At PHT we are celebrating what our values of Working Together for patients, with compassion, as one team, always improving mean to us. We’re bringing our values to life to show just how important they are to our work, and to bring them to the forefront of everything we do.
This has begun with a focus on “Working Together With Compassion”, where we are highlighting the countless acts of compassion and kindness that take place on a daily basis within the Trust. As part of this focus, father of three Jim Eyre, a 71-year-old retiree from Fareham, is sharing his experience of compassionate care at QA after being diagnosed with Bowel Cancer at the age of 66.
Jim explains: “I had a test sent through the door, so I did it. I’ve done it in the past, but this time I had to go into hospital as there was something not quite right. I went in and had a colonoscopy and this was when they found polyps. The doctor removed a few of the little ones, but said there was a bigger one so I’d have to come back.”
Bowel polyps are small growths on the inner lining of the large intestine (colon) or rectum. They are very common, and affect around one in four people at some point in their lives.
Jim had another colonoscopy in March 2014 and was then referred to Consultant Mr Jim Khan as the polyp had developed and could require major surgery.
Jim says: “Mr Khan explained that I would need to have an operation as it could be cancerous. An ileostomy was then performed by Consultant Mr John Conti in April 2014 and I was in theatre for nine hours, and I was then in hospital for a week.”
An ileostomy is where the small intestine is diverted through an opening in the stomach. This opening is known as a stoma, and a special bag is placed over the stoma to collect waste products that usually pass through the colon and out of the body through the back passage.
After going through this intense operation, Jim says he wasn’t worried as the doctors at QA always put him at ease and made him feel relaxed.
Jim explains: “Funnily enough I wasn’t nervous, I was quite calm. The doctors make you feel at ease. My wife Dianne was more nervous, but I don’t have a nervous outlook, everyone just thought dad’s going in for an operation and he will be fine.”
Once the surgery was completed however, it was the discussion with doctors about his post-operation chemotherapy that abruptly clouded Jim’s positive attitude. Doctors had found some suspicious looking lymph nodes when operating, which were removed alongside the polyps. Jim was then told that he would need to have chemotherapy just in case the cancer had spread.
Jim worked through this difficult time thanks to the ongoing support he received from not only his devoted family, but the dedicated and compassionate team at QA who provided Jim with a high standard of treatment.
Jim explains: “The treatment at QA wasn’t straightforward, but it was brilliant. Whatever I was being given, it did the trick.
“You cannot fault the nurses and doctors, they are brilliant. They’re concerned about you and they talk to you a lot; they don’t just plug you in and leave when you come in for chemotherapy.”
Jim is still grateful to this day for the care he has received, and says: “Every year I have a scan or colonoscopy, and the aftercare is good. You aren’t just left alone, the staff are there for you. When I had the colonoscopy bag I had problems occasionally, and they were always lovely and very helpful.
“They team at QA are happy with my progress and I’ve seen Mr Conti on a few occasions. He always asks me how I’m doing and remembers me. He has a good bedside manner and anything you want to ask he tells you, and he tells you the truth. He doesn’t emblazon anything, he tells you how it is. He’s a good surgeon.”
Now Jim is embracing a healthy lifestyle and living life to the full, and strongly encourages anyone who receives an invite for a bowel screening test in the post to take it. Ever since this dramatic turn of events Jim now attends yearly scans to check how everything is going, and his five year scan provided him with the much anticipated all clear.