Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Breast Cancer Bombshell

More extracts from my book, 'Mother Becomes Stardust', which is about my late Mother's brave fight during her final months on Earth - and what I also often experienced within the system.

Chapter 10 - Cancer (extract)

Cancer, the real c-word. The word itself still strikes terror in people. On March 8th I was talking to Anita, a nurse at Cedar Falls, and she let slip that my Mum had terminal breast cancer. She presumed I knew...

That my Mum had cancer had been known for months, but nobody explained this to me. I'm my Mother's only child and easily her closest blood relative, but that didn't seem to matter. On my Mother's Service Option Form it stated quite clearly that, in the client group, my Mother was classed as suffering from "frailty/temporary illness". Being terminally ill is not a "temporary illness". Whether Social Services were as ignorant of my Mum's condition as I was is open to question. Going back to Mum's Reassessment of Needs form I again looked up "fumigating mass", but I came to realize that it should have read "fungating mass". The verb 'fungate' means: "To grow rapidly, like a fungus." For example, cancer. The reassessment was dated November 12th, 2010. All these months I had been thinking: "At least Mum hasn't got cancer..."

After hearing the news, if a truck had hit me I wouldn't have felt it. I said to nurse Mary that "The brown stuff is going to hit the fan", and, bless her, she was outraged on my behalf that I hadn't been informed of my Mother's condition. She rang the doctor concerned, and I was then given a copy of my Mother's Inpatient Letter, which certainly explained things more clearly. It had also earlier been deemed, by the Lincolnshire Primary Care Trust panel, that my Mother's prime need was social rather than health. My Mother had inoperable breast cancer and couldn't walk since her stroke. I've learnt since my Mum's death that, depending on what prime need is deemed appropriate, there can be differences with how a patient's care is funded. When needs are deemed as social then loved ones are expected to pay more.

I possibly wouldn't have signed Mum even going into temporary care if I had known that she was terminally ill. I also wonder how ill you have to be to stay in hospital exactly. If Mum was going to die, I and she would have wanted it to have been at home surrounded by her two beautiful cats. That wish was denied her.

'Mother Becomes Stardust' is available through Amazon in Kindle and paperback format. Check my other blog entries for more info.