Jane was one of the first people we met back in late 2017. Jane is 62, a widow and lives alone. She survived breast cancer ten years ago and lost both parents and three siblings to cancer. Jane was diagnosed with stomach cancer and had to have some of her stomach removed as a result. She has had a lifelong problem with her mobility and uses a walker around the home.
Jane was experiencing social anxiety and clinical depression, which severely disturbs her sleep. The thought of leaving the house reduced Jane to tears. Having one third the size of a normal stomach and unable to eat anything with wheat in it made it very difficult for Jane to eat the high calorie food needed for her energy requirements. Jane's mobility was getting even worse due to feeling weak from lack of calories. The strength of Jane's depression and sleep medication meant she had to have it with food but was not really hungry or the timing was off so she hadn't taken her medication for two weeks and was now at a stage where everything seemed too much. She told us that she didn't know why she should keep going anymore.
We talked to Jane about her concerns and what was important to her. After suggesting and discussing a number of options we:
- Made a referral to Tayside Cancer Support for a befriender to visit Jane at home
- Referred Jane to a Psychologist at Maggie's Centre Dundee
- Arranged for a dietician to call with advice and make a further appointment.
- Provided Jane with some information and research on dealing with the gastrectomy whilst coeliac as Jane did not have a computer.
- Arranged appointment with Jane's GP to discuss way forward with medication and give her the opportunity to ask GP for any further support.
Jane is regularly attending appointments at Maggie's to manage her multiple emotional concerns including her social anxiety, powerlessness, and to help her to see that there is life after cancer. She is now eating a balanced diet after a phone call and follow up appointment with the dietician, which means she can now take her medication. This means she is now sleeping and her depression is at a manageable level. Jane is doing the gentle movement Move More DVD which has helped her with walking around. Jane is now going to a cafe with friends twice a week, as she can now manage this both physically and psychologically due to our intervention. She has also joined a number of groups at Maggie's, which has widened her support network.