Tributes paid to mum who tragically died after being told back pain was trapped nerve



A mum-of-two tragically died of incurable stage four cancer just mere months after she was told her back pain was because of a ‘trapped nerve’.

Helen Etheridge, 68, first complained of a pain in her back in October 2020 which was put down as nothing more than a trapped nerve.

Helen, who lived in Crosby, said that the pain was because of “old age”, Liverpool Echo reports.

However, during a trip to visit her sister in Hull in late January 2021, Helen became very unwell with what medics thought was a pulmonary embolism as she was coughing up blood. Just days later she was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.

Helen’s son Alex said that hearing his mum had cancer felt like a “punch to the stomach.” Alex said that his mum had previously been diagnosed with breast cancer a number of years before but she had been treated.

Alex said the family “clung onto the hope” Helen was going to be okay as she’d successfully been treated before but sadly by the time doctors diagnosed her lung cancer it had spread to other parts of her body including her brain.

Alex, 33, said: “There were no real symptoms apart from her back pain which was getting worse and worse. I sometimes look back and think maybe there were more signs but the doctors said it was just a trapped nerve so we thought she was fine.

“She just said the back pain was because she was old. It really escalated quickly after she was diagnosed though. It spread to the brain and you could tell she was very confused.

“When she was diagnosed it felt like a punch in the stomach. With cancer you try and cling onto a bit of hope but sadly we didn’t have that.”

Alex and his sister Jess made the journey from Liverpool to Hull everyday to see their mum in the hospital but after seeing how uncomfortable she was made the decision to move her into Dove House Hospice. Helen passed away just two days later.

Alex said the family felt a “sense of relief” when their mother went into the hospice. He added: “I don’t know what I expected from a hospice but once you walk into one it’s just a place of peace. You feel at ease straight away and we knew we made the right decision to move mum there.”

Alex and Jess are currently undertaking a walk from Liverpool to Hull to raise money for the hospice where their mother spent her final days. The pair set out from the street in Crosby where their mum lived and are walking the Transpenine Trail to Hull where they’ll arrive on Monday, April 11-what would have been their mum’s 70th birthday.

Alex said the walk has been tough but it has given him and his sister a perfect chance to reflect on their mum’s life and remember the best memories. He said: “She was a very straight-talking woman and extremely clever as well.

“She was very elegant and kind and she always went out of her way to make others happy. She loved looking after you and cooking for you.

“She was just a good kind-hearted woman.”

You can donate to Alex and Jess’ fundraiser here.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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