From two weeks to live to being cancer-free: Stephanie’s incredible journey

21st December 2022

Two nurses in blue uniforms with woman wearing black in front of Christmas tree

Stephanie Box, 68, did not think she would see the end of summer 2020. Now, she is celebrating the festive season of 2022 with her family in Lincoln, thanks to the care given by St Barnabas Hospice.

In May 2020, Stephanie suffered from what she thought was bad indigestion and pain. She contacted her GP who gave advice, but the symptoms did not resolve. Consequently, she was advised to ring 999.

Stephanie says: “I had no idea I was ill; I was wheeled into an ambulance for an emergency operation to my bowel, which was blocked. When I woke up from the operation with a newly formed stoma, I was told I had bowel cancer. Nothing can prepare you for news like that.”

From there, Stephanie went through several operations on her bowel and liver where the cancer had spread and underwent chemotherapy.  After seven weeks in the hospital, Stephanie was told there were no further treatment options. She was discharged to the care of the community palliative care teams to spend her last weeks with her cousin Jill and her family near Lincoln.

Elderly woman with silver hair, wearing black glasses and red top

Jill and her husband Chris say: “This was during the height of Covid with lockdown restrictions, and it was so hard to get family members to come see her. Steph’s daughter would come from Birmingham to stay but her son lived abroad at the time, so he had to quarantine to be able to come over. It was difficult, but we knew it meant a lot to everyone to say what we thought would be goodbye.

“We did our very best to care for Steph and we were glad to do it, but she needed around the clock care, and we struggled. Steph was in unbearable pain and suffered from terrible nausea constantly, we were at a loss of what to do.”

St Barnabas Hospice and the community palliative care team provided support with symptom management. Doctor Weller, community palliative consultant, reviewed Stephanie’s care plan and medication, with the goal of making Stephanie as comfortable as possible.

Following these changes Stephanie began to improve.  She went from being nursed in bed, to taking slow steps around the house and being able to enjoy the sunshine in the garden. Today, Stephanie can walk long distances and even drive again.

Silver haired woman sitting with blanket on a wooden bench in the sun

Stephanie says: “I am now cancer-free, with regular scans not showing any signs of concern for my oncologists. The only medication I now take is the occasional sleeping aid to help me through a difficult night, which is often down to anxiety, not physical symptoms. I can drive myself to Birmingham to see friends and family, and not long ago that would have been unthinkable.

“All the St Barnabas staff along the way were incredible, and Doctor Weller has worked a miracle. I am very grateful to every single clinician involved and for all the support I received. I’ve not had any need for the community care services of St Barnabas since early in the year but the Doctor and the team still stay in touch to make sure I’m alright, which is so lovely.

“I never expected to be able to celebrate Christmas in 2020, and despite everything it’s now 2022, with many more Christmases to look forward to!”

St Barnabas Staff Nurse Annie says: “After not seeing Steph for nine months, it’s such a joy to see her in such good health and smiling.

Woman with shoulder length blonde hair, wearing glasses, a red cardigan and black top in front of Christmas tree

“It’s been a long journey for her and now she physically feels well, there’s some way to go yet. An experience like this is hard not just on the body but on the mind as well. If you have been diagnosed with a life limiting illness and need support, our counselling and wellbeing services are here to support you. Steph is looking radiant and I’m so happy she’s doing well.”

Each year, the charity provides free high-quality, compassionate, and dignified care to over 12,000 adults like Stephanie, with a life-limiting or terminal illness.

Please consider donating to St Barnabas Hospice so we may continue caring for people like Stephanie in your local community.

To donate, please visit:

For every £1 we raise, 74p goes towards delivering and improving the care we provide, the other 26p goes towards generating future income.

If you are unable to make a donation, you can support us by shopping in our 25 county-wide charity shops, leave a gift to us in your will, play our lottery, volunteer for us or take part in a fundraiser.

Below, L-R: Nurse Annie, Chris, Stephanie, Jill, nurse Kate

Two nurses in blue uniforms, with two women and a man in front of a Christmas tree

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