Planning for the future
Planning ahead can be difficult, but once you have started the conversation you may find it easier to talk about your feelings and preferences than you had expected. It can also help your family feel at peace with decisions they might one day need to make, knowing that it was what you wanted. Over three quarters of people who had talked to a family member about their health care wishes found it helped them make decisions about their care.
You may like to start planning for the future by talking to your treatment team about the care that you might want if your disease progresses. Your treatment team are the experts in your specific metastatic breast cancer and can recommend a type of care that is tailored to your needs.
One of the ways people can access specialised support is through palliative care, yet there is often misunderstanding around what palliative care can offer because it can be associated with end of life care.
When told what palliative care services can actually provide, many people are much more comfortable with the idea. Palliative care means that you, your family and carers can get practical, emotional and physical support.
Whatever is within my control I am able to do … Empowerment is important for me. – Maya
To find out how palliative care can help you, you may also want to use the Palliative Care Toolkit. Developed by Palliative Care Australia (PCA) and BCNA, the Toolkit asks five questions to produce tailored information on how palliative care can improve quality life for you and your family.
In addition, the tool points can point you in the direction of local palliative care support services in your area, or the area of your friend or family member. The toolkit is also available to family, friends and carers of people living with metastatic breast cancer, is free to use and available no matter where you live. To find out more about how the Toolkit can help you or a loved one, click here.
Dealing with the shock, uncertainty and initial fear around planning for the worse [was challenging] ... but then [it was about] getting on with things and deciding that, for as long as I can, I will live life to the fullest and continue to do the things I had planned to do prior to my diagnosis.