A terminally-ill mum will see her only child wed his childhood sweetheart after they moved their big day forward so she could be there.
Jayne Woodhouse, 46, has been told by doctors she may not see Christmas after being diagnosed with an aggressive lung cancer earlier this year.
Despite undergoing a catalogue of complications with treatment to prolong her life, including being diagnosed with the C Diff bug and having emergency surgery to have metal rods fitted to strengthen her spine, the mum-of-one is determined to enjoy her final months.
After a brush with death last week, which saw her rushed from St Benedict’s Hospice to Sunderland Royal Hospital, Jayne’s son Ryan Gregory, 24, and his partner Mel McGrory, 21, decided to bring their wedding forward to May so Jayne can see them walk down the aisle.
The mum, from the Wear View Estate, Red House, praised the staff at the Ryhope-based hospice who managed to save her life when the C Diff bug attacked her already frail immune system.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the staff in here, who were running around trying to save me that night,” said Jayne, who is married to Nissan worker David, 41, known as Woody to his friends.
“I never wanted to come into a hospice because of the stigma around them, I thought they were just places where people went to die. But I was in excruciating pain, which we couldn’t manage anymore at home.
“But they don’t just manage my pain, they are like family, they pop in to talk to me. I feel safe here. It’s an amazing place, but they’ve put things in place so that when the time comes I can hopefully go home.”
It was staff at the hospice who saved Jayne’s life when her temperature spiked after the bug took hold of her body. As well as doctors at Sunderland Royal, they’ve given the popular mum precious more time with her family and friends.
Now she says she’s looking forward to seeing Ryan marry Mel at Sunderland Registry Office on May 28 ahead of a party at Gin & Bear It in Sunniside.
“Mel’s been Ryan’s rock through all this, I always knew she was the one for him,” she said. It’s one in a number of memories she’s planning on making with her loved ones, while also writing letters to be delivered after her death and planning her Humanist funeral.
Though doctors can’t rid her body of the disease, she’s undergone chemotherapy and surgery and, once she’s free of the C Diff bug, potentially radiotherapy to stem the cancer’s spread and prolong her life.
“My treatment is trial and error. Every day I get is a bonus now,” said Jayne whose only symptom of cancer was back pain. She’d gone in to hospital in January after months of unexplained back ache where a junior doctor spotted an unusual shadow in the corner of a routine scan.
It proved to be a large tumour on her right lung, which had spread to her lymph nodes, liver and spine, making it too far advanced to cure.
Jayne, a key account manager for energy firm UtilityWise, said: “My doctor says I may not make Christmas, I may not make next week. He’s told me to do my bucket list now. This cancer is so volatile and aggressive, it’s like a daily game, we just don’t know what it will do, but I just have to stay positive.”
The mum’s already been able to fulfil some of her wishes on her “bucket list”, including seeing the pandas at Edinburgh Zoo and renewing her vows to Woody at Holy Trinity Church, Southwick, ahead of a party at The Pullman in Seaburn.
She’s been helped along the way by her family and close friends Paul Robertson, Joanne Woodhouse Graham, Leesa Lee, Scott and Natalie Cockton and Grant and Debra Watson who set up a Smiles4Jayne fund for her, which has raised more than £7,000. It was boosted earlier this month by a charity night at The Point in Holmeside. Though Jayne was too ill to attend, she says the fund and having things to look forward to helps to keep her going.
Despite her friends wanting the fund to go towards her bucket list, Jayne insisted money be split between charities that are helping her cope with her diagnosis including St Benedict’s, Sunderland Cancer Patient Support, which is the dedicated charity of the Royal Hospital’s Macmillan department, and the Hug in a Bag charity, which gives out bags of gifts and vouchers to women with breast cancer in a bid to brighten their day.
Speaking of her vow renewal, Jayne, who originally married Woody ten years ago, said: “The day was beautiful. We’d had some stresses on the morning, my dress didn’t fit because I was so bloated from the steroids, but we managed to laugh it off at the church.
“The main thing was we wanted to see all our friends and family having a great time, and they did. The Pullman were fantastic. All my friends have been supportive, especially Lisa Clinton who is here every day and my mum who’s been through this with my dad and my aunt, her sister, when they died of cancer.
“I want to be able to spend as much time as possible with them, that’s my priority. Me and Woody had dreams to travel the Amalfi coast in a classic car, but I’m just too ill to fly.
“We’re hoping once I’ve had some radiotherapy we can go on a cruise to see the whales at the Norwegian fjords instead. They have doctors on board and it would be an amazing way of spending some time together. I just hope I can.”
•To donate to Smiles4Jayne visit https://www.gofundme.com/smiles4jayne