I have been caring for my husband with Pancreatic Cancer since Aug 09. We have never been offered any counselling or support - is this normal and where do we turn, things are pretty tough at the moment and I need someone to talk to
I don't know about others but I was never offered any counseling or support - I had to actively track it down. It's amazing what is out there but knowing who to ask and what to ask is really tough. Of course try the cancer council helpline, ask the social worker at your hospital, ask the receptionist at your cancer care centre, ask the nurse that is working with your doctor (you might not know it but there will be one), find a great GP and talk to her. I don't think they mean to keep it all a carefully guarded secret but it often is. I hope that gives you some ideas and I'm sure others will chime in with more. It's so important to have someone to talk to. Good luck Sharon xxxxx
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Hi Vera This is the awful reality that we are not offered the psycho-social support that we are supposed to receive. It is built into all the clinical guidelines and since 2003 we have had the National Health and Medical research Council's" Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Psychosocial Care of Adults with Cancer" which can be downloaded from: http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/synopses/cp90syn.htm. If you live in Victoria then each of the integrated cancer services (ICS) is supposed to have published a supportive services directory find out which ICS you are in and go to their website. As benlisecca suggests, start with the Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20, then ask to see the social worker where your husband is being treated. Go to your GP and say that you would like to see a psychologist under Better Outcomes in Mental Health Initiative. The GP needs to undertake a Treatment Plan and consider that psychological counselling will help. Most GPs are happy to do this but it is a visit to the GP (a long consultation) that many people, especially during treatment see as an added burden and extra financial cost if the GP doesn't bulk bill. Once the patient has a Care Plan they are entitled to 6 session with a psychologist (this can be extended to 12 but needs to be reviewed by the GP after 6 sessions). The patient will obtain a rebate from Medicare for some of the fee. The conditions that are appropriate for referral include anxiety, depression, adjustment, sleep and sexual disorders. Most patients with cancer who need to see a psychologist will fall under these categories and the GP does have some latitude. E.g. many cancer carers will be suffering from anxiety or depression. The main message is - don't delay, you have done a fantastic job since August and you need some help to keep going. Cheers Sailor As we sail thru life, don't avoid rough waters, sail on because calm waters won't make a skillful sailor. Anonymous
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I couldn't agree more with Sharon and Sailor. I left it far too long to seek help and while I am now finding that help, I feel that the psychological road to recovery may be longer than it may have been. I thought that I cild "tough it out" qand didn't recognisde the signs until too late. I was also never made aware of the services that are available, despite my helath care being wonderful in all other respects. Perhaps I also put on too good a show. When I consulted my GP he didn't hesitate to put through a Mental Health Plan and he is very conservative. Good luck and don't be afraid to ask for help. Samex
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This is a huge problem along with a few others in the system that really need fixing. The first time i was diagnosed with cancer i was offered support and told what was available. Perhaps because the system is bursting at the seams these days is having a great impact on us. Vera, you can contact a social work at your hospital or social security or any organisation that you are in contact with. They will either help you access something or point you in the right direction. The cancer council does provide services also but it helps to have some to advocate for you too. As a carer you are going through such a lot and it helps to have some support. Julie
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Hi Vera, I am caring for husband with stomach cancer stage 4 and I am getting counselling through the palliative care nurse/ service we receive at home. And this is at no cost to me. We live in Vic. Most hospitals should have some sort of palliative care service... Hope you get a chance to have some support, we all need to vent, but hopping in line is always a good start. We are here to help each other!!! Take care Tonya xoxo
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