my future, having fun and connecting with people.
“I honestly feel like part of something special at the hospice. At Fair Havens, it’s not ‘them and us.’ We’re working as a team. You are not just seen for your illness, you are seen for the person you are.”
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Published in 2023
It was so hard in the beginning, but slowly Fair Havens started to unlock a part of me which showed I could have a better life.