“The word ‘hospice’ was a bit off-putting. I thought it was going to be really mournful, but my feelings changed the second I arrived.” – David
David, 54, has been under the care of St Oswald’s Hospice Lymphoedema Service since September 2021 after unexpectedly developing the condition.
David tells us that the care he received finally gave him some “self-belief and hope” that things could get better.
“Before I came to see St Oswald’s Hospice – no one seemed to know what to do.
“I was getting really down about my situation. I had a leg that was leaking all the time and no one could stop it. I’d seen some complex nurses and doctors at different hospitals – but nobody seemed to know what to do.
“I would be attending three or four wound clinics a week – with a soaking wet leg that was leading to skin issues.
“The district nurses talked about sending me to St Oswald’s Hospice. At first, the word ‘hospice’ was a bit off-putting. I thought it was going to be really mournful, but my feelings changed the second I arrived here.
“I was instantly put at ease and made to feel like part of the family. Immediately things started to get better for me.”
To help him with his pain and manage any other symptoms, David was referred to the Lymphoedema Rapid Response Clinic (LRRC), which takes place within the outpatient department.
The service was set up for patients who are already known to the Lymphoedema Service to be seen quicker if their condition becomes more serious.
“After using the Lymphoedema service, I had some self-belief and hope that I’d finally get a solution. Everybody at St Oswald’s Hospice went above and beyond to make me feel better and tried all sorts of methods – until I finally got a solution and my leg started to improve.
“I’m out of bandages now and I’ve got a skincare regime which I’m administrating myself at home with help from my family. I still wear medical compression stockings – but I don’t mind, as this finally allows me to get my trousers on!
“Before, I was fully bandaged from my toe to my groin area. This led to other complications and a sore on my foot – which the team also looked at – even though it wasn’t technically part of their remit.
“I’ve got a review appointment coming up in April and I’m hoping to return to work soon. I can honestly say I never thought I would get to this point.”
Jill Lisle, Senior Sister, Day Services at St Oswald’s Hospice, told us:
“When David was referred to our service, he was diagnosed with moderate complicated secondary Lymphoedema to both legs, which was made worse with ulcerations and significant leakage.
“During David’s treatment with our LRRC, we have successfully stopped the leakage to his legs, resolved the ulceration and healed a significant pressure area to the underside of his great toe.
“David is no longer in long-term bandaging and is now self-managing his Lymphoedema in compression garments. This has significantly improved David’s independence in managing hisLymphoedema and overall wellbeing.”
Kath Clark, Matron, Day Services at St Oswald’s Hospice, said:
“The LRRC has been very successful, allowing patients on our caseload who are experiencing issues with their Lymphoedema to be seen promptly and their symptoms managed quickly.
“The feedback from our patients, staff and volunteers has been very positive. The LRRC is now embedded into our service and we are delighted that there has been a significant reduction in the need for us to cancel and rearrange non-urgent patients allowing us to accommodate those with urgent needs.”
We’d like to say a big thank you to David for sharing his story and also to our wonderful Lymphoedema Service.