You’ll know that I’ve been in hospital for a couple of rounds of surgery recently and it’s been (hopefully) the final chapter of a whole saga that I really want to tell you about. Not just because I want to keep you up to date with what I’ve been up to, but also because I’ve had some tricky experiences navigating the NHS system when it comes to assessing your risk of hereditary cancers and treatments relating to anything arising from that.
It’s something that’s pretty topical given the political landscape and people throwing around ideas of what the NHS may look like in the future, the NHS is an amazing service, but there are also times when it doesn’t quite work out Voyeurs, there are times when the NHS can’t have your health as their top priority because it’s just too expensive, or because their structure doesn’t allow for that. There will be times when you’ll be better off in the hands of a private provider.
But I’m not here to shame the NHS, the whole idea behind me sharing this pretty personal journey was to give you some insight and allow you to understand fully, what it means to make a well rounded, informed choice, or as much of a choice as you can have when you’re held to ransom by your body or your health. This one’s a bit of a saga because to give you the full picture, the story spans several years, but it’s worth a read – I hope, and if it helps somebody then that’s my objective achieved.
The story starts back in the nineties, when the fashion was awesome and the music was better, I’d long been aware of the inherited risk of breast cancer in my maternal family and had been told the tale of my mum’s mum and her tragic passing long before I was born when my mum was just a kid. It had always been in the back of my mind but never at the front, it was never something I gave a great deal of thought to and that’s because every time I mentioned it to a medical professional, despite the knowledge of our family history, I was told, “It won’t happen to you.”
You can probably tell where this story is going….. or can you? It’s not your average tale, and it’s a long one so I’ll run it as a series before you fall completely out of love with me. It starts when I was nineteen, when NHS healthcare was an altogether different beast, the Patient Choice Charter did not yet exist and treatment was dictated rather than elected. Patient safety and preserving life were pitched at the top of the agenda and everything else came second to that, the cost of providing care was a factor, but it wasn’t the only factor, like it is today. Diagnosis and prognosis were usually delivered at the same time, with a treatment plan dictated and the choice you were given was a basic yes or no. In my case it was a yes, I was young, and chose to keep the whole ordeal to myself but I’ll tell you all about that in my next post.
Contrary to what you might think, despite having been through a whole range of differing surgeries in my life so far, it’s never really been scary until recently. I guess this is down to life choices, marriage, children, more people in your inner circle to be affected should things go wrong. Making good choices and feeling confident in your care is key, to give you a precis, I began this journey with the NHS and flipped to private healthcare which was the right choice for me in my circumstances but there are some situations where the NHS is the only choice. I’ve seen both sides of this, non inherited cancer pathways with NHS trackers are second to none, with triggers and flags, the treatment via the NHS is faster and more there’s less room for error than there is in the private sector, difficult to believe I know. But that’s not my story, that’s my dad’s.
My story is a whole different ball game….