Natasha Worrall, 37, was diagnosed with a long-term lung disease when she was 20. After her condition worsened she started losing her confidence, but as she tells ehospice, the staff at East Lancashire Hospice helped her regain her self esteem and stay active.
Natasha had always suffered from chest infections, even as a child. When she was 20 she was diagnosed with bronchiectasis, a lung condition, and bronchiolitis obliterans, a rare form of chronic obstructive lung disease.
Until two and a half years ago, Natasha was able to lead a ‘normal’ life, when chest infection caused her oxygen levels to drop dangerously low and she was admitted to hospital. She was put on long-term oxygen and told her only treatment option was a lung transplant. Her two sons, aged 13 and 9, are thought to have inherited the same rare condition as her.
While waiting to get carers in place, Natasha used the Hospice at Home service: specialist support for people facing life–limiting conditions to be helped in their own environment.
She purchased a new electric wheelchair to help remain independent and get out of the house but lacked the confidence to go out in public with her oxygen nasal cannula.
“When I was first discharged from hospital, I didn’t want to go out. I felt like people were staring at me and judging me… and I could have been much worse if the hospice staff hadn’t recognised that I was going into isolation mode” she says.
“The lady that used to help me at home took me out for my first trip in the wheelchair. She really helped to build my confidence. Now I don’t think twice about going out.”
Natasha is also a regular attendee of the hospice Creative and Support Therapies (CaST) group. “I have been going for 18 months now and we’re like a family. The group takes part in lots of art and craft activities and you learn lots of new skills, but it’s also somewhere you can chat to people. At CaST, we are all in the same boat. If you’re having a bad day, you can talk openly about it. I have a day to look forward to and it helps me get through difficult weeks. It’s a lifesaver really.”
Natasha has also benefited from counselling provided by the hospice. “My condition deteriorated quickly and now I can’t do the things I used to be able to do, like walk my boys to school. Now I struggle to walk upstairs. I don’t want to burden people, especially my friends and family, so the counselling has really helped me manage my emotions”.
Natasha said complementary therapy has helped her deal with the physical strains of her illness. “I get a lot of tension in my shoulders from lugging around the oxygen cylinder. I’ve found that the massage therapy offered by the hospice really helps and I sleep much better.”
Natasha is enthusiastic about the positive changes since her contact with the hospice. “I was frightened the first time I stepped through the doors… You never really hear about hospices until someone is dying but East Lancashire Hospice has actually helped me to live. They are a great support and help me to feel confident and stay positive.”
For more information visit East Lancashire Hospice