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Talking to Shirley could help you cope with the financial cost of cancer

Shirley blog pic (FINAL)Shirley Melly has been a Macmillan Welfare Benefits Adviser for over three years.

She explains how Macmillan grants and welfare benefits advice can help people cope with the financial pressures caused by cancer.

What sort of money worries can follow a cancer diagnosis?

Cancer just isn’t something people can plan or save for, and so many people who come to see me have nothing more to support them than statutory sick pay.

The reality is that when it comes to the cost of travelling to cancer treatment, eating healthy food to help you recover, or affording to put your heating on, £89 of statutory sick pay doesn’t go very far.

A lot of people who are of working age may also have young families to support, or mortgages still to pay.  Any loss of work income can leave them feeling like they simply can’t afford to be ill.

The emotional stress caused by money worries, at a time when many people are already at their most vulnerable, simply doesn’t bear thinking about.

It is a privilege to be able to play a part in relieving just some of it, either through welfare benefits advice, or providing individual Macmillan grants where needed.

What are the most common areas of Macmillan grant support?

There are the costs of getting to treatment.  Or the cost of new clothes because of the drastic changes in people’s weight or body shape that can follow it.

Macmillan grants are there to help people meet the wide range of urgent costs created by cancer.

Without a doubt, most people apply for a Macmillan grant to help them cover their heating bills.

While it might be more obvious during the winter – especially after the heavy snows we’ve recently had in Wales – people recovering from cancer treatment can often feel the cold all year round.

I can’t think of anything worse.

Imagine trying to recover from the pain of surgery, chemo or radiotherapy – all while shivering at home because you are too worried about money to put the heating on for just a little bit of physical comfort.

How can people who need support get in touch?

I work alongside various clinics in the Macmillan Chemotherapy Unit at Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr, but there will be someone like me in your area of Wales as well.

Most people come to me after being referred by other health professionals – it is so important that people with cancer are made aware of what we can do to help them.

I would recommend that anyone with cancer asks for financial advice as early as possible.  Your health professional should be able to help you.

People can also find their local benefits advisers by visiting the ‘in my area’ of macmillan.org.uk.

MCS_Grants infographic_Wales_English_awWhat level of support can you offer people affected by cancer?

Our welfare benefits advice service is free and confidential not only for people with cancer, but also their families.

Most people diagnosed with cancer have never applied for benefits.  They don’t know where to start when it comes to the benefits they are entitled to because of their illness.

The welfare benefits system is also becoming increasingly complex, so we are here to help people affected by cancer to navigate it.

Everyone who comes to us has different needs, and we can advise and assist with applications on a wide range of health-related welfare benefits.

I can help people apply for things like Employment and Support Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance and Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefits.

We also cover all means-tested benefits such as Housing and Council Tax Benefit, Guarantee Pension Credit, Income Support and Universal Credit.

There really should be no stigma or shame about asking for help.

Cancer can have a huge impact on people’s finances and we are here to help people find out what support they are entitled to.

What advice would you give someone affected by cancer?

Whether you think you qualify or not, my advice would always be to get in touch with a Macmillan adviser.

I would also say that the earlier you get in touch the better.

For most people, once they come to terms with their diagnosis, money quickly becomes the next biggest worry.

If left unmanaged financial pressures can build up quickly, and the stress it causes does nothing to improve people’s recovery or quality of life.

We are always here.  We’ll be with you throughout the entire process.

If you need financial support please visit http://www.macmillan.org.uk where you can search for your local welfare benefits services, or call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00.

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Gallai siarad â Shirley eich helpu i ymdopi â chost ariannol canser

Shirley blog pic (FINAL)Mae Shirley Melly wedi bod yn Gynghorydd Budd-daliadau Lles Macmillan ers dros dair blynedd.

Yma, mae’n egluro sut y gall cyngor grantiau a budd-daliadau lles Macmillan helpu pobl i ymdopi â’r pwysau ariannol y mae canser yn ei achosi.

Pa fath o bryderon ariannol all ddod yn sgil diagnosis o ganser?

Dyw canser ddim yn rhywbeth y gall pobl gynllunio neu gynilo ar ei gyfer, a does gan lawer iawn o’r bobl sy’n dod i’m gweld ddim mwy na thâl salwch statudol i’w cynorthwyo.

Pan fo angen talu costau teithio ar gyfer eich triniaeth am ganser, bwyta bwyd iach i’ch helpu i wella, neu fforddio rhoi’r gwres ymlaen, y gwirionedd syml yw nad yw £89 o dâl salwch statudol yn mynd yn bell iawn.

Mae’n bosibl hefyd y bydd gan lawer o bobl sydd o oedran gweithio deuluoedd ifanc i’w cefnogi, neu forgeisi i’w talu. Gall colli unrhyw incwm gwaith beri iddynt deimlo na allant, yn syml iawn, fforddio bod yn sâl.

Mae’n hynod o ddigalon meddwl am y straen emosiynol y mae pryderon ariannol yn ei achosi, ar adeg pan mae llawer o bobl eisoes ar eu mwyaf bregus.

Mae’n fraint gallu chwarae fy rhan i leddfu rhywfaint ar hynny, boed drwy roi cyngor ar fudd-daliadau lles neu drwy ddarparu grantiau Macmillan unigol lle bo angen.

Beth yw’r meysydd mwyaf cyffredin y darperir cymorth grant Macmillan ar eu cyfer?

Ceir costau ynghlwm â chyrraedd y man lle rydych yn cael triniaeth. Neu gost dillad newydd oherwydd y newidiadau sylweddol y gall y driniaeth honno eu hachosi i bwysau neu siâp y corff.

Mae grantiau Macmillan yno i gynorthwyo pobl i dalu’r ystod eang o gostau brys y mae canser yn eu hachosi.

Yn ddi-os, mae’r rhan fwyaf o bobl yn gwneud cais am grant Macmillan er mwyn eu cynorthwyo i dalu eu biliau gwresogi.

Er y gall fod yn fwy amlwg yn ystod y gaeaf – ac yn enwedig wedi’r eira trwm a gawsom yn ddiweddar yng Nghymru – gall pobl sy’n gwella o driniaeth am ganser yn aml deimlo’n oer trwy gydol y flwyddyn.

Allaf fi ddim meddwl am unrhyw beth gwaeth.

Dychmygwch geisio gwella o boen llawdriniaeth, cemo neu radiotherapi – a chithau’n rhynnu gartref oherwydd eich bod chi’n pryderu gormod am arian i allu rhoi’r gwres ymlaen er mwyn cael tipyn o gysur corfforol.

Sut gall pobl sydd angen cymorth gysylltu?

Rydw i’n gweithio ochr yn ochr ag amrywiol glinigau yn Uned Gemotherapi Macmillan yn Ysbyty’r Tywysog Siarl ym Merthyr, ond bydd yna rywun fel fi yn eich ardal chithau o Gymru hefyd.

Daw’r rhan fwyaf o bobl ataf wedi iddynt gael eu cyfeirio gan weithwyr iechyd proffesiynol eraill – mae’n bwysig iawn fod pobl â chanser yn cael gwybod beth y gallwn ei wneud i’w cynorthwyo.

Byddwn i’n argymell i unrhyw un sydd â chanser ofyn am gymorth ariannol cyn gynted â phosibl. Dylai eich gweithiwr iechyd proffesiynol allu eich helpu.

Gall pobl hefyd ganfod eu cynghorwyr budd-daliadau lleol drwy fynd i’r adran ‘in my area’ ar macmillan.org.uk.

MCS_Grants infographic_Wales_Welsh_awPa lefel o gymorth allwch chi ei rhoi i bobl y mae canser yn effeithio arnynt?

Mae ein gwasanaeth cyngor budd-daliadau lles am ddim ac yn gyfrinachol, ac mae ar gael nid yn unig i bobl sydd â chanser, ond i’w teuluoedd hefyd.

Dyw’r rhan fwyaf o bobl sy’n cael diagnosis o ganser erioed wedi gwneud cais am fudd-daliadau. Ni wyddant sut i fynd ati i wneud cais am y budd-daliadau y maent yn gymwys i’w derbyn oherwydd eu salwch.

Mae’r system budd-daliadau lles yn datblygu i fod yn fwyfwy cymhleth hefyd, felly rydyn ni yma i gynorthwyo pobl y mae canser yn effeithio arnynt i ymwneud â’r system.

Mae gan bawb sy’n dod atom anghenion gwahanol, a gallwn gynghori a chynorthwyo â cheisiadau am ystod eang o fudd-daliadau lles sy’n ymwneud ag iechyd.

Gallaf helpu pobl i wneud cais am bethau fel y Lwfans Cyflogaeth a Chymorth, y Taliad Annibyniaeth Personol, y Lwfans Gweini a’r Budd-dal Anabledd Anafiadau Diwydiannol.

Rydym hefyd yn cwmpasu’r holl fudd-daliadau sy’n ddibynnol ar brawf modd, megis Budd-dal Tai a’r Dreth Gyngor, Gwarant Credyd Pensiwn, Cymhorthdal Incwm a’r Credyd Cynhwysol.

Ni ddylai pobl deimlo unrhyw stigma na chywilydd wrth ofyn am gymorth.

Gall canser gael effaith aruthrol ar sefyllfa ariannol pobl ac rydym ni yma i helpu pobl ddarganfod pa gymorth y mae ganddynt hawl i’w gael.

Pa gyngor fyddech chi’n ei roi i rywun y mae canser yn effeithio arno?

Boed chi’n meddwl eich bod yn gymwys ai peidio, fy nghyngor i yw y dylech wastad gysylltu â chynghorydd Macmillan.

Byddwn hefyd yn dweud mai gorau po gyntaf y cysylltwch.

I’r rhan fwyaf o bobl, wedi iddynt ddod i delerau â’u diagnosis, eu pryder mawr nesaf, a hynny mewn dim o dro, fydd arian.

Os na chânt eu rheoli, gall pwysau ariannol gynyddu’n sydyn, gan achosi straen nad yw’n ddim lles o ran gwella adferiad pobl neu ansawdd eu bywydau.

Rydym ni wastad yma, a byddwn gyda chi drwy gydol y broses.

Os oes arnoch angen cymorth ariannol ewch i http://www.macmillan.org.uk, lle gallwch chwilio am eich gwasanaethau budd-daliadau lles lleol, neu ffoniwch Linell Gymorth Macmillan ar 0808 808 00 00.

“understanding your cancer care is just so important – it’s a way of taking control”

Helen blog pic 2Helen Thomas was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013.

As Macmillan Wales launches a new ‘Your Cancer Care’ tool, Helen explains how important it is to feel fully informed about your care and diagnosis.

On receiving a cancer diagnosis

It took several visits to my GP before I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

At first, I was told there was no reason to worry, but I trusted my instincts and asked to be referred.

I still remember the day.  There didn’t seem to be any great concern, I was relaxed, so I went to my consultant appointment on my own.

I found out that I had cancer with no-one around to support me.  It was the most difficult thing.

Thoughts on cancer care

I’ve experienced both sides of the coin.

After my initial diagnosis, I met an exceptional clinical nurse specialist from Macmillan.  She supported me, and left no stone unturned.  The care my family and I received was outstanding.

I felt truly safe in her care.

It didn’t stay that way.  I needed further treatment, my care was transferred and my experience was just not as positive or reassuring.

Yes, people were professional and caring, but there were just so many times that I felt left alone to sort things out for myself.

It was easy to start feeling like you were part of a process, a procedure rather than a person.

I saw different people at every appointment, I couldn’t identify which person I should turn to with my worries, and I had no formal care plan to help me understand what would happen next.

I certainly wasn’t made aware of the different kinds of support that could have been made available, like financial advice or counselling.

I desperately needed some of that support further down the line, but I had no idea how to access it.

It was a real gap in my care.

Shaping ‘Your Cancer Care in Wales’

I know just how important it is to understand your cancer diagnosis and care.

The worries I had through my cancer experience were much wider than just medical.  I worried about family, work, money – my emotions were all over the place.

If you at least understand your diagnosis, and are aware of the support that is available, then you can feel like you have some control over it all.

When Macmillan Wales asked me for my views on a new resource to help people understand their cancer care, I was more than happy to help shape it with some of my own experiences.

I hope the ‘Your Cancer Care in Wales’ resource will help people to understand their care, and to know what questions to ask to make sure they get the support they need.

I know I would have appreciated some of the advice the new tool contains.

I hope others can take some comfort from it now.

‘Your Cancer Care in Wales’ is available from:

www.macmillan.org.uk/cancercarewales

“mae hi mor bwysig eich bod chi’n deall eich gofal canser – mae’n fodd o reoli’r sefyllfa”

Helen blog pic 2Cafodd Helen Thomas ddiagnosis o ganser y fron yn 2013.

Wrth i Macmillan Cymru lansio adnodd newydd ‘Eich Gofal Canser’, mae Helen yn esbonio pa mor bwysig yw hi i deimlo bod gennych yr holl wybodaeth y mae arnoch ei hangen am eich gofal a’ch diagnosis.

Cael diagnosis o ganser

Bu’n rhaid imi ymweld â’r meddyg teulu sawl gwaith cyn cael y diagnosis o ganser y fron.

Ar y cychwyn, fe ddywedwyd wrthyf nad oedd rheswm imi bryderu, ond dilynais fy ngreddf a gofyn am gael fy atgyfeirio.

Rwy’n dal i gofio’r diwrnod hwnnw. Doedd dim pryder mawr, yn ôl pob golwg, ac roeddwn i’n teimlo’n eithaf ymlaciedig, felly fe es i’r apwyntiad gyda’r ymgynghorydd ar fy mhen fy hun.

Ces wybod bod gen i ganser heb neb o’m cwmpas i’m cefnogi. Dyna oedd y peth anoddaf.

Ei barn am ofal canser

Rwyf wedi cael profiad o’r naill ochr a’r llall.

Wedi fy niagnosis cychwynnol, cwrddais â nyrs glinigol arbenigol o Macmillan, ac roedd hi’n eithriadol. Bu’n gefn imi, ac yn hynod o drylwyr. Roedd y gofal a gafodd fy nheulu a finnau yn rhagorol.

Roeddwn i’n teimlo’n wirioneddol ddiogel yn ei gofal hi.

Ond nid felly y bu pethau wedyn. Roedd arna i angen rhagor o driniaeth, cafodd fy ngofal ei drosglwyddo a doedd fy mhrofiad i wedyn ddim mor gadarnhaol nac yn tawelu fy meddwl i’r un graddau.

Oedd, roedd pawb yn broffesiynol ac yn ofalgar, ond ar lawer iawn o adegau roeddwn i’n teimlo fy mod i wedi cael fy ngadael ar fy mhen fy hun i roi trefn ar bethau.

Peth rhwydd iawn oedd dechrau teimlo fel eich bod chi’n rhan o broses, o weithdrefn, yn hytrach nag yn berson.

Roeddwn i’n gweld gwahanol bobl ym mhob apwyntiad, wyddwn i ddim at bwy y dylwn i droi i leisio fy mhryderon, a doedd gen i ddim cynllun gofal ffurfiol i’m cynorthwyo i ddeall beth fyddai’n digwydd nesaf.

Chefais i’n sicr ddim gwybod am y gwahanol fathau o gymorth y gellid bod wedi eu darparu, megis cyngor ariannol, neu gwnsela.

Yn nes ymlaen, roedd taer angen peth o’r cymorth hwnnw arnaf, ond doedd gen i ddim syniad sut i gael gafael arno.

Roedd yn fwlch gwirioneddol yn fy ngofal i.

Siapio ‘Eich Gofal Canser yng Nghymru’  

Gwn yn union pa mor bwysig yw hi eich bod chi’n deall eich diagnosis o ganser a’ch gofal.

Roedd y pryderon oedd gennyf trwy gydol fy mhrofiad o ganser yn llawer ehangach na dim ond pryderon meddygol. Roeddwn i’n poeni am deulu, gwaith, arian – roedd fy emosiynau i’n gymysg i gyd.

Os ydych chi’n deall eich diagnosis, ac yn ymwybodol o’r gefnogaeth sydd ar gael, o leiaf wedyn byddwch yn teimlo fel bod gennych rywfaint o reolaeth dros y cyfan.

Pan ofynnodd Macmillan Cymru imi am fy safbwyntiau ar adnodd newydd i helpu pobl i ddeall eu gofal canser, roeddwn i’n fwy na pharod i helpu i’w siapio ar sail rhai o’m profiadau fy hun.

Rwy’n gobeithio y bydd yr adnodd ‘Eich Gofal Canser yng Nghymru’ yn helpu pobl i ddeall eu gofal, ac i wybod pa gwestiynau i’w gofyn er mwyn sicrhau eu bod yn cael y cymorth y mae arnynt ei angen.

Gwn y byddwn i wedi gwerthfawrogi peth o’r cyngor a geir yn yr adnodd newydd hwn.

Rwy’n gobeithio y bydd yn rhywfaint o gysur i bobl eraill o hyn ymlaen.

Mae ‘Eich Gofal Canser yng Nghymru’ ar gael o: 

www.macmillan.org.uk/gofalcansercymru

Professionals in Wales nominated for a Macmillan Innovation Award

We’re delighted to announce that Sharon Manning, Macmillan Gynaecology Clinical Nurse Specialist at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, and The Lymphoedema Network Wales Team under the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board are both finalists in the Macmillan Innovation Excellence Award category.

Clinical Nurse Specialist Sharon developed a pioneering service to improve the quality of life for women with ovarian cancer who are at the end of life.

Women with advanced ovarian cancer can suffer from a build-up of fluid from their abdomens, which can cause physical side effects such as breathlessness, loss of appetite and loss of physical ability.

After researching methods to help these patients, Sharon found out about the cutting-edge permanent catheters.

She pushed for funding and worked closely with colleagues in other areas to source these catheters and develop a life-changing service that allows patients to have the fluid drained more regularly from their abdomen at home.

Sharon Manning

 Sharon Manning, Macmillan Gynaecology Clinical Nurse Specialist

As well as dramatically improving the quality of life of patients, the innovative service has also saved at least £68,000 on hospital admissions. It is currently being rolled out in North Wales.

We went to meet Sharon, who explained how this service changes the lives of women in her care:

“For ovarian cancer patients, the effects of ascitic fluid build-up can be huge.

“The weight of the fluid is enormous, and people feel like their cancer is taking over their lives.

“When you’re repeatedly putting drains into patients in hospital, their skin in their abdomen becomes tougher, and it can become very painful for them.

“I thought, “There must be something better than this’, so I went away and did some research, and that’s where the idea came from.

“I was tenacious because, more than anything, I believed in this service,’ she adds.

“I wanted these ladies to have better quality care in their palliative stages. That’s what it’s all about.”

The Lymphoedema Network Wales Team have pioneered a microsurgical technique that can, in some instances, cure the symptoms of lymphoedema.

Lymphoedema is a long-term (chronic) condition that causes swelling of the body’s tissues. The most commonly known cause is due to cancer and/or its treatment.

The team have spearheaded the use of a procedure where lymphatics (small vessels) the size of a strand of hair are attached to a vein of a similar size in an effort to redirect flow of lymph fluid and stop congestion of fluid in the limb.

Research has indicated that the direct patient impact of the life-changing microsurgical technique is that 97% of patients are no longer at risk of cellulitis infections and up to 70% no longer need to wear compression garments.

The Lymphoedema Network Wales Team

 Featuring four members of the Lymphoedema Network Wales Team. From left to right, the team are: Melanie Thomas, National Clinical Lead for Lymphoedema in Wales, Cheryl Pike, National Macmillan Innovations Lymphoedema Specialist, Kathryn Hearn, Project Support Officer and Karen Morgan, National Lymphoedema Education and Research Lead in Wales

We spoke to Cheryl Pike, National Macmillan Innovations Lymphoedema Specialist in the team:

“Lymphoedema is not just a physical symptom; it can have huge psychological implications as well, especially if someone has had cancer treatment then lymphoedema for some people is a constant daily reminder of their cancer.

“It can cause reduced movement and having to wear a compression sleeve can be inconvenient, as the sleeve can get in the way.

“The impact that lymphoedema can have on people’s relationships, body image, and their ability to work is huge but we’re able to improve those things.

“Our interventions are making significant differences to people’s lives. Our patients tell us that they feel “normal” again – that they feel like the person they were pre-lymphoedema.

“We’re now able to give people hope which is just fantastic.”

The winners will be announced at the Excellence Awards ceremony at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Heathrow Hotel on Thursday 16 November.

We’re wishing the best of luck to Sharon and the lymphoedema team!

Enwebu gweithwyr proffesiynol yng Nghymru ar gyfer Gwobr Arloesi Macmillan

Daeth Sharon Manning, Nyrs Glinigol Gynaecoleg Arbenigol Macmillan Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Betsi Cadwaladr, a Thîm Rhwydwaith Lymffoedema Cymru Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Abertawe Bro Morgannwg i’r brig yn y categori Gwobr Rhagoriaeth Arloesol.

Datblygodd Sharon, Nyrs Glinigol Arbenigol, wasanaeth arloesol i wella ansawdd bywyd menywod sy’n dioddef o ganser yr ofari ac sydd ar ddiwedd eu hoes.

Gall menywod sy’n dioddef o ganser yn ei gyfnod olaf ddioddef yn sgil crynhoad o hylif o’u habdomen. Gall hyn achosi sgil-effeithiau fel diffyg anadl, diffyg archwaeth am fwyd a diffyg gallu corfforol.

Ar ôl ymchwilio i ddulliau i helpu’r cleifion hyn, daeth Sharon o hyd i wybodaeth am gathetrau parhaol o’r radd flaenaf.

Ymgyrchodd i gael arian a gweithiodd yn agos gyda chyd-weithwyr mewn meysydd eraill i gael hyd i’r cathetrau hyn a datblygu gwasanaeth arloesol fyddai’n caniatáu draenio’r hylif hwn yn fwy rheolaidd o abdomenau’r cleifion yn eu cartrefi.

Sharon Manning

 Sharon Manning, Nyrs Glinigol Gynaecoleg Arbenigol Macmillan

Ynghyd â gwella ansawdd bywyd cleifion yn ddramatig, mae’r gwasanaeth arloesol hefyd wedi arbed o leiaf £68,000 o ran derbyniadau i ysbytai. Mae’n cael ei gyflwyno’n raddol ar hyn o bryd yng ngogledd Cymru.

Aethom i gwrdd â Sharon, a esboniodd sut mae’r gwasanaeth yma yn newid bywydau’r menywod sydd yn ei gofal.

“I gleifion canser yr ofari, gall effeithiau crynhoad o hylif ascitig fod yn anferthol.

“Mae pwysau’r hylif yn enfawr ac mae pobl yn teimlo fel petai’r canser yn cymryd eu bywydau drosodd.

“Pan fyddwch chi’n gosod draeniau mewn cleifion drosodd a thro mewn ysbyty, mae’r croen yn eu habdomen yn mynd yn fwy caled a gall fynd yn boenus iawn iddyn nhw.

“Meddyliais, ‘Mae’n rhaid bod rhywbeth gwell na hyn’, felly euthum ati i wneud gwaith ymchwil a dyna lle cefais y syniad.

“Roeddwn yn benderfynol oherwydd, yn fwy na dim, roeddwn yn credu yn y gwasanaeth hwn,” ychwanegodd.

“Roeddwn am i’r menywod hyn gael gwell ansawdd gofal yn eu cyfnodau lliniarol. Dyna bwrpas yr holl beth.

“Roedd yn wych gweld ychydig o oleuni ac yna ei weld yn digwydd go iawn.”

Mae Tîm Rhwydwaith Lymffoedema Cymru wedi arloesi techneg feicrolawfeddygol a all, mewn rhai achosion, wella symptomau lymffoedema.

Mae lymffoedema yn gyflwr hirdymor (cronig) sy’n achosi i feinweoedd y corff chwyddo. Yr achos mwyaf cyffredin y gwyddys amdano yw canser a/neu’r driniaeth am ganser.

Mae’r tîm wedi hyrwyddo’r driniaeth lle mae lymffatigau (pibelli cul) maint blewyn o wallt yn cael eu rhoi ar wythïen o faint tebyg i geisio ailgyfeirio llif yr hylif lymff ac atal tagfa o hylif yn yr aelod o’r corff.

Dangosodd gwaith ymchwil mai effaith uniongyrchol y dechneg feicrolawfeddygol hon, sy’n newid bywyd claf, yw nad yw 97% o gleifion bellach mewn perygl o heintiau llid yr isgroen ac nad yw hyd at 70% ohonynt angen gwisgo dilledyn cywasgu bellach.

The Lymphoedema Network Wales Team

 Pedwar aelod o Dîm Rhwydwaith Lymphoedema Cymru. O’r chwith i’r dde: Melanie Thomas, Arweinydd Clinigol Cenedlaethol Lymphoedema yng Nghymru, Cheryl Pike, Arbenigwraig Lymphoedema Arloesol Cenedlaethol Macmillan, Kathryn Hearn, Swyddog Cefnogi Prosiect a Karen Morgan, Arweinydd Addysg ac Ymchwil Lymphoedema Cenedlaethol yng Nghymru

Buom yn siarad gyda Cheryl Pike, Arbenigwraig Arloesi Lymffoedema Genedlaethol Macmillan, sy’n rhan o’r tîm.

“Nid symptom corfforol yn unig yw lymffoedema; gall gael goblygiadau seicolegol anferthol hefyd, yn arbennig os bydd rhywun wedi cael triniaeth am ganser. I rai pobl, mae lymffoedema yn atgoffa rhywun yn ddyddiol am eu canser.

“Gall achosi diffyg symudiadau a gall gorfod gwisgo llawes gywasgu fod yn anghyfleus gan y gall hon fod yn rhwystr.

“Mae’r effaith y gall lymffoedema ei chael ar berthynas pobl, delwedd y corff a’u gallu i weithio yn anferthol, ond gallwn wella’r rhain.

“Mae ein hymyriadau yn gwneud gwahaniaeth sylweddol i fywydau pobl. Dywed ein cleifion wrthym eu bod yn teimlo’n ‘normal’ eto – eu bod yn teimlo fel y person oedden nhw cyn y lymffoedema.

“Rydyn ni’n awr yn gallu rhoi gobaith i bobl – mae hyn yn wych.”

Cyhoeddir yr enillwyr yn y seremoni Gwobrau Rhagoriaeth yng Ngwesty Radisson Blu Edwardian Heathrow ddydd Iau 16 Tachwedd.

Dymunwn bob lwc i Sharon a’r tîm lymffoedema!

Thomas, chemo and me…

thomas-chemo-and-meWhen Becky Thomas tweeted that her cat Thomas had helped her through her chemotherapy treatment on #worldcatday, we needed to find out more. Here, Becky, who was diagnosed with colerectal cancer with metastatic spread to her liver in 2015, tells how a black and white cat called Thomas has helped her through difficult times:

You said that Thomas had helped you through “some tough chemo sessions”?  How did he help you?

During my chemo my friends and family had developed a rota so that I would have someone with me most of the time! most of my friends work shifts and so it wasn’t always possible for someone to be with me and that’s when Thomas stepped in!

He wouldn’t go outside and was always ‘cwtched’ up to me. His fur is soft and comforting like a teddy bear and his body heat would replace the need for a hot water bottle which helped ease the discomfort of the neuropathy in my hands and feet.

What did spending time with Thomas give you that spending time with people didn’t?

I love my family and friends they have been so amazing through this whole journey, but my time spent with Thomas was peaceful and quiet. No ‘drink this’ ‘eat that’ ‘don’t do that’, I know they cared and they felt like they were helping. His purring just mesmerised me it soothed me and helped me to relax. Both of us content in each other’s company

thomas and his smart new dickie bow

Because of your cancer you had to undergo surgery and sometimes it was painful to have Thomas on you. Do you think he began to reaslise that he had to act differently while you healed, or did he have to be reminded?

Thomas is such a loving cat and sometimes he just can’t get close enough to you! So he would need constant reminding that he couldn’t lay on my stomach but he would quickly find another little part of me where he could curl up.

Does Thomas behave any differently towards you now?

I guess he does, I am the only one he will allow to pick him up to cuddle him. He rests his paws on my shoulder and I nurse him like a baby!!

Thomas found you didn’t he? Tell us how he come into your life?

Before Thomas we had a cat called LuLu. She was a grumpy old cat and wasn’t really a people person, but we loved her all the same. One day Thomas appeared in our back garden. He looked cared for and so we just though he was a local passing through.

Over the weeks he would be spotted in the garden more frequently but would often be chased away by LuLu! We started to leave little titbits for him as he would stare through the backdoor watching LuLu eating and he looked a bit lost. LuLu was old and frail and day by day was fading, sadly we had to take LuLu to the vets to be put  to sleep.

Thomas was still paying us regular visits and eventually we decided we would take him in! He is such a character and has a wonderful way of letting us know what he wants/needs, for example if he wants to go out he will jump up in front of the TV and sit there until one of us gets up and then he leads us to the back door! Im certain he talks to us too!!

And the tough one… in three words… what did Thomas mean to you / give you when you were undergoing your treatments for cancer?

He’s MY BEST FRIEND!

Thomas, chemo a fi…

thomas-chemo-and-me-welshPan wnaeth Becky Thomas drydar bod ei chath Thomas wedi ei helpu drwy ei thriniaeth chemotherapi ar #ddiwrnodcathodybyd, roedd angen canfod mwy. Yma, mae Becky, gafodd ddiagnosis o ganser y colon a’r rhefr gyda lledaeniad metastatig i’w iau yn 2015, yn dweud sut mae cath ddu a gwyn o’r enw Thomas wedi ei helpu drwy gyfnodau anodd:

Dywedasoch fod Thomas wedi eich helpu trwy “sesiynau chemo anodd” Sut gwnaeth Thomas eich helpu chi?

Yn ystod fy nhriniaeth chemo, datblygodd fy ffrindiau a’m teulu rota er mwyn sicrhau bod rhywun gyda fi y rhan fwyaf o’r amser! Mae’r rhan fwyaf o fy ffrindiau’n gweithio sifftiau ac felly nid oedd bob amser yn bosibl i rywun fod gyda mi a dyna’r adegau yr oedd Thomas yn camu i mewn! Ni fyddai’n mynd allan ac roedd bob amser yn ‘cwtsho’ i fyny ataf. Mae ei ffwr mor feddal a chysurus fel tedi bêr a byddai gwres ei gorff yn dileu’r angen am botel dŵr poeth oedd yn helpu i leddfu anesmwythdra’r niwropathi yn fy nwylo a’m traed.

Beth roddodd treulio cymaint o amser gyda Thomas i chi nad yw treulio amser gyda phobl yn gallu ei wneud?

Rwy’n caru fy ffrindiau ac maent wedi bod yn anhygoel yn ystod y daith, ond roedd fy amser gyda Thomas yn heddychlon ac yn dawel. Dim ‘yfa hwn’ ‘bwyta hwn’ ‘paid gwneud hynna’, rwy’n gwybod eu bod yn poeni ac yn teimlo eu bod yn helpu. Roedd ei ganu grwndi’n fy swyno ac yn fy esmwytho ac yn fy helpu i ymlacio. Mae’r ddau ohonom yn hapus yng nghwmni’n gilydd

thomas and his smart new dickie bow

Oherwydd eich canser roedd yn rhaid i chi gael llawdriniaeth ac weithiau roedd yn boenus cael Thomas yn gorwedd arnoch. Ydych chi’n credu iddo sylweddoli bod yn rhaid iddo ymddwyn yn wahanol tra’ch bod yn gwella, neu a oedd rhaid ei atgoffa? Mae Thomas yn gath mor gariadus ac weithiau mae eisiau bod mor agos â phosibl atoch! Felly byddai angen ei atgoffa’n barhaus nad oedd yn gallu gorwedd ar fy stumog ond byddai’n dod o hyd i ran arall ohonof lle gallai orwedd yn gyflym iawn.

A yw Thomas yn ymddwyn yn wahanol tuag atoch chi nawr?

Mae’n siŵr ei fod, fi yw’r unig berson all ei godi a’i gwtsho. Mae’n gorffwys ei bawennau ar fy ysgwydd ac rwy’n ei nyrsio fel babi!!

Thomas wnaeth ddod o hyd i chi? Dywedwch sut y daeth i mewn i’ch bywyd?

Cyn Thomas roedd gennym gath o’r enw LuLu. Roedd yn hen gath sarrug ac nid oedd yn hoffi pobl, ond roeddem yn ei charu’r un peth. Un diwrnod, ymddangosodd Thomas yn ein gardd gefn. Roedd yn edrych fel petai wedi cael gofal felly roeddem yn credu mai pasio heibio ydoedd.

Dros yr wythnosau byddai’n cael ei weld yn yr ardd yn amlach ond byddai LuLu’n aml yn ei erlid! Fe wnaethom ddechrau gadael darnau o fwyd iddo am y byddai’n syllu drwy’r drws cefn yn gwylio LuLu’n bwyta ac roedd yn edrych ar goll braidd. Roedd LuLu’n hen ac yn eiddil ac yn pylu’n ddyddiol. Tristwch mawr oedd gorfod mynd â LuLu at y milfeddyg i’w rhoi i gysgu.

Roedd Thomas yn dal i ymweld â ni yn rheolaidd ac yn y pen draw, fe wnaethom benderfynu y byddem yn rhoi cartref iddo! Mae’n gymaint o gymeriad ac mae ganddo ffordd wych o roi gwybod i ni beth yw ei anghenion, er enghraifft os yw eisiau mynd allan bydd yn neidio o flaen y teledu ac yn eistedd yno nes bod un ohonom yn codi ac yna mae’n ein harwain at y drws cefn! Rwy’n sicr ei fod yn siarad â ni hefyd!!

A’r cwestiwn anodd… mewn tri gair… beth oedd Thomas yn ei olygu i chi / ei roi i chi pan oeddech yn cael eich triniaethau am ganser?

Fe yw FY FFRIND GORAU!

 

Primary Care’s important role in cancer services

by Dr Clifford Jones, Macmillan National GP Lead Wales

I’m a GP, with a practice in Ebbw Vale and for the last few years I’ve been involved with initiatives that look at the role of primary care in cancer services.  Ten years ago not many people would consider primary care to play a major role to play in cancer services but the disease has changed.  Nowadays many people who are diagnosed with cancer are living with their disease as a long term condition and they need support out in their communities.

As well as providing long term support we also have a part to play in securing an early diagnosis for our patients and making sure they start their treatment plan as quickly as possible.  That’s how we can help save lives.

Cancer is changing, society is changing and the NHS is changing.  We are all aware of the increasing pressures facing the NHS and I’m reminded of the pressures on a daily basis – at my own practice, within my wider Health Board and by regular headlines in the media.

The media tell us we’re in crisis.  We agree, and we tell each other we’re in crisis.  Our patients worry because we’re in crisis.  But what do we mean and what are we going to do about it?

A crisis is a time of intense difficulty when important decisions need to be made.  If these decisions are not handled correctly the crisis can turn into a catastrophe.  Decisions we make now will have great and long lasting impacts.  Money is short so we need different tools to respond to our crisis situation.

dr cliff jones

Stoic philosophers believe that we become wiser by adversity.  During times of relative prosperity we get on with our work, we look after our patients, addressing problems as they arise, solving our issues, moving on.  When times are good we don’t choose to stop, take a good look and consider new ways of solving problems.  But when the pressure’s on and we have no choice, this is often the time of new ideas, innovation, collective momentum and an appetite for change.

I’ve been working with a team of GPs and Nurses on the Macmillan Framework for Cancer in Primary Care programme for the last 12 months.  During this time I’ve met many like minded colleagues from primary, secondary and tertiary care who all have the same goals in mind.  We want to make it very clear to all primary care professionals that they have an important role to play in delivering cancer services to the people of Wales.

We want to tackle those long established challenges of better integrating cancer services, and communication, between primary and secondary care.  It makes sense, it’s do-able and from what I’m seeing we’ve now got a very real opportunity to make it happen.

We’re also backed up by policy.  The Cancer Delivery Plan for Wales 2016 to 2020 talks about the importance of post treatment support and helping people to feel better supported once their acute treatment ends.  It recognises the important role of primary care to provide this support in the community and the importance of making sure that we all signpost our patients to the network of support that exists locally, whether it’s through our practice, from patient self-help groups or third sector support.

As part of the Macmillan Framework for Cancer in Primary Care we are starting to build a Framework of cancer resources for primary care.  The Framework will be available online to all primary care professionals and you can use it in whatever way you find useful for you and your practice.  Its content will be assessed and evaluated by an expert panel but we will consistently ask you what you find useful and what you don’t.  Your feedback and input will help to shape the Framework in the long term.

The Framework will cover all aspects of cancer services and is designed to be a valuable go-to resource for any primary care professional who needs information, resources, advice or anything else to help them provide the best cancer service for their patient.  We will be working on it with you, taking your advice on what you find useful and what you don’t.  You’ll be able to engage through a variety of channels, from online through to arranging to meet up with one of the team.

The Framework will go live in the Autumn of this year.

Dr Clifford Jones

Rôl bwysig Gofal Sylfaenol mewn gwasanaethau canser

Rwy’n feddyg teulu mewn meddygfa yng Nglynebwy, ac ers ychydig flynyddoedd bellach rwyf wedi bod yn rhan o fentrau sy’n edrych ar rôl gofal sylfaenol mewn gwasanaethau canser.  Ddeng mlynedd yn ôl, ni fyddai llawer o bobl yn ystyried bod gofal sylfaenol yn chwarae rhan amlwg mewn gwasanaethau canser, ond mae’r afiechyd wedi newid. Heddiw, mae llawer o bobl sy’n cael diagnosis o ganser yn byw gyda’u hafiechyd fel cyflwr tymor hir, ac mae arnynt angen cefnogaeth yn eu cymunedau.

Yn ogystal â darparu cefnogaeth hirdymor, mae gennym hefyd ran i’w chwarae wrth sicrhau diagnosis cynnar i’n cleifion a gwneud yn siŵr eu bod yn dechrau ar eu cynllun triniaeth cyn gynted â phosibl. Dyna sut gallwn helpu i achub bywydau.

Mae canser yn newid, mae cymdeithas yn newid ac mae’r GIG yn newid. Rydym oll yn ymwybodol o’r pwysau cynyddol sy’n wynebu’r GIG, a chaf fy atgoffa o’r pwysau hynny yn ddyddiol – yn fy meddygfa fy hun, o fewn fy Mwrdd Iechyd yn ehangach a chan benawdau rheolaidd yn y cyfryngau.

Dywed y cyfryngau wrthym ei bod yn argyfwng arnom. Rydym yn cytuno, ac yn dweud wrth ein gilydd ei bod yn argyfwng arnom. Mae ein cleifion yn bryderus oherwydd ei bod yn argyfwng arnom. Ond beth ydym ni’n ei olygu wrth ddweud hyn, a beth ydym ni’n mynd i’w wneud i fynd i’r afael â’r sefyllfa?

Mae argyfwng yn gyfnod hynod o anodd, a bydd angen gwneud penderfyniadau pwysig. Os nad ymdrinnir â’r penderfyniadau hyn yn iawn, gall yr argyfwng droi’n drychineb. Bydd y penderfyniadau a wnawn yn awr yn cael effeithiau mawr, hirdymor. Mae arian yn brin felly mae arnom angen canfod ffyrdd gwahanol o ymateb i’n sefyllfa argyfyngus.

dr cliff jones

Mae athronwyr stoicaidd yn credu bod adfyd yn ein gwneud ni’n fwy doeth. Yn ystod cyfnodau cymharol ffyniannus byddwn yn parhau â’n gwaith, yn gofalu am ein cleifion, yn mynd i’r afael â materion pan fyddant yn codi, gan ddatrys ein problemau a symud ymlaen. Pan fydd pethau’n dda, fyddwn ni ddim yn dewis oedi, edrych o’n cwmpas ac ystyried ffyrdd newydd o ddatrys problemau. Ond pan fydd pwysau arnom, ac nad oes dewis gennym, dyma’n aml yr adeg ar gyfer syniadau newydd, arloesi, momentwm ar y cyd ac awydd i newid.

Rwyf wedi bod yn gweithio gyda thîm o feddygon teulu a nyrsys ar raglen Fframwaith Macmillan ar gyfer Canser mewn Gofal Sylfaenol dros y 12 mis diwethaf. Yn ystod y cyfnod hwn rwyf wedi cwrdd â llawer o gyd-weithwyr o’r un meddylfryd â mi ym maes gofal sylfaenol, eilaidd a thrydyddol, a’r un amcanion sydd gennym oll. Mae arnom eisiau ei gwneud hi’n hynod o glir i’r holl weithwyr proffesiynol ym maes gofal sylfaenol bod ganddynt rôl bwysig i’w chwarae wrth ddarparu gwasanaethau canser i bobl Cymru.

Mae arnom eisiau mynd i’r afael â heriau integreiddio gwasanaethau canser, a chyfathrebu, yn well rhwng gofal sylfaenol a gofal eilaidd – heriau sy’n bodoli ers tro byd. Mae’n gwneud synnwyr, mae’n bosibl ei gyflawni ac, o’r hyn a welaf ar hyn o bryd, mae gennym gyfle gwirioneddol yn awr i’w wireddu.

Mae gennym hefyd bolisi i’n cefnogi. Mae Cynllun Cyflawni ar gyfer Canser Cymru 2016 i 2020 yn sôn am bwysigrwydd cefnogaeth ar ôl triniaeth a helpu pobl i deimlo bod ganddynt fwy o gefnogaeth wedi i’w triniaeth acíwt ddod i ben. Mae’n cydnabod rôl bwysig gofal sylfaenol yn darparu’r gefnogaeth hon yn y gymuned a phwysigrwydd sicrhau ein bod oll yn cyfeirio ein cleifion at y rhwydwaith cymorth sydd ar gael yn lleol, boed hynny drwy ein meddygfeydd, drwy grwpiau hunangymorth i gleifion neu drwy gefnogaeth y trydydd sector.

Yn rhan o Fframwaith Macmillan ar gyfer Canser mewn Gofal Sylfaenol, rydym yn dechrau creu Fframwaith o adnoddau canser ar gyfer gofal sylfaenol. Bydd y Fframwaith ar gael ar-lein i’r holl weithwyr proffesiynol gofal sylfaenol a gallwch wneud pa ddefnydd bynnag ohono sy’n ddefnyddiol i chi a’ch meddygfa. Bydd ei gynnwys yn cael ei asesu a’i werthuso gan banel arbenigol ond byddwn yn gofyn ichi’n gyson beth sy’n ddefnyddiol ac nad ydyw o ddefnydd yn eich barn chi. Bydd eich adborth a’ch mewnbwn yn gymorth i lywio’r Fframwaith yn y tymor hir.

Bydd y Fframwaith yn cwmpasu pob agwedd ar wasanaethau canser ac fe’i cynlluniwyd i fod yn adnodd gwerthfawr y gall holl weithwyr proffesiynol maes gofal sylfaenol droi ato am wybodaeth, adnoddau, cyngor neu unrhyw beth arall i’w cynorthwyo i roi’r gwasanaeth canser gorau i’w cleifion. Byddwn yn gweithio arno gyda chi, gan ddilyn eich cyngor ar yr hyn sy’n ddefnyddiol yn eich barn chi, a’r hyn nad ydyw o ddefnydd. Gallwch ymwneud â’r broses drwy amrywiaeth o ddulliau, o gyswllt ar-lein hyd at drefnu cwrdd ag un o’r tîm.

Bydd y Fframwaith yn weithredol yn yr hydref eleni.

Dr Clifford Jones