Katie’s story

Katie, aged 27, has been supported by The J’s Hospice since January 2015, receiving respite and nursing care. Katie was born with Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) which causes small, non-cancerous tumours to grow on her skin and inside her body. They have caused nerve damage and breathing problems, leaving Katie in pain and making it difficult for her to move around without help. In 2019, The J’s Hospice arranged for some music therapy for Katie.

She explained, “I was suffering from depression and anxiety which was affecting my confidence. I talked to my J’s Nurse about how I was feeling and she suggested that I have some music therapy.

“I thought I’d give it a go to see what it was like but I wasn’t too sure – would I just be playing on some drums?

“The J’s Hospice arranged for me to have one hour of music therapy a week for six weeks. The music therapist was really lovely and down to earth. She brought her keyboard to my house for the sessions – it was so nice to be able to do them at home.

“Each session gave me time to relax and think about my emotions. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all and I was pleasantly surprised!

“First, she really got to know me so she could tailor the sessions to my interests. She asked me what types of songs I like and I told her rock and quite gothic. She liked them too and was very positive.

“We listened to my favourite songs and talked about how the lyrics relate to me and my experience and feelings. It made me think things through and make connections which helped me to understand myself a bit more. If I don’t complete something, I feel that I’ve failed but she helped me to get around that and see things in a different way.

“When the therapist played the keyboard, she helped me to join in. She created a melody and I pressed the keys that went with it. Then I worked on some lyrics and she helped me to create my feelings through melodies. She gave me the confidence to try different ideas and words which we built up week on week into my own song.

“I don’t feel comfortable singing but she encouraged me so I agreed to sing on it. She recorded my voice and then picked the things that I told her I liked from other music and mixed all these parts into my own song.

“It’s called ‘Ghost of the Stars’ and it’s so cool. It sounds different and unique but it’s got everything that I like in it and the lyrics relate to how I feel. I like it – although I’m singing on it! – and I’m proud of it.

“Now I’ve got my own unique song that is personal to me and it’s leading to other creative things. The lyrics link in with some stories that I’ve been writing and I like animation so I may create a lyric video for it. It’s also useful to have a song that I can use on the YouTube videos that I make.

“I’m grateful that The J’s Hospice organised music therapy for me as it’s really been of benefit when I was feeling down and not very confident. It was nice to try something new: I looked forward to the sessions and felt uplifted at the end of each one. It was a great experience and I got something positive and fulfilling out of it.

“I would definitely recommend music therapy to others as it’s a worthwhile thing to do.”

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Published in 2019

It’s made me feel a lot more better in myself because I can’t go out and do normal things like a normal 27 year old would do, and so I enjoy spending time with someone and I enjoy the days when I have a carer come.