To feel in despair about my situation(77 Posts)
I have been diagnosed with lung cancer. I need surgery and this cannot happen locally. I have to go to a far away city. The health authority will fly me there but I am not allowed to fly back. I can think of no one to ask to come and collect me. It's just too far. The hospital are suggesting the bus and I have discovered that the journey will take 8 hours. 8 hours on a bus after serious lung surgery. And then I get home and there is no one to help me. I am on my own with my 2 kids. And don't even ask me what I am going to do with the kids whilst I am in hospital, because I have no idea.
I have no family apart from the kids. I don't have a network of amazing friends. Other friends are really busy and I cannot ask for help. I will feel like such a burden. I am lost. Entirely.
Can McMillan help at all? I’m not sure if they provide practical solutions but there must be a charity that could help.
I think you don’t realise how much some people would like to help someone in your situation. I’d mind your kids for a few days and help arrange transport. Don’t be afraid to put some feelers out because some people are happy to help someone who genuinely needs it. Some people are not helpful though so don’t assume everyone is like that if that’s who you come across first. Where approximately do you live?
Can you contact social services and ask for help? Surely there must be help available in situations like this. Or what about Macmillan?
Or could you put something up on Facebook asking for help? If I wasn't heavily pregnant I would happily help someone in this situation.
Are you in the UK? If so, can you explain to your nurse specialist and see what help they can suggest. Also agree with Macmillan, and Maggie's centre if you have one accessible. I'm so sorry you're going through this .
I think asking if anyone could help is worth trying. In that situation if i knew you i would want to help in some way, if i could.
I am so sorry you are in this situation.
Are you in the uk?
I would contact the district nurses / community nursing team for your area (you can ring your gp and ask for their number) and they may be able to help you with transport and a referral to social services so your children can be placed in short term foster care whilst you have your operation. They should also be able to sort out a care plan for you so that you have some support when you come home (possibly carers coming in to help you).
McMillan cancer may also be able to point you in the right direction re care etc.
Sounds like such a tough situation for you.
I think this might be the time when you realise it’s ok to ask for what you want, and I genuinely can’t imagine anyone who won’t try to help you. My friend was just a work colleague, before she needed someone to pick her up from the hospital. I took a half day off work and went in with her so she could get the ‘good news’ (I had no idea of the seriousness of the appointment) and from that point onwards we were firm friends. I feel rather honoured to have been asked.
I'm guessing you aren't in the U.K. as there's nowhere that's an 8 hour bus from the nearest hospital (the islands are but nhs Scotland would arrange flights). As for childcare, in the U.K. social services can step in but it means foster care
Are there no organisations that help with this kind of thing? For example, near me the red Cross have a patient transport service.
I am in NZ. My local hospital can't do the op. It is too major. I have to go to a main centre. They will fly me there but I am not allowed to fly back because of cabin pressure issues. The road journey back is horrible. Long and over a nasty pass.
Can you find care for your children near the hospital and all fly back together when you're allowed? Do try charities and patient support groups, perhaps in the area of the hospital. Contact your MP as well.
Other friends are really busy and I cannot ask for help.
I could be run off my feet but I'd find a way to help. You're not just missing out on their capacity to literally help but also solutions they may know that you haven't thought of. You should ask.
That's so tough. But ask your busy friends, preferably two. One to watch the children and one to drive to the hospital and back with you. Could you cover the cost of this?
If I was in NZ of help like a shot and I don't know you. My sister lives in NZ and when she's need help she's been inundated. The culture seems to be for everyone to muck in - of course this might vary in different places but please feel you can ask.
Ask your busy friends. Of course they will help you.
You should ask those around you as you will probably be surprised at how helpful others can be.....
Don't assume your friends wouldn't help. We all have busy lives and can only give so much to other friends. I have friends who I only see once every 4 or 6 months because of it but if one of them were in your situation, I would definitely want to help even if it meant some disruption in my life. I really think you should ask. Say that you appreciate thry night not be able to help and resep t if they can't but you are asking in case they can. Don't be ashamed to ask. Good luck.
You are assuming people are too busy to help, but I think you are wrong. Most people- if they know their friend is having a real life crisis- will step up. Having lung cancer is a real life crisis. People will help. Ask the hospital/nurses/social services for support as well as any charities. But I honestly believe that your friends will help if they know about it- perhaps take the children etc. You have decided no-one will help but if you don't let people know or ask for help they can't offer, can they? Good luck with it all, this sounds a horrendously stressful experience for you.
Can you pay a carer to go with you. You'd have to pay their flight and travel expenses and hourly rate probably doubled but personally I"d rather do that than be beholden to a friend
weird perhaps but that's me
Please, please ask everyone you know for help, OP. You would be surprised at how many people will want to help you. There is no way I would leave even a casual acquaintance to struggle on their own after recovering from such major surgery. No matter how busy I am, their kids could run feral with mine! You MUST ask, you have no choice, no one is going to be offended and I am sure people will rally around. I hope everything works out for you.
or, check yourself in to a local (ie, local to where the operation is happening) nursing home for ten days or however long is required until you can fly.
I was going to say hotel but better to be where there are nurses checking vitals perhaps
Ask anyone you know to help. When I was about 7 a girl in my classes carer had breast cancer and didn't know what she was going to do for her opperation. My mum said don't be so ridiculous I'll look after her for however long you need. Think she was with us for about a week. I would do the same too.
PS, wrt the children I would approach the social services (I'm not in the uK either but all countries have an equivalent) and say I cannot do this, I need help, Get your children minded for a week and delay the bus journey for a week or so by checking in to a nearby hotel or nursing home.
I know everybody else on the thread is saying ''your friends will help if you ask!'' but I am a single parent and I don't know if I have TWO people who can do me the favours required, ie, one drive a 16 hour round trip and 2) look after my children for more than a day.
That is a lot to HAVE TO ASK. Mind you, I've never had to tell people ''i have lung cancer and need surgery''. My heart goes out to you and I hope you find a solution that both restores your faith in your circle of friends and acquaintances and also leaves you feeling that you're not asking too much.
Email the school op.
Email every single parent in both years and explain your predicament.
You are going to have to bite the bullet, you need help and I think the response will surprise you.
I would bend over backwards to help any parent (even one I didn’t know) No one is so busy that they wouldn’t want to drop everything and help.
Please do that now. Your solution is at school with a wealth of help and support.
You need the surgery to be there for your dc. Email them all now.
I don’t know about NZ but in Australia you would be accommodated with the children near the hospital until you’d recovered. You need to be honest with a nurse next time you speak to someone and they will signpost you to help.
I'm really sorry you are in this situation op . It sounds really tough.
I second the Red Cross suggestion.
Or maybe re-post in "overseas" section here asking for NZ Mumsnetters to advise or help? (Mention NZ in the title.)
If you genuinely have no one that you can ask to take care of your kids while you're away (and that, from the sound of it, is actually the biggest issue here), then you're going to have to speak to social services and see about getting them fostered for however long you need to be away. Bear in mind that there could be complications, you could be kept in hospital longer than planned, so you're going to need some robust systems in place around you. As for the bus, are there no trains in NZ? I've never been, so don't know what the transport network is like, but if you need to get back for your DC then you'll have to try and manage as best you can. Could you perhaps break the journey in halves and do it over two days rather than one? for you. What a terrible and upsetting situation on top of your diagnosis.
I would bend over backwards to help any parent (even one I didn’t know)
And yes, I agree with this. I would try to help any parent in your situation who had DC in either of my DC's classes.
Ask for help. One of your friends or someone from school will help - possibly someone really surprising.
In this sort of situation there is always someone who can see the bigger picture.
I'm really shocked that the Health service thinks it's ok for you to do an eight hour bus journey after such major surgery! This would be gruelling even in a private ambulance where you could lie down.
Is this their only proposal of how you can get home?
Ask on Facebook for your town if anyone will run you back and you'll pay them petrol money. Someone will offer.
Also social services will take the children into foster care until you get back.Dont just give them to anyone, the husband/boyfriend could be a sex offender or something. It happens all the time, you just don't know.
Sorry you have to go through this OP, I hope the operation goes well for you.
Thank you for the responses. Some things to think about. I am not going to approach social services though. My gp has suggested this but I am not going to involve them. No way.
What about hiring an Au Pair/nanny/babysitter type person for a month? How old are your children?
Are your children in nursery or school? If so, speak to them as they may be able to help out, or suggest someone who can.
As for getting back from your op, what's the boat journey from Wellington like? Could that be a possibility? Alternately, put a FB post up on your local page asking if anyone's travelling back then and could give you a lift.
I agree - if a message went round my kids class that a parent was having cancer surgery, and needed help with the kids and a long journey, there's no way everyone would just shrug. People would step in.
OP I am really sorry you are going through this, it must be so stressful to have such an awful illness with two children (dependents) and no help at all. My heart absolutely goes out to you.
I have been thinking of your predicament, and if you really don't want to approach anyone for help then this is what I would do.
Take your children with you, book them into a hotel close by. Ask the hotel to arrange a baby sitter around the clock to care for them. The babysitter can bring the children with her to visit you a few times during the day. When you are strong enough then you can also check into the hotel and then just use the baby sitting service for a few hours a day to keep the dc entertained and give you time to rest. I would stay there for as long as it took to feel better, then fly/coach home together.
If you are short on funds, start a campaign to help you fund this. Or ask Macmillian/cancer services and charities to if they can assist, or take out a loan. Whatever you need to do to get over this hurdle. Once the surgery has taken place then you can focus entirely on getting better.
I would also tell those closest to me what was happening, possibly one of those friends would come with you.....let people help op.
@nannytothequeen First of all I'm so sorry about your diagnosis, and I really really hope the surgery is successful and you make a quick recovery.
If you were my friend going through this- even if it were my wedding day- I'd drop everything to help you. Please reach out to your friends as I can guarantee one of them will help!! (And maybe even stay for a few days to help with the kids)
Definately ask the school, they will support you,
I hope it all goes well
OP, it's a worrying time for you. I hope the operation leads to much better health for you
In the meantime, I'd contact the school. Ask for a meeting face to face and explain your predicament. I'm certain that they'd help you sort a solution for the children.
And try to find a charity that specialises in Supporting people who have cancer - I've no doubt there will be one that will work with you to organise your transport problem.
I'd help you in a heartbeat, as I'm sure any kind person would. Please don't be afraid or too embarrassed to ask for help. Help is what good people do best, and it is what you and your family deserve right now. When you're back to health, you can 'pay it back' on your own way if you feel able.
Oranga tamariki will be really supportive of you and your situation xx
Meant to say, we all need help and support at various times in our lives. This is one of those times! So so not hesitate to ask for help!
Also op, try and use this situation (crap though it is) to build up some support around you with school mums, local church, neighbours. Trust me, there are good people about who are willing to help in a crisis, and you may in addition need ongoing support. I hope everything goes well for you
Don't be afraid to ask people you think are not close friends - living in London (where many people don't have family) I have been asked and been happy to step in in similar situations. It has forged closer friendships if anything.
But, if your HA accepts responsibility for flying you over, should they not provide NEPTS or at least train tickets home? Will the hospital even discharge you unaccompanied? Are you coming from Scotland/Ireland?
Are you coming from Scotland/Ireland?
The OP is in New Zealand.
Au Pair/nanny/babysitter type person for a month
It would have to be a nanny. Au pairs and babysitters wouldn't be able to have your DC 24 hours a day.
Social services with properly vetted foster carers would be a lot better - and safer for your DC - than a random parents that you don't know. As a PP said they could have a DP in the background who is a sex offender.
Also OP, I feel there is an elephant in the room that no one has mentioned, which is do you have a will? Who will take care of your DC if something goes badly wrong with your surgery? Has anyone spoken to you about this sort of planning? If you are the DC's sole carer and you have no other family, this is something that you need to have put in place before you go and have your surgery.
Really sorry to hear about your situation OP. I recall your posts about your ex being an arse, but have you told him about your diagnosis? If not him, does he have relatives that might help?
I am in New Zealand but in Wellington. Have you contacted the Cancer Society in Nelson? They may be able to help.
The father of my children would want the kids to live with him if anything happened to me. There is no point in me making other provision because I know that his wishes would prevail. I have told the kids school, but whilst they have expressed sympathy, that is where it ends. There is no way in the whole world I am involving CYFS or whatever they style themselves now. They are largely incompetent and I would not trust them with placing my children anywhere. I have seen children in terrible situations because of decisions made by CYFS. . My kids are 12.
Their fathers family live in the UK. I have told him the basics. He sent me a text saying that this is a consequence of how I treat him. Well, I do treat him with distain, but that would be down to the fact that he lied and had an affair and lives with the OW now. And he tries to wriggle out of supporting his children.
Does your ex have contact with the DC? Surely, if so, the logical thing is for them to stay with him, regardless of how you feel about him and what he's done? My dad did exactly what your ex did, but he was still my dad and if my mum had been ill and needed to go into hospital then we'd have gone to stay with him until she was well enough to take care of us again.
OP I am from NZ, and if I lived at home I would fly down to Nelson and take care of your children until you were allowed to fly again. In the meantime, have you checked in with the cancer society? They have transport and accommodation services--here is their link for Nelson cancernelson.org.nz/cancer-support/nelson-local-support-services/#cancer-family-support
The Ministry of Health does have travel and accommodation assistance for some people. See www.health.govt.nz/your-health/services-and-support/health-care-services/hospitals-and-specialist-services/travel-assistance to see if you qualify.
Can the kids stay with him for a couple of weeks?
Cancernz.Org.Nz website states it can offer help with accommodation & transport costs OP. There's on online query form or Tel. 0800 559 009. Social Services would help with short term Foster care too, I had a friend resort to this before I knew her. Very best wishes for your recovery
I am so sorry OP. Your Ex is a cunt.
As your DC are 12 would they be able to stay with some school friends?
For the love of god please, please ask your friends for help.
I don't think there's a single acquaintance of mine that i wouldn't be willing to drive across country for and help with housework and kids if they had lung cancer and didn't have a support network.
people can be a lot kinder than you may think, give them the chance
OP please don't feel you can't ask your busy friends. I had an acquaintance at work who I barely knew, one day she looked distant in a meeting, as we walked out I asked of she was OK, she broke down and was in a similar situation to you. Her children stayed with me for a week when she was in hospital and I visited twice daily in the second week whilst she recovered. You would be surprised how many people would help if they knew your predicament - I had only met her 4 times at various meetings before that day (we are now good friends) but the moment she told me I wanted to help.
I hope your surgery and recovery go well, wishing you good health
So sorry to hear this and wish you well. What about asking at the university? There will be students with cars who will be happy to drive you.
I just wanted to chime in to encourage you to ask people. Even if you don't feel particularly close, in your circumstances you'll be surprised who's willing to help. I'm sorry this is adding more anxiety in an already-stressful situation.
I second reaching out to your children’s friends. If any of the parents of my children’s friends were going through this, we’d find room for them.
Sorry you’re going through this on top of the diagnosis OP. It’s shit.
OP don't rule out social services.They are there primarily to help and the vast majority of experiences with them are positive. It's just that we don't hear about those so much. Wishing you well x
The hospital will surely have to help with transport after major surgery ? macmillan will help with a one off grant for extra financial needs related to your cancer diagnosis but it does depend on savings/ income etc. Macmillan also have partnerships with local volunteers and charities who can help you practically whilst you recover , so for example they may have involvement with a scheme with local students who volunteer to do some housework for you or walk your dog for a few weeks while you recover. please ring their helpline - they can advise on what is available in your local area in the way of practical and emotional support and also help with financial / benefits advice. whatever your needs are they have someone who can help or will hopefully know of someone who can help. You can also get support from your clinical Nurse specialist or social services if there is no one to look after your children. Hope all goes well with the surgery.
Sorry just read you are from new Zealand so all the macmillan stuff wont be relevant but there will be some similar organisation who can help I'm sure.
I have absolutely nothing useful to add, I'm sorry. But I hope you can find a solution. And I hope your treatment goes smoothly. Sometimes life deals you a really shitty hand and it's just not fair. I hope you can find a way through.
I have made a start. I have asked a friend and will call the cancer society on Monday.
Well done op I gather that was tough for you.
I wish you all the luck in the world regarding your operation and future.
Love from the other side of the world
Sometimes in life you have to reach out and not assume other people can’t help. Also contact charities see if their network can help. Or go to the local paper as someone out there would love to help but you will never know. Or crowdfund for a taxi.
Would you not be able to fly, as flights from Nelson to Christchurch are around an hour? This isn't the cheapest way but would cut the journey time hugely.
Well done OP. I know it's hard but you have made the right decision. FWIW I wouldn't want to ask anybody either but it's one of those times when you have to swallow your pride and get on with it isn't it?
second asking school parents. i would take kids whose parents were in your position in a shot, even if we didn't know them very well (better if they knew my kids a little so they felt something was familiar). FInd a parent you know a little, ask for help. Pick someone who is a good organiser!
I can guarantee you kiwis will step up effortlessly to help out, billet your kids, help when you get back etc. Lived there for a while and never had so much help from mere acquaintances and enjoyed the giving of help too....
"Would you not be able to fly, as flights from Nelson to Christchurch are around an hour?"
This was addressed in the OP. She isn't allowed to fly.
I agree about reaching out to someone in real life. Don't just assume no one will help. Also, post on local Facebook groups or go to you local paper.
Hey OP, I just PM’d you asking when you need to go chch to Nelson cause I live in chch and if I possibly could I would drive you home.
That’s a lovely offer, Inneedofadvice! MN at its best!!!!!
I can see I have some pms. I have no idea how to access them. Sorry v
Until I saw your post that you live in NZ I was going to message you and offer to help and I don't even know you! People will help you if you ask. Maybe you could try putting something on Facebook? Don't get too stressed about the bus journey, its not going to be fun but you have no alternative so you are just going to have to find a way to get through it
To access PMs, go to the 'My Mumsnet' icon top right and click on it. You'll see one of the option is 'Inbox'. That is where your PMs will be.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Get started »
Please login first.