We found that things went much better once we had linked up with local resources.
We already had strong bonds with our church, where we had been members for some years. Regardless of what you believe, it is worth linking up with a local church. This is the place where you can be helped to sort out in your own mind what will happen at death, and we all need to come to terms with that at some stage. Better to be looking into that sooner rather than later. Once you, your wife, and your family know where you stand on that crucial issue the peace of mind that will follow will make a great difference to your cancer journey. A friend of ours has written a short leaflet for use at a funeral, but it is best read well before then. I hope you may find it helpful - you can read it here. My son’s talk at Abigail’s funeral goes into greater detail - you can watch it here, or read the text here.
If you don’t have a link to a supportive local church drop me an e-mail with your postcode, and we will see if we can recommend one for your area.
There is lots of useful information and advice here at Cancerbackup and here at Macmillan Cancer Support.
Make contact with your local Hospice early on - ours arranged for someone to phone regularly with advice, or just to keep in touch. There came a point when we were going regularly for lymphoedema massage to one of the hospice therapists. In the later stages of Abigail’s illness they provided some home nursing support, and she was finally admitted there. It was helpful that they already knew her before their full services were required. If you need to find a Hospice for your area there is a directory here. Please don’t think that they are just for the last few days - they can give you support and advice from diagnosis onwards, and it is well worth being ‘in the system’ at an early stage.
The hospital we attended had liaison nurses who advised on two things we did not think we needed, but were soon grateful that they had helped to arrange in good time! As the side effects of chemotherapy affected Abigail’s feet, and hence her ability to walk, we were very glad of a disabled parking permit. These are obtained from your local council, and you can find the contact point here. You may be entitled to Attendance Allowance, which we found helpful as a contribution to the extra costs involved in looking after my wife. The details are here. Our liaison nurse was able to sign a key section of the form, which made the whole application process much easier, and saved filling in lots of tedious details!