Cosham resident, Patricia Blake, believes that talking to Macmillan helped her to cope when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Here she tells her story:
“From finding a lump in my breast to having a mastectomy was a matter of weeks. When you are given a cancer diagnosis, your brain goes blank and you feel so alone. The past and the future don’t exist. It’s only later that you start to think about what treatment you’ll have, how you’re going to tell your family, and whether you’ll still be fit for work and able to earn a living.
Should I carry on working? “Then I had a CT scan; it showed the cancer had spread and there were spots on my liver and spine. It was this that made me wonder whether I should carry on working as a nanny.
‘I had no idea what benefits I could get’
“I couldn’t afford to just stop work though and had no idea what benefits I could get. I was worried about phoning a government benefits line; how do you begin to explain that your cancer prognosis isn’t good, but even the experts can’t tell how long you’ve got?
It was Jan, my Macmillan nurse, who told me to call the Macmillan Support Line. They were so helpful, could understand my situation, and talked me through all the benefits I could claim, whether in work or not. They even arranged for the forms to be sent to me.
‘They were so helpful and could understand my situation’
“Without their help I’d never have realised I was entitled to Disability Living Allowance while still employed and, because of my poor prognosis, could be put on a ‘fast track’ to higher rates for mobility and care.
“When I worked out the figures, it made no sense struggling on with work. It was already starting to feel physically tough, I was using the car to do the school run instead of walking, and even Jack’s hugs could knock me over.
“I’m now living on DLA, Incapacity Benefit and Income Support. I’ve got a blue badge for parking and a freedom pass for travel, and Jack has a new nanny who cycles and kicks footballs. And thanks to Macmillan, I don’t wake up in the morning worrying whether I can cope with work that day.”
Macmillan is here for you in Portsmouth
If you have money worries as a result of cancer, then call the Hampshire Macmillan Citizens Advice Service: Tel: O844 847 7727
For local cancer information and support, visit the Macmillan Information and Support Centre at Queen Alexandra Hospital Tel: 0239 228 3323 firstname.lastname@example.org
Or drop in to see us at Portsmouth Central Library Tel: 02392 688 259 email@example.com
For more about Macmillan and the services we offer, call the Macmillan Support Line free on: 0808 808 00 00
or visit www.macmillan.org.uk