Barrie attended one of our Cancer, Older People and Advocacy project workshops at the recent Macmillan Cancer Voices Conference. Here he tells his story, gives us all food for thought and certainly impresses on us why advocacy support is and can be so vital:
I am a 68 year old man
I live on my own
In 2006 I was diagnosed with Stage 4 throat cancer
this entailed having my voice box removed and radio therapy for a few weeks
I no longer speak through my mouth but through my throat, using a plastic valve inserted in Larynx
It is very difficult and sometimes impossible to use a phone.
I was told there were benefits available for me.
Sitting in council offices was bad and a waste of time. The staff treated me, due to my ‘strange voice’ as retarded.
I had an IQ of 146
I ended up with a lot of throat infection.
In those early days I wish I had had Advocacy help and new patients have the same problem.
I was told by a Citizens Advice Bureau advisor that help was still available and for me to give them a ring, I call this the circle of confusion
Now I don’t ask anyone for help, If I cannot deal with it myself or through the computer I don’t bother.
But others need help.