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‘Cancer care at home meant I was there for my son’s birth’

Saturday 25 September, 2021

A dad-of-three who has been looked after by a new service offering cancer care at home has spoken about the massive difference it has made to his treatment and life.

Ambulatory Care in Haematology is a new service offered at the Leicester Royal Infirmary - it supports patients to move their treatment for blood cancer from inpatient care to outpatient care.

Anika Sirel and Natasha Woolgar
Ambulatory Care and Post-Transplant Specialist Nurses Anika Sirel and Natasha Woolgar

Lee’s story

Dad-of-three Lee was told he had leukaemia in December 2020 after a period of feeling unwell.

“Hearing that I had cancer was one thing but the thought of a long lonely hospital stay was almost as bad.

“It’s nothing against the staff in the hospital, they were brilliant, really caring, everything they should be it was just that even though I had cancer I didn’t feel poorly enough to be in hospital.”

Lee struggled to shake thoughts of home, where his pregnant wife Katie was preparing to move house with the couple’s two other young children.

It was after initial treatment that the idea of being treated as an outpatient was raised with Lee.

“Hearing I could go home, even though I’d still have to come in most days, made everything feel easier.

“Knowing I could see my wife and children, eat what I wanted and when, sleep in my own bed, just be at home, was a massive boost for me.”

But it was more than that.                                                                                 

“If I hadn’t been able to have the ambulatory care I might have missed the birth of my son.”

Lee’s youngest was born in May 2021, his treatment and the fact he was able to have some of it at home, fell so he was able to be with Katie as she delivered their third child.

“There were times when it looked like my treatment would mean I wasn’t going to be there but the team did everything they could to make sure I was. We’ll always be grateful for that.”

Ambulatory Care and Post-Transplant Specialist Nurses Anika Sirel and Natasha Woolgar are involved in running the service. The duo is delighted with the feedback they’ve had about the service.

They said: “It’s so lovely to hear patients reflect on what ambulatory care has meant for them.

“Lee was really keen to be at home for as much of his treatment as possible - being able to help make that happen for him was great.

“But we recognise that for some patients it doesn’t work and isn’t what they want and that’s ok too. The service really is about doing what we can to make what is an incredibly difficult time just a little bit more manageable and bearable.”

Contact communications@uhl-tr.nhs.uk
Lee did not wish to be pictured