Mari-Alexia's story on FreedomThese are real stories of people facing the end of their lives. They are about love, freedom, family, home, joy, purpose and trust. They don’t take life for granted. They focus on what matters most.
Over two years ago, after treatment for breast cancer, I found out I have a rare auto-immune disease. It affects my breathing and creates heart failure. It was a huge shock.There’s no cure and so many other things can go wrong. You feel like you’ve lost control of everything.When they suggested palliative care, I freaked out. I thought palliative care was for people on their deathbed. Fear ruled my life. I resisted.Palliative care sent the right people. Even though you say, “Oh, I don’t need anything,” they’ll still turn up and you get to build a rapport. They listen to me. It’s not what I thought it was.Palliative care gives me great emotional support and counselling. They visit to make sure that I’m okay. They check if I need anything and help me to get back into the community. They empower me.Especially with getting back to swimming. It was a big fear and they helped me overcome it. Helping me to get back into the water. That was just like a lightning moment. It was like, “Yes, everything’s going to be fine now because I can do it.”They gave me back a sense of freedom.About a year ago, I had a panic attack at two o’clock in the morning. I wasn’t sure if it was my heart, or whether it was a panic attack. It was hard and they helped me calm myself down.They’re a really big support. It gives me peace of mind knowing that they’re there.I’m not dead. I’m not dying. I can still do things. It requires a lot of help and some really good support. It makes me feel like I’m okay.I couldn’t have got this far without palliative care. And my family and friends of course.I look at ways that I can live. So I do bit of gardening or rearrange some flowers. I need to feel like I’m living, that I’m not just existing.