In 2006 Ray and I decided to join the health insurance, BUPA. Thank goodness we did. Although some people have said to me that it has made no difference to people they knew, for me the converse is true. I have had some excellent NHS treatment, notably from my GP surgery, but I have also had some terrible experiences.
Initially being able to call on BUPA to authorise seeing a consultant led to my diagnosis of lymphoma earlier than otherwise. Secondly, I was able to have chemotherapy at home and I knew I would have access to drugs not always available on the NHS. Of course this isn’t fair; the drugs should be available to all. However, people have different priorities and we made a decision about making insurance subscriptions which meant doing without things in other areas of our lives but I am aware that some people have no choice at all.
The crunch came when I needed ENT treatment. This had been highlighted by the bone marrow team in Southampton but not acted upon and the delays meant that if I had gone down the NHS route I would only just have seen a consultant in the last few days. This would have meant postponement of my bone marrow transplant and the danger in this is that mantle cell lymphoma grows back so that the transplant could have been doomed from the outset.
As it is, BUPA authorised me to see the consultant, have an appropriate scan, pre-assessment tests and my sinus operation yesterday. This just fits into the schedule for the transplant and I am so grateful that everyone pulled together to enable this to be done. I knew already that the consultant was very experienced and capable but successful outcomes also depend very much upon the hospitals and their staff as I know to my cost, having had two previous bouts of MRSA. I was impressed by the pre-operative tests which were very thorough. In hospital I was very well looked after and staff asked all the right questions to prevent anything going wrong. They all seemed aware about the transplant ahead and I felt buoyed by their quiet encouragement.
So I’m home and another hurdle has been jumped. The journey is picking up speed at last which is positive but also daunting.