Shortly after being cleared of one type of cancer, retired Ambulance Technician John Fountaine was given the news that he now faced life-threatening Oesophageal Cancer. Cared for by Mountbatten Nurses in his own home, John’s wife Joy – herself a retired nurse – has spoken of the support she has received that enabled the couple to stay in the bungalow they’ve shared for 45 years.

Despite her nursing background, Joy, 80, said: “I was worried that I was not going to be able to cope on my own. The Mountbatten Nurses have been absolutely marvellous; especially in the last few weeks as things have gone downhill. We understand that, having been in the nursing profession, but it still comes hard and sometimes you know what’s going to happen and that’s hard as well. But the nurses are at the back of us, holding on tight to us and giving us all the care and attention they can. And John knows that if neither of us can cope any more, there’s someone right behind us that will give us the help that we need at the end. John is very much a home bird, we both are. He would want to stay here if he can.”

John added: “One word sums up the care – brilliant! Even back in my ambulance service days, I admired what the hospice did. They do wonderful work. The fact that Annie can come round is totally reassuring for me, and it takes the strain off Joy knowing that she can phone at any time of the day or night for support. Just to have voice contact 24/7 is fabulous and means we are both totally relaxed. I’m aware of the strain this has put on Joy, and I know things aren’t going to get any easier.”

Since writing this story, John has died and we are grateful to his wife, Joy, for allowing us to share his story.