Three years ago, myself and my family had no understanding of "Cancer", and the effects it can have on the person with the diagnosis, along with the family helping them to deal with it. It always seemed to be happening to friend’s families, and then all of a sudden it was happening within my small family.
My dad was living with us, as he had not been well. He had been short of breath and a bit forgetful. I took him to the doctors, where we were told it was a combination of old age and Dad smoking for most of his life, but Dad got a lot worse and was sent for tests and scans. It was found that Dad had throat cancer and a bad heart. He ended up having to have an emergency tracheotomy done, whilst he was awake as they couldn't risk putting him to sleep, as his heart would not take it and then chemotherapy. The prognosis was not good, six month's at the most! We were all shocked & stunned!
We all fought long and hard for five and a half years to try and beat the cancer, then Dad decided he wanted to go into Glebe house, as we work full-time, it was all getting too much for myself and my husband to cope with. Dad also attended Sobell House Day Centre two day's a week. Without the support of the carers and volunteers, I do not know how we would have survived, as it was very difficult to get any more help, as we did not know where to look for that help.
Since Dad's passing, we have also unfortunately lost two cousins, and my Father and Mother in law to different types of cancer.
I started to volunteer in the Charity Office at Sobell House, and my husband and I, and seven of his work colleagues did a sponsored slim for six months and raised over £2000. It was very important to us all to try and help the charity. We had no idea how much time and money is needed by charities just to be able to help patients and their families cope with this shocking illness until we had first hand experience. I have also attended training sessions for new cancer doctors at the Churchill Hospital to give a carers point of view as to how cancer has affected our lives, as well as our loved ones.
Earlier this year I was made redundant after twenty years service at my company as they were re-locating and I could not travel each day to the new office. I started to look for a career in the cancer charity sector in administration, as I felt I could make a difference. I am pleased to say I now work as a Support Services Administrator for Cancer Research UK.
One thing I have learnt, is that cancer does not discriminate! We all know of someone, either within our own family or friends families, that cancer has touched at one time or another.