It is unnerving to write about cancer.
In my experience C has a life of its own and sometimes disrupts well intentioned plans -it encroaches on the ability to think straight, state your case – to advocate for yourself or to be heard. Of course, you may disagree and there are those who find unusual ways of telling others about a diagnosis the Rev. John Graham told Guardian readers he has cancer through the clues for a crossword.
C can effect your ability to really hear what it being said and what you are being told . I can remember sitting in meetings with medical and social care staff and I thought i had heard what my options were and the implications of my diagnosis but I had only heard bits of it. Fortunately for me I have a very attentive partner who in the midst of it all managed to keep focussed, asked the right questions and got clarity so we could both think things through and make well informed decisions.
Anyone who is affected by C will find themselves with tiny and big questions. You might not even know what the questions or options are.
If you need space to think things through or someone to ask the difficult questions on your behalf or to attend a meeting because you just can’t face it that day then an independent advocate can and will help. Of course there are lots of people out there who also help. The thing that sets an advocate apart is their independence. Advocates are there to listen and to act on what you say, to turn up the volume on your views and questions and to ensure that the right people listen and respond to them. So wherever you are at with C – there is an independent advocate who can stand beside you when you speak for yourself or stand up for you when you it is time for you to rest.