Published 3 May 2024     More in

For nurse Panna Siddiqui the hardest thing about having inoperable, Stage Four cancer is giving up the job she’s loved for 40 years and accepting care and support from St Christopher’s.

That’s not to say she doesn’t appreciate the care she’s received. In fact, she can’t speak highly enough of what the hospice has done for her and the way in which everyone involved in her care has treated her. It’s just the challenge of coming to terms with having to trade places.


What matters most to Panna now is staying at home.

Her family and the team from St Christopher’s have made her feel confident she can fulfil that wish.

“Even before I had my diagnosis, I always told my boys that I would want them to bring me home. I don’t want to be anywhere else in the last stages of life and Helen has reassured me that she will be here with me when I need her.

“With everyone’s support and help I can be strong and I can die in my own house.”

“With everyone’s support and help I can be strong and I can die in my own house.”

Panna’s job as a Cardiac Clinical Nurse Specialist at Kingston Hospital, is still open and she says she would like nothing more than to be able to return to work, even if it was just for a day a week.

A programme of sessions with a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist from St Christopher’s at her home, has helped Panna reconcile the need to accept care and to feel more comfortable asking for help.

That’s just one of the services Panna has accessed since her referral to St Christopher’s in 2022 following her diagnosis.

“Thankfully they just took over. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t do even the most basic tasks. With the pain management regime they worked out together I am much better and I’m able to do more things myself. I can’t thank them enough, they are all so supportive.

Panna picks out Consultant Nurse Helen King and Consultant Emma Noble for special praise, but also points to the physiotherapy and complementary therapy sessions she’s benefited from.

Looking back to when the hospital consultant referred her to St Christopher’s, Panna recalls her immediate response.

My first thought was this is the end of life. It’s just going to be comfort measures now. It was scary because only a few months before I had been symptom-free and now I was in the care of a hospice and coming to the end of life.

But it’s not quite like that with hospice support. I’m not able to live completely independently, but I have quite a bit of independence and I am certainly not bed ridden. If they hadn’t helped me, I would be done.”

“I realise now that I can’t work and have lost a lot of my independence, but I have got my family and they support me so much.”

Panna takes huge comfort not only from the support of Helen, Emma and their colleagues, but also from her family – husband Dilbagh, sons Arman and Aqeel and two-year-old grandson Adam who visits every day.

Both sons recently moved to be closer to their mother. Panna and Dilbagh brought them up in the US when his job took him there and Panna also found work as a nurse.

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