Sunday, 5 June 2011

Wish lists

I have  already spoken of feeling my every need cared for by the team in Edinburgh and this week has been no exception. Given the infection I had experienced they were keen to see how I was. I am progressing but admittedly slowly.Apparently the fact I have had radiotherapy makes me more at risk of infection. Like so many treatments for cancer the side effects can have a lasting affect. As its part of the reason I am here 16 years later it would seem churlish to complain really.......

On Tuesday I have an appointment with the plastic surgeon to advise me on options for the future. Its not a phrase I ever thought I would use. I would admit to some vanity (!) but have never thought of resorting to surgery. Basically I am relieved that my eyesight fading means I cant see my wrinkles however an appointment with a plastic surgeon has found me creating a wish list in my head-mmmmm.No forget it Audrey!

All along I have felt a true partner in my care , I have been detected early, given a personalised diagnosis , supported in my decision making, had modern evidenced based treatment and I have trully been supported and cared for. But this week the media has been full of care failures accross the UK which I know I wont be alone in finding distressing. My own experience demonstrates how good care can be in our society. So what is different?

The leadership demonstrated in the unit in Edinburgh is oustanding and one of the reasons Breakthrough Breast Cancer invests around £1 million every year in Scotland in our research unit just above the breast clinic, focusing on hormone related breast cancers like my own. We know that commitment to delivering  and improving care is translated into groundbreaking research to benefit people accross the world.

So leadership is key but maybe its more than that. The care crisis is particularly in the vulnerable sections in our society, the elderly and those with long term conditons and disabilities. In Breakthrough we recognise that there is inequity of breast cancer treatment experienced by older people in the UK and an important campaign for us is to ensure that  high quality care and treatment is available to all whatever their age or wherever they live. Big challenges for our health and social care services but we need to rise to them.My real wish list is to see these challenges really being acknowledged and prioritised for change.I for one will play my part to work toward this.

Reasons to be cheerful are we have booked our holiday with the family and given that its 10 degrees in Edinburgh today, the heatwave being shortlived, the days are counted. Also I think I should be well enough to attend the event tomorrow, unveiling this years supporter wall. There will be almost 100 people there who have supported our work in Scotland so generously. It will be fantastic to meet them and of course the wonderful Professor Dixon will be there too. Will let you know how it goes.....

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