Mum's cancer has been like a rollercoaster, so many twists and turns, so many sudden, terrifying jolts. As her daughter,I emotionally ride the front carriage with her, but physically, I watch as helpless bystander as she goes through more than I could ever imagine having to endure. This week she had her third cancer surgery in three years, an emergency procedure that was totally unexpected. What was also unexpected were the horrendous medication side effects she had following the surgery. Although the operation itself was successful, nobody took the time to explain to her family why she was mentally deteriorating before our eyes. Thankfully, with the removal of a particular medication she is now coming back. She has a wonderful caring surgeon, but I despair at the busyness of medical staff. Very thankful for one who made time for me and sat me down to let me ask questions. Sometimes it seems that she has so many specialists with so many procedures, but there has been so little in the provision of clarity, connection or continuity for her and for us. There must be better ways to coordinate care for cancer patients and their families. Sometimes we turn up to appointments with expectations for information that are met with this equivalent "That's not my area. I am going to discuss this (specialty) and can't comment on that biq question." I know everyone thinks that their relative with cancer is the most important one in the world. It's impossible not to. So I need the reassurance that Mum's health professionals will communicate well with us as a family, so that even when they are busy, we can care for her in a way that is all about love and dignity.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.