By the point Joan Durney was identified with Stage 4 most cancers she felt indignant and let down by a healthcare system that appeared inaccessible in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Having recovered from breast most cancers beforehand, the 63-year-old Tralee resident stated she knew one thing was “eating” at her physique and that her situation was “deteriorating rapidly”. In early January Ms Durney tried to get an appointment to be seen by her normal practitioner however she was solely provided over-the-phone consultations and painkillers. She felt like she was “falling through the cracks”, she stated: “I could get people to process me on phone calls, but I struggled to get a physical appointment.”
Frightened about her deteriorating well being, she contacted an oncologist in Waterford who had handled her for breast most cancers 5 years beforehand. Realizing her medical historical past, the specialist despatched on a referral letter however Ms Durney was informed she must wait two to 3 weeks to be seen by that hospital. She rang different hospitals across the nation making an attempt to get an earlier appointment, however she was informed there have been none accessible.
In the meantime, the ache went from a twinge in her hip to feeling like her lungs have been “wrapped in barbed wire”. “I was struggling to walk… There was obviously something wrong with me and I was begging for somebody to see me for an MRI,” she stated.
It took about three weeks to be seen on the Bon Secour Hospital in Tralee. The morning after her MRI scan she was knowledgeable her breast most cancers had returned and unfold to her lungs and her bones. It was Stage 4. There was no treatment, she was informed.
Talking to the Irish Instances on the primary day of her palliative remedy, Ms Durney “could not speak highly enough” about her remedy post-diagnosis. The nurses and docs have been “great”, she stated. The difficulty throughout this pandemic has been “getting in the door” of a restricted healthcare system, a problem she didn’t battle when going through most cancers 5 years in the past and was seen by docs “within days”.
“I was given a cancer nurse, a doctor, and I had full information. This time I was out there fighting for my life and for someone to please listen to me,” she stated.There’s a restricted service for most cancers sufferers, as Covid-19 appears to be the “only show in town”, she stated.
Ms Durney stated she feels “let down” by a healthcare system that had been good to her earlier than.
She added: “I feel cancer care in this country was an arms around you sort of system in which you were looked after. The difference now is you cannot get into that system.”