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  • Debbie Murphy

Fear & Loathing

The date for my referral is through, Thursday 21st April at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and I’m not sure how I feel about  this. Having been signed off from Queens Hospital in Burton at only 11 months this will be my first specialist appointment in over 2 years. I’ve just passed my 3 year cancer anniversary and have admitted to feeling quite lost and bewildered about my ongoing care. While I can’t fault the treatment from my GP, I know that as a cancer patient I should still be under the care of a specialist. This has been established and questioned by many sources now and although I was compliant in being signed off, it was the wrong decision. It took me months to build the courage to ask about a new referral and when I did my GP was quick to arrange this, he was never comfortable with my discharge from Queens. Other factors led to this appointment as health wise I have had a few problems lately but it was a tough decision to make. Now the date is approaching I feel terribly apprehensive but not just about the health implications. Obviously I’m a little nervous about having another scan and I’m quite anxious to ensure my family history is better examined. The fact that my Dad’s suspected kidney disease and my Aunt’s kidney cancer were dismissed initially doesn’t fill me with confidence. The truth is I feel like a nuisance. From the start I had a rocky journey which is what led to me changing hospital trust, it was fear that led me from the hospital where I was originally admitted. Being dismissed from my second choice hospital wasn’t an issue at the time, I was actually relieved not to have to go back into that environment. The QE is going to be my third hospital in 3 years and that makes me sad. Apart from my GP there has been no continuity of care and now I have to start again at square one. The thought of walking into a new hospital and meeting another specialist fills me with dread. Back when I was first diagnosed I was told I should give my tumour a name, maybe of someone I particularly disliked. I didn’t like this idea one bit, the thought of some kind of enemy living inside me didn’t sit right. I  preferred to ignore it and hope it all just went away. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much how I’ve dealt with my treatment ever since. Now I have to face facts and get back on the radar and that means facing up to what was the enemy within once more.

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