Patient view

Nurse helped my family cope with devastating diagnosis

The support of Sally Convery helped us care for dad as best we could, says Julia Gilmour.

During my dad's short illness, Macmillan lung cancer nurse specialist Sally Convery made a significant contribution to my family.

Fiona Gilmour and Macmillan lung cancer nurse specialist Sally Convery. 

Dad was becoming increasingly unwell and had various tests with no diagnosis. He had extreme bone and nerve pain, and I thought there might be something wrong with his chest.

With Sally's help, dad was seen quickly at the rapid access respiratory clinic. Sally supported me during dad’s scan, as I could see how quickly he was deteriorating. Devastatingly, he was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer with widespread metastases.

Calming influence

Breaking bad news is never easy, but at no time did we feel rushed, even though the waiting room was packed. Her calming reassurance was present throughout our journey.

On the way home, mum, dad and I were speechless, only a few words were uttered. I had concerns about dad's widespread disease, which Sally intuitively noticed and acted upon. She called me to talk me through the next steps after speaking to the consultant on my behalf. I cannot describe how this relieved the pressure on me. 

Within a week, dad’s pain was difficult to manage. We had a terrible weekend, and on the Monday spoke with Sally. Again, she went that extra mile to help a distressed daughter who felt overwhelmed by the speed at which her dad's disease was progressing.

Exceptional communication 

Sally showed exceptional communication skills, picking up on cues and being an invaluable advocate. We were never overloaded with information. Sally was aware of the carer's needs, and would call mum to give her the opportunity to discuss how she was feeling.

Sally has extensive expertise, so to have her to talk to, discuss fears and concerns with, and cry with, has been a significant support. I knew I could share my feelings with Sally and that they were kept in confidence.

Talking to her helped dispel difficult thoughts and isolating despair. This allowed mum and I to care for dad in the best way we could.

This article is for subscribers only