Hello from Melbourne! I am 35 and a carer to my 92yr old grandmother, who was just admitted into hospital via emergency after a Barium Swallow showed a reasonably well circumscribed circumferential narrowing of the oesopagus. The findings state that it is typical for a stenosing annular carcinoma, however since having a stent inserted to help her swallow fluids and puree foods the oncologist hasn't given any further information.
Pre-hospital admission I went through a range of emotions of preemptive grief and loss, and now I am in carer mode trying to look after my grandmother at home, as well as get her through radiotherapy due to start at the end of this week. From my understanding the aim of the radiotherapy is to reduce the mass so the stent can be removed, I think the oncologist said the site of the carcinoma is fairly contained - however not much more info at the moment.
Going back two years ago my grandmother had another hospital admission via emergency to remove another growth from her colon, which was of a fair size and described as a slow-growing formation. She recovered from that very well considering her age and has been fairly independent since.
I have an awareness and knowledge of cancer, however this is probably my first personal experience. In my early teens my grandfather died after a prolonged struggle with prostate and lung cancer, which I was protected from in the last few weeks by being sent away to overseas family. My father, and my grandmother's son, died two years ago of cancer, however due to geographical distance and family issues I do not know the exact cause.
At present I have taken three weeks away from work to be at home since my grandmother now sleeps a lot of the day and struggles with her food. I am feeling pressured to return to work or to look into external support services. I've unknowingly been an active casual to part-time carer for my grandmother for the past ten or so years, however we've never accessed any financial or social help. Our family is overseas, and my cousins and aunt who live nearby are unaware of the exact reason why she was in hospital and have been of very little support in the past.
Dear grrlboiwonder boy it sounds like you have your hands full and what a lovely thing to do for your grandmother during this difficult time in your lives.
If finance is an issue perhaps getting in touch with the cancer council in your state may help. I know that the local Eden Monaro support group help financially but I don't know what the criterion are sorry.
Make sure you take care of yourself while caring for your grandmother wishing you the very best.
Thank you Anne.
I think I am the one feeling it the most, however today my grandmother did say how strange it is that she feels so tired all the time. I don't know if this is the cancer, or if it's her reduced amount of food.
I feel we are managing financially at the moment, however I will try to apply for a carer's payment/allowance.
Thanks again for the message - it helps to hear from other people and feel less alone.
Hi my love - it is probably a combination of everything making her tired. When does she see her care team again? Please do make sure you take care of yourself and if you need to talk I am more than happy to just e-mail me if you wish☺
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.