14 Nov ‘A horrendous week but my first experience of advocacy was the most precious gift I could have been given’
My personal situation is in 2013 I had a lower left lung removal. A follow up scan was booked for the 18/10/14 followed by an appointment to see my GP on the 28th October this year. I felt relatively happy but apprehensive. Sometimes being a Retired Nurse is both a blessing and a curse.
My advocacy experience
Linda my newly allocated advocate agreed to meet me on the 5th November for our first face to face meeting.
I felt that I could finally let go of being alone, totally in control and a supporter of family and friends to concentrate on me. Advocacy provided someone there to support me to help me be logical, nothing feels stable any more.
On 27th October my Consultants Secretary called me to tell me she wanted to see me on the 30th October. I questioned the need for the appointment but the response was “She wants to see you urgently”.
I was horrified, I needed to call Linda my new advocate but in my panic I couldn’t find her number. Thankfully I found the number for Oxfordshire Advocacy (OA) and explained my situation to Julie. OA sprang in to action and arranged for Linda to come with me to my GP’s appointment. Unfortunately Linda could not make the Consultant’s appointment so OA found me a second advocate.
My GP is wonderful but with Linda by my side to support me, take notes and ask questions that I may forget I felt fairly confident that is until…
There was a new finding “a suspicious node in the right middle lobe”. I immediately went into an out of body experience where you just can’t get back in to you.
Linda could see something was happening and asked questions of my GP, writing everything down so we could have a discussion later.
Linda and I then planned the next few days and what that meant for me.
Keith my second advocate who was coming with me to the consultants’ appointment wanted me to provide him with a briefing as were unable to manage to meet beforehand.
Appointment with my Consultant
The 27th dawned and Keith (my advocate) and I attended the meeting with my consultant together. Her first words to me were “It’s alright it is good news!!!” I should have felt happy and relieved but I was shell shocked, as I had been when they told me I had cancer, and angry for the anguish I had caused my family and friends.
How advocacy benefited me
Keith had written down all the facts from the meeting with the consultant, listening when perhaps my thoughts may have wandered.
Linda and Keith provided reassuring support, without which I am sure I would have gone insane whilst waiting.
I have a scan in 6 months’ time so focus on one day at a time. I am not alone anymore; I can say how I truly feel. There is no need to choose my words nor have guilt at asking and receiving my advocacy support.
I continue to champion the Cancer, Older People and Advocacy project in Oxfordshire so no one has to face cancer alone.
(Rosie – OA Advocacy Client and Cancer Champion)
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