3rd November 2022

Remembering Sue Falshaw

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Proud nanny, proud wife, proud mum; Sue Falshaw, from North Yorkshire, made a lasting impact on everyone she met. After Sue’s lung cancer diagnosis in 2021, her daughter, Sam Broadbent, sought out support from our Ask the Nurse helpline. Here, Sam shares her journey and experience to encourage others to utilise the service when they need support.

Sam recalls, “The first nurse I spoke to was a fabulous lady called Ann. Ann couldn’t have been more helpful and supportive. She listened to me intently, talked me through my tears and made me feel at ease. Ann answered all of my questions and she had so much time for me.

“Due to the fact my sister, Leesa, lives in New Zealand and was so far away I wanted to make sure I had all the correct facts. Ann was my hero.

“From that first contact I had; Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation nurses have been amazing. Ann was always there for a chat and to make everything that we were being told by consultants easier to understand. My mum and dad didn’t want to know her prognosis but gave permission for the consultant to tell me, so my sister was aware of everything with her being so far away. I did all the ‘finding out’ and tried to get the best possible care and treatment for my mum. Ann massively helped with this, she went through biopsy results, treatment options and side effects.

“When my mum had immunotherapy and it caused her to have hyperprogression, Ann was again on hand to explain all of this to me and make me see more clearly through the fog. As the months went on, my mum had more scans and just before Christmas she had an MRI scan and the results wouldn’t be ready until the New Year (A CT scan had shown masses on her brain, but they wanted to see how many clusters there were). I called Ann and as always, she supported me and explained what could happen and told me just to try and have the most wonderful Christmas with my mum and our family. Leesa had come over from New Zealand with her family, so we had the best Christmas ever together as a family.

“When we found out the results, my mum had too many clusters on her brain for treatment. The pain we felt when hearing this news was unfathomable, but I had to keep Mum going.

“That next day, mum wouldn’t get out of bed, she was so depressed. I needed some more support of what to say and do. Ann was there again to guide me and give me the strength and support to help Mum smile and get out of bed, which I did with the help of Ann. She also sent my mum and dad some information which really helped them process what was to be expected in the coming months.

“I was there for Mum every day and when I needed anything I knew I could call the wonderful Ann. During the last couple of weeks of my amazing Mum’s life, I called Ann a few times just for someone to talk to and for some support on what to expect and how I could be the best carer. Ann told me to look at hospice at home care and get help. I wouldn’t have known anything about this if it wasn’t for Ann, so I am eternally grateful for everything she did for us.

“My Dad and I were with my mum until the end and although she was terminally ill, she lived her life to the full and spent all her time with her loving family and in her beautiful home.

“My gorgeous mummy passed away with my dad and me by her side, at her wonderful home on 28th April 2022.

“Ann called me after my mum had passed away and gave my encouragement and support of how to get through these difficult times ahead and said that the Roy Castle Lung Foundation was always here for me and my family. The support that the charity has given me has been fabulous. The legacy of my mum still lives on, and always will.

“Mum – You are my hero and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being the best mummy I could ever wish for.

You will live forever in me, in Leesa and your wonderful grandchildren.

Here is a little poem I wrote for my mum:

Mummy, you gave me life to live as I please. You gave me love and support to follow my dreams. Your beauty lives forever, deep in my soul. The memory of your love fills my heart, and I will never be alone.

“I hope for the future of lung cancer that more ways of early detection can be found, therefore treatment can be more successful and started earlier. I would like the uncommon symptoms of lung cancer publicised more so people are more aware. I also don’t want the stigma relating it to smoking, as that always isn’t the case.

With the help of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, I have no doubt these can be achieved and I will be supporting the charity along the way.”