I’m nearly 74 and I have Lymphoma which I think affects my blood. I was surprised when the doctor told me it was terminal. I was very upset.
I have had an advocate for about 6 months now. I was referred by a Community Navigator at my GP surgery. Sam came to see me at home. She was my advocate first then she brought Matthew to see me. Now he is my advocate. Matthew understands what I’m going through as his Mum had cancer. I was glad to have him by my side because I had been to hospital appointments on my own a couple of times. When you get there you are a little in awe and you are so anxious it all goes out of your head. My advocates made a note of questions beforehand and prompted me while I was at the appointment. Having an advocate there is having someone sitting on your side of the table to prompt you.
Matthew also visited me in hospital. He was due to see me at home that day but when he discovered I had been rushed to hospital he found me and visited me the same day. He was a great help. When you’re rushed into hospital you don’t take your phone book. Matthew contacted some relatives for me.
Another time the hospital porter was taking me in a wheelchair to outpatients instead of to the cancer unit. I was embarrassed and cold because I was in my night clothes. It was nice to have Matthew with me to back me up when I told the porter he was taking me to the wrong place.
Matthew gives me space to talk things through. When I can’t find a way out Matthew comes to see me. He helped me think about whether I wanted a mobility scooter. He gets me the information I need. I had to think about whether to buy it new or second hand because it’s a lot of money to spend if you are not going to be around for long. I bought a scooter and I use it to go to the park with my friend. Otherwise I couldn’t go out as I can’t walk without a Zimmer.
With Matthew’s help, I found out I was being charged too much for my telecare alarm service. I phoned Matthew and he came to see me within 2 hours. He sorted it out on the first day when I got in touch with him about it. They are going to reimburse me. That was a great thing off my mind. I may have given up on that money, sometimes you just get stuck. Matthew also phoned the benefits service to ask to them to visit me to sort out my benefits.
Matthew also sorted out my ‘Do Not Resuscitate Order’ (DNR). You see when I was in hospital my doctor asked me what I think about resuscitation. I don’t believe in it for myself. Imagine if I was on the way back to my family and they started trying to resuscitate me. I said no, so they gave me a DNR form, but it was lost. Matthew helped to track it down at the hospital and I got it returned. That means if the ambulance is called they will know I do not want to be resuscitated. That’s important to me.
The best thing about having an advocate is they support you and give you the confidence you need to do what you want to do, not what someone else wants you to do. I couldn’t have done without Matthew.
Could you or someone you know benefit from Cancer Advocacy?
Please visit our get support page to get in contact with us.
Do you want to make a difference and volunteer?
Please visit our volunteer page to get in contact with us.