her Life

Next steps

The results of the MRI scan were not good. She had a cyst on her pancreas which was suspicious and after a biopsy at RLUH it became clear that it was potentially malignant. In order to prevent Helen developing pancreatic cancer it was  decided that surgery was the only option. On 19th August 2011 Helen underwent 11 hours of surgery and ended up with a Whipples procedure and full pancreatectomy.  She was extremely unwell after the surgery suffering great pain and a bout of pneumonia which almost killed her. The surgery left her as an insulin dependent diabetic.

After 3 weeks in hospital she eventually made it home but was unable to do anything at all so I took a break from work to look after her. Through sheer force of will she made a recovery of sorts and returned to work after 6 months. An achievement which was miraculous...

She worked on and off but was really never the same. But she did the best she could for her patients and for us as a family. She suffered a massive blow in August 2014 with the loss of her dad. John was one of the corner stones of Helens life and she missed him terribly.  I remember her speaking at his funeral and was immensely proud of her ability to do so with great clarity and composure. Tom also sang so beautifully...

Helen suffered a further blow after a dispute with NHS England after they questioned her suitability to continue to practice. This process was extremely difficult for her and it really did break her spirit. She felt she had been betrayed by the organisation she had committed her life to. The NHS.

During the last 18 months of her life she was clearly slowing down and her condition was deteriorating. In May 2015 we renewed our wedding vows after 20 years of marriage. In hindsight I am so glad we did that.

The final chapter

Helen became weaker as time progressed and continued to suffer at the hands of NHS England who seemed intent on ending her career. In reality they achieved what all the ill health never did. To break her spirit.

In July 2015 we were supposed to go to La Gomera but Helen was very unwell and we didn't travel. It  was later revealed that Helen had suffered a stroke although we didn't know that until the autumn. We did get away to Majorca on what turned out to be our last holiday together as a family.

In September Helen and I managed a weekend away which was our last time... although we weren't to know it..

Helen was slowing down and developing other symptoms and had fallen a couple of times. The medics at Aintree and Walton were unable to get to the bottom of what was gping on. She was really struggling towards the end of 2015 bit was determined to produce a Christmas dinner for the family. This was a massive effort for her but she was going to do it and through sheer force of will she did so.. she was incredibly single minded and stubborn when she wanted to be...

The new year was a low key affair and it was approached with trepidation although I don't think anyone could forsee how future events would pan out and that she actually had so little time left.

Tom passed his driving test on 16th February 2016 and took Helen to the dentist. She had a fall and ended up with a head injury and was very shaken up. Poor Tom, he didn't know what to do. 

A few days later Helen was very unwell... it was a Sunday evening and she couldn't climb the stairs. I called an ambulance and she was taken to University Hospital Aintree where she was diagnosed with pneumonia and sepsis. She was placed on a ventilator in ITU there and sedated.  Her body just couldn't cope anymore and despite best efforts of all she passed away peacefully at 6pm on Sunday 28th February 2016 with Jill and I at her side..

As I write this we are a yea down the line from that dreadful day. We are coping and moving on with life as Helen would have wanted us to. The boys are doing well and I know Helen would be proud of them.

All I can say is that I was so lucky to have had Helen in my life for the best part of 25 years. She was a wonderful wife, mum, daughter, sister and friend. A brilliant doctor who was much loved by patients and colleagues wherever she went.

She is very much missed and forever loved by a great many people. Testament to this was her funeral where it was standing room only in church. In 2011 she told me what she wanted her funeral to be if she didn't get through the surgery so I knew exactly what to do. So we delivered that for her.

It was difficult for me but also a privilege to deliver Helens eulogy in the church we were married in on that day. It was the final thing I could do for her and I was determined to get through it. 

She also told me to get on with life. Not to grieve for her for too long and to take care of the boys and support them in building their lives which I will always do. I did all I could for her. We had a special bond which although now severed will live on in my heart. I think of her every single day. I know a lot of people reading this do too..

Helens life was one dedicated to her family and the service of her patients. She was a committed doctor who loved her work and had a genuine concern for patients and colleagues. If you were really unwell you couldn't have a better person to look after you than Helen.

She lived a full life and achieved many of her personal goals. To be a doctor. To be happily married and raise a family.

Although cut short way too soon her life was a life well lived and she will always be remembered by those who knew and loved her.

So rest in peace Helen. Your struggle is over and your work is done. No more pain and suffering. Just rest and eternal peace.... we will never forget you xxxx

Moving on.

All was well in the world for our little family for the next few years. We were both working hard and the boys were in nursery.  Tom eventually started school at Stanfield and began his journey through life at Merchant Taylors in Crosby. In April 2004 we went on holiday to Jamaica and had a brilliant time.. When we got back life took an unexpected turn.

My dad became very unwell, suffering from bladder cancer and eventually died in March 2005. Helens dad was also unwell but was successfully treated for prostate cancer. Helens long battle with illness was also about to begin which was a massive source of stress to us all.

.Things started for Helen when she was lifting Cameron into bed one night. She woke up in severe pain in her neck and arm which was diagnosed as a prolapsed disc. She was in great pain for many months with this and was unable to work.  She became quite depressed at this time.

She also began to have abdominal pain and felt generally unwell. And lost a lot of weight very quickly. Eventually she was diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis which had been going on for many years. She was treated successfully but needed to take medication to help her absorb from food. Her pancreas was not producing enough enzymes to do this normally which explained the weight loss. All of this took many months with Helen working occasionally but unable to plan anything.

Both boys were now at school and Helen had left Eaton Road surgery after a dispute with the partners there. She decided she would work for herself as a locum GP.

Helen worked in a number of practices and for various agencies over the next few years. We had our holidays and things were relatively stable with the boys progressing through their years at school. Helen wad not working as much though and I continued to plod along at Fraser Wealth Management where my colleagues continued to support me as they still do to this day. 

In 2011 Helen had a routine MRI. The results of this would turn our little world upside down again.....

The boys.

In 1997 we decided that we would like to start a family. And on 24th January 1998 our first born son Tom arrived in our lives. This coincided with our move to our forever home in Maghull.In fact we moved in a few days before Tom was born. This was a stressful time for us and Toms delivery was difficult for Helen. But once home Tom settled down and we began to learn about looking after him. Helen was still working. By this time she was a partner in a general practice in West Derby Liverpool and all was well with the world. We had always intended to have another baby and after a miscarriage Helen eventually gave birth to our second son Cameron on 26th April 2001.

Our little family was complete. We were truly happy during these early years of our boys lives. Life was good. Little did we know what was just around the corner...

Moving on

<p>Helen and I were inseparable and before long she moved in with me in my little house in Sherwood Court. These were fabulous days filled with love and laughter. She sold her student house in Ampthill Road where she had lived as a student letting out rooms to fellow medics. Helen was very popular and many of her friends are still with me today.</p><p>On 16th April 1994 I asked Helen if she would marry me and she agreed. We drove over to Bolton to ask her parents permission and they were delighted for us. </p><p>On 19th May 1995 Helen and I were married at St Mary's Church in Knowsley Village. It was a beautiful day and we had a fabulous time. We went to St Lucia for our honeymoon. It was just fantastic...memories of that time are crystal clear to me.</p><p>On our return we got on with life. Both working hard but enjoying these special times during which the bond between us grew ever stronger and we were truly in love. Neither of us had experienced anything like this and it was the strength of this love and total commitment that was to equip us for the next stage of our journey through life</p></p>

Early days

<p>Helen was born in Bolton in 1968. She was the eldest daughter of John and Christine Kirkman. John was a dentist and Christine although trained as a teacher remained at home looking after Helen and her younger sister Jillian who was born in 1970.</p><p>Helen and Jill were also looked after by their grandparents whilst growing up and both attended Bolton School. Helen loved the school as it enabled her to achieve her ambition of becoming a doctor. She left home in 1986 for medical school in Liverpool. During her time there she excelled both academically and socially. She was an active member of the medical students society involved in organising many activities and social events.</p><p>She qualified as a doctor in 1991and began her career in medicine at the Royal Liverpool Hospital. It was during this time when I first met her. She helped me to organise a lunchtime meeting for her peers there. She had continued in her role at medical school and was the doctors mess president at RLUH. I vividly remember the first time I saw her. She bounded across the room to meet me and shook my hand. I never wanted to let go and she felt the same. She exuded energy,confidence and had the most beautiful smile. I knew at that moment that we would be together and so did she. It took a while to get there but in 1993 we went out on our first date just as friends but by the end of the evening we knew we would be together forever....</p>