Sophia’s Cancer Survival Journey
When Sophia was diagnosed with breast cancer, she felt like her world had been turned completely upside down. Besides going through a stressful divorce, she was also taking care of her elderly mother. The diagnosis left her feeling alone and overwhelmed. The thought of going through chemotherapy and surgery was daunting and she didn’t know where to turn for support. That’s when her neighbour recommended that she contact Helderberg Hospice, and gave her the details of the Hospice social worker who was currently doing outreach in their area.
At first, Sophia was hesitant to reach out to Helderberg Hospice, because she thought it was only for people who were dying.
However, three weeks after her surgery, alone, afraid, in pain, and unable to care for herself, Sophia’s neighbour gave her a social worker’s contact number that she had obtained from a family member that attended a support group called the Macassar Lilies (the structure and content of these is professionally and efficiently managed by Social Workers from Helderberg Hospice). Sophia contacted the Helderberg Hospice social worker and was very relieved to learn more about what Helderberg Hospice could offer her – holistic care from a dedicated interdisciplinary team, management of her symptoms, and improved quality of life.
The social worker went through the hospice registration process with her, so that she became a registered patient receiving the full benefit of the IDT.
Sophia was admitted to the 24-hour Intermediate Care Facility for pain and wound care management, and arrived at the ward feeling embarrassed and unsure of what to expect. However, the kindness of the nurses and the provision of new pyjamas gave her a sense of dignity and reassurance. She was amazed by the variety of food she received and felt like she was in a five-star hotel. The team at Helderberg Hospice were also able to assist her in arranging temporary care for her mother whilst she was in the care facility. After just two weeks she was able to recover completely from her surgery, and was able to go home.
Before leaving the 24 hour Intermediate Care Facility, Sophia’s social worker assigned her to a support group which was held weekly at Helderberg Hospice, and explained the benefits of this regular meeting with other cancer survivors, staff and volunteers to her.
The support group provided Sophia with a refreshing community of people who understood what she was going through, and they helped each other in many practical ways. The volunteers who ran the support group were especially important to Sophia, as they provided food, snacks, refreshments, gifts, and transportation to those in need.
Reflecting on her time at Helderberg Hospice, Sophia shared that she felt seen and heard, respected, and valued. The Helderberg Hospice team taught her how to cope with her disease and helped her to realize her value and worth.
Sophia is grateful to the donors who support Helderberg Hospice and the impact their donations have had on her life. She was able to maintain her dignity during her illness and regained her confidence to return to work. She believes that more people should know about Hospice and the support they offer.
In conclusion, Sophia’s story is a testament to the profound impact that Helderberg Hospice can have on the lives of cancer survivors. The care and support they provide can help individuals regain their dignity, improve their quality of life, and provide them with the support they need to face their illness with hope and resilience.