Tring woman celebrates first year of being cancer-free after successful surgery
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A Tring woman has celebrated her first year living without cancer following successful life-saving surgery 12 months ago.
This March, Julie Green celebrates the first anniversary of her homecoming after successful surgery to treat bowel cancer.
In January 2021, consultants gave her a terminal prognosis of just three months to live.
She and her family are thankful to Rennie Grove Hospice Care for helping them through such a difficult time.
Nearly four years ago, aged 60, Julie developed painful stomach symptoms.
But despite scans and tests, it took another two years for her to receive a diagnosis.
She was told she had a tumour the size of a grapefruit in her bowel.
Treatment wasn’t helping and the tumour continued to grow.
“I was told I had three months to live,” recalls Julie. “It was quite a brutal conversation, but I just got on with it. I knew I had to fight this thing as best I could.”
At this point the family was referred to Rennie Grove.
“We were able to talk through everything with the nurses, ask advice and discuss any concerns we had about what was happening. We had so many questions, and they
answered them all. It gave us peace of mind and made us feel that everything wasn’t just sitting on our shoulders.”
Julie had an operation in February last year to remove the tumour, which had grown to 40 centremetres in length.
She was in hospital for a month and couldn’t see anyone because of Covid.
“I wouldn’t wish those weeks on anyone,” she says. “On top of everything else my best friend of 25 years, Kathie, died from COVID while I was in hospital, and I also lost my sister Pam.
“This really impacted my mental health. Your illness affects other people as well. My daughter, Hannah, really went through it. I think she thought she might never see me
At that very difficult time, being able to talk to Rennie Grove made a big difference to all of us.”
Julie came home from hospital last March, in time for her granddaughter, Ella’s first birthday.
“Rennie Grove called us all the time asking if there was anything they could do to support us. We were offered so much help. A physio came out to the house several times, and the
charity also delivered and collected various household aids for us – bath aids and toilet seats.
"If we asked for something it was usually delivered that same day. Having easy access to those things sounds a small thing but it made such a big difference to me.
“I’m quite an independent person, but cancer knocks your confidence. The little things build up – but Rennie Grove takes the fear away and gives you back your independence.
“My partner Pete and I knew we could call Rennie Grove at any time. We knew we weren’t on our own.”
Pete added: “I ran a factory with 100 people and am used to dealing with difficult things but having a loved one at home so ill is a different league of difficult.
"It’s reassuring to know there are nurses on hand 24/7 who have seen it all and done it and can help you when you need it.”
Hannah echoes her parents’ sentiments, she said: “When we were hearing loads of different medical opinions, we could speak to Rennie Grove for advice about pain relief and side effects.
"The nurses are so friendly and caring, you never feel like you’re bothering someone. The NHS has been so stretched during Covid and you end up speaking with lots of different people. You only have to make one phone call to Rennie Grove.
“Without sounding cheesy, Rennie Grove gave me my mum back. Thanks to the charity she’s regained her independence and her personality.”
More details of Julie's story are available on the Rennie Grove website here.