Updated: Sep 28
As many of you know, for the last few months I have been supporting a dear friend who was diagnosed with bladder cancer 8 months ago. In recent months and weeks their situation has rapidly deteriorated and no more treatment can be offered at this point.
There have been hospital episodes with failing kidneys and now double incontinence due to the cancer pervading the pelvic wall which has been distressing for all concerned and especially my friend in question. Thankfully the doctor has prescribed medication for both pain management and to slow down this particular bodily function.
Getting the right level of support in place has been challenging as everything is changing on a daily basis.
I am now familiar with the inner world of the NHS, social workers (practitioners) , the GP’s, the Re-Enablement teams, O.T. and Careline for the pendants and buzzers, as well as complicated forms from the Government to get extra financial support for my friend to pay for his care and extras.
I have to say, I was not prepared for the toll on the body with the Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy, or the loss of dignity as my friend can no longer take care of himself, the rapid weight loss from 11 stone down to 9 stone and the overall quality of life.
When we went to the original meeting with the oncologist Consultant, and asked what the effects would be, we were told that everyone reacted differently and that they would probably feel very tired.
The treatment was only ever meant to be palliative, and not curative, but when it comes down to the choice of having a longer time on this earth, then I completely understand that this is a no-brainer for most people to have the treatments, and holding out for a cure perhaps?
We never know until we are in this situation for ourselves what we will decide.
Now my friend cannot get around their flat safely, with daily episodes of falling, cannot wash or dress themselves without support, or prepare their own food, plus being on high doses of morphine to manage the pain.
And despite this, their gratitude and positivity are awe inspiring and it is a complete honour to be able to be part of their journey.
We have an amazing team of care staff who are doing their best to keep my friend at home.
I certainly couldn’t do this without the support of a friend who is the best neighbour a person could wish for as he goes in each morning to check on our dear friend to make him a cuppa before the other team arrive.
My other support team offer their love and endless support from further afield on a daily basis via WhatsApp and on visits to Bristol.
Sending much love and gratitude to you all!