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Secondary breast cancer: A place to die

Ismena Clout
flower getty 300x225 Secondary breast cancer: A place to die

(Getty Images)

I am the sort of person that overthinks things in my life, they go round and round in my head till they either fizzle away or become a huge issue. Blogging has become one way for me to offload those thoughts and help me move on. Occasionally though, I do something without thinking about it and it’s only afterwards that it hits me. This happened the other day.

When I got told in December that the cancer was back in my liver I decided it was time to register with the local hospice. Even though I was hopeful I would become stable again, it wouldn’t hurt to get things in place ‘just in case’. My local hospice is St Raphaels in Sutton and they have been great, they have helped with my Disability Living Allowance and also offer complimentary therapies.

So without really thinking about it I went ahead and booked in for reflexology. I got myself down there and had the treatment which was amazing. It was my first time there so I had a quick nose around before leaving and as I walked out the door it hit me: this was the place I would probably die.

Before elaborating on that point I’ll take you back a few steps. I am building myself up to putting my end of life plan in place.  It’s an important thing to do and to make sure all those close to you know your choices. I don’t fully know the options and I am just starting to feed the information into my brain. I want to digest it slowly and decide what I want to do. But one thing I have thought is where I want to be at the very end.

If I had to choose between home and a hospice I think I’m choosing the hospice. Why?  Well this is where the business woman in me comes out. I live on my own and my house will be sold as part of my estate so I don’t want to damage the value! If I knew it would be kept for a while and family lived there, then my passing in the house wouldn’t matter so much but to sell straight after could creep out new owners.

You might think I’m jumping the gun here with thinking about this now but as I said, I tend to overthink things so it’s already going round my head and causing me anxiety. I know writing things down helps with that process and also I love organising things so it’s the perfect solution. I can get it written down and organise it at the same time, it sounds like a double win to me.

Which takes me back to that moment as I walked out of the hospice and realised where I was, I stood still for a moment and took my surroundings in properly; the lawn, the trees, the car park, the hospital next door. It was calm and serene. I took a few deep breaths to try and get my stomach back from the floor and the chill from my spine. I walked over to my car and quietly cried, not really from sadness but just from the enormity of it all crashing down on me.

I know I could still get knocked over tomorrow by that bus everyone keeps talking about but I also know that the first parts of my end of life plan are slotting into place.

For more information on secondary breast cancer visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk/secondary

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  • Susan G.

    Hello there. I find Ismena’s blogs very affecting and her narrative ( in both senses) is a gift that is humbling to me. Nice to hear from you again, thanks.


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