Zak’s story

When Zak lost his mum Emma to pancreatic cancer, in August 2019 at the age of just 41 – and ...

Zak’s story

Zak and his family

When Zak lost his mum Emma to pancreatic cancer, in August 2019 at the age of just 41 – and only four months after her initial diagnosis – he received support through Rennie Grove’s bereavement counselling service. Here Zak, now 22, from Hemel Hempstead, discusses how working through his feelings with someone emotionally removed from his family situation really helped him to move forward.

“Mum started experiencing severe pain in December 2018, and kept going to see her GP as well as visiting our local accident and emergency department at Luton and Dunstable Hospital,” Zak said. “It took five months for her to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, but as soon as she was, we knew it was going to be terminal. We were told that more than 90% of patients with the condition only live for three months after diagnosis.

“Mum and I were always extremely close – I’m the oldest of her four children, and my siblings were aged 18, 16 and three when we lost her. She was very positive at the start, so we took our outlook from her, but she deteriorated very quickly. She was offered chemotherapy at Mount Vernon Hospital in Northwood, but it was to extend her life, not cure the cancer.

“I feel very different now to how I did in the months immediately after Mum died, and that I have matured a lot. I’ve tried to focus on myself and making sure that I am happy. If you don’t do that you can’t move on."


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