I am aware that, once again, I have neglected the blog…
Everyday life has been busy, and navigating that with the reduced energy levels that I have become used to takes up a lot of time. Next week it will be six years since my diagnosis and an altered state of health is something to which I am now reconciled.
Something to which I am NOT reconciled is the assumption on the part of the NHS that my life should still revolve around cancer treatment. Now this is not a cancer-specific problem; presumably it is true for many receiving treatment for long-term conditions. The worst of this relates to medication, because of the regularity of the problem.
I work. I work full time at a job I find highly rewarding and which, happily, is also one that I (like many of my friends and acquaintances all over the world) can say in all honesty is generally beneficial. But I also take medication as a result of the cancer. One aromatase inhibitor, two things to counter at the side-effects of the AI, and one to counter the side effects of the drug to counter the side effects.
My primary care practice won't do online or telephone repeat prescriptions. They won't issue prescriptions for more than a month at a time. At one point I managed to get my GP to agree to giving me 3 month-apart-dated prescriptions at one time but, for some reason I haven't yet discovered, that seems to have broken down. I can't easily use the local pharmacy's collect service because what with work and weekend carer responsibilities, I don't always use the local pharmacy. So - twice a month I am expected to arrive at work late or leave work early in order to take in and collect the prescription! Actually I have taken to filling in the repeat slip and dropping it into the box when I pick up the previous one, and then collecting it weeks later when it is least inconvenient, but it is still a monthly exercise.
At year 6 I am reconciled to the aches & pains, the sleep disturbance, the fatigue, etc. But I resent the assumption that it is okay to expect me to make monthly trips to the surgery at times when I should be at work.
I am aware that there are practices who take a more respectful approach to patients' time and I know people who run such practices. But with so many people now living with and beyond cancer, this more respectful approach needs to become universal.