John Joyce

My name is John Joyce, I’m from County Mayo. Approximately eight years ago I was diagnosed with a tumour in the head. Brought into hospital had two operations which were successful for the time but, unfortunately, I then had to have 72 sessions of radiotherapy.

So basically, after the radiotherapy then I went on to chemotherapy and the chemotherapy is mainly to keep the tumour at bay so next week [August 2020] I will be going in for treatment number 113 so I have had 112 sessions to try and keep the tumour at bay and thank God it’s doing so for the moment.

I was introduced to palliative care in a hospital about four and half to five years ago. I found it hard to speak to be honest. So palliative care organised speech therapy for me, they organised counselling for me, but even normal day to day things like a bus pass and that team, or well a new team which is called a home care team, followed me home. When I say home I stayed with my sister for approximately six months and they were involved in pain management, basically day to day living, and eventually with their help and with their guidance; and with them giving me the confidence I actually moved home to my own house where I now live on my own. And again, without palliative care it would not have happened.

When I heard palliative care first I thought, I’m gone. But I now realise that they’re more pain management, person management, day to day living management. It dispels the fear of palliative care for me. They gave me the confidence to go out and realise I am now John Joyce that I am now, not John Joyce that I was five, six years ago, seven years ago. And I think once you realise that I am who I am now and not who I was six year ago and palliative care girls gave me that confidence like.

Since January of this year 2020, I’m not receiving palliative care anymore because we agreed, or they agreed with me, that I didn’t really need them anymore. I had the confidence to live as I am now, thanks to them and we agreed that they are now dropped me from their system with the option to be referred back at any stage, if I feel that I need them again. But for the five years like, they were my life line. If I feel at any stage I need them I can always get referred back into the system and again because I am in for chemo every two weeks, you know, I can see them in Galway in the hospital if I need to.

I would advise anybody that’s, you know, offered palliative care, take it with open arms you will get the benefits. Palliative care does not have to be the end.