I share a house in Harold’s Cross, Dublin, and we are all on the move by 7am. I drive up along the canal and make it to the office in good time.
I catch up with emails and link in with the urology nurses. I head the nurse-led side-effects clinic at St James’s for men diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The clinic was set up in response to a 2011 survey of prostate cancer survivors which found a significant number were not prepared for and had difficulty coping with, the severity of the physical and emotional side-effects of their treatment.
I check patients’ surgery dates. A lot of my time is spent talking to patients, providing information on treatment options such as surgery or radiotherapy.
It’s important to give them the opportunity to ask questions following a diagnosis. A post-diagnosis treatment plan ranging from pre-surgery to post-surgery is put in place so they feel supported.
I return a call to a patient struggling with incontinence. Erectile dysfunction also causes stress. I tell him about a peer-to- peer support group. Sharing experiences can help others to make a decision on the treatment to choose.
I drop into the consultant’s clinic where the discussion is around diagnosis and treatment. I talk to patients afterwards and try to address any outstanding queries.
I have lunch with the urology nurses.
I make follow-up calls to patients a week after diagnosis to see if they have decided on a course of treatment. I advise them that the Irish Cancer Society can put them in touch with men who have undergone treatment. The ICS co-funds the clinic at St James’s along with the Movember Foundation.
I phone a patient who had surgery six weeks ago. He is concerned about leaking urine. I refer him to the local physiotherapist for help. Post-surgery, the cancer may be under control but the side-effects can be cruel and my role is to help make sure the men are living and not just existing.
I head for the gym. At the weekends, I tend to head home to Tipperary.
* Mary Cremin, care, advice, support and education nurse with focus on prostate cancer at St James’s Hospital.
For more information on Movember see www.ie.movember.com