Coping with the transition
Transferring over from children’s to adult cancer services was always something I used to dread. It’s leaving behind a place you knew so well and knew you could trust, and all the friendly and familiar faces along with it. I found it really hard that once I turned a certain age, it felt like the hospital were just turfing me out to another hospital and I didn’t have any choice. It’s a very scary time. I transferred over just last December and I remember desperately asking anyone, who had experience with this hospital I was going to, to tell me what it was like. I was desperately seeking reassurance as I was going into a completely unfamiliar place. I was having to learn the routine of the new hospital and how everything works in an adult hospital. It’s quite different to children’s.
Being one of the youngest patients...
It does take quite a while to get used to the different surroundings and routines. I've been here a few months now and I’m still learning the ropes, and trying to get used to being pretty much the youngest there most of the time. That’s probably one of the hardest things I find with moving to adult services, that 80% of the time there’s mostly elderly people and not many people under the age of say 40.
The staff I find are mostly very friendly and the nurses tend to acknowledge that you’re the youngest there.
Getting used to a new consultant.
I found it a bit difficult getting used to my new consultant and that he was quite different to my old one, but I’m getting used to him now and he is very nice and approachable.
Will I still be able to have numbing cream/cold spray?
The downside is I find they’re very busy, especially during clinics (you can end up having to wait a while to be called, sometimes a few hours!), but sometimes everything can be a bit rushed and they might not have a lot of time for you and for example, to use numbing cream/spray when getting blood taken/ canulas put in. They might be able to get it for you if you ask, but it’s usually not something they go and do or ask you if you want any beforehand.
Keeping yourself occupied.
There’s no play specialist or services really for teens unfortunately to keep you occupied, like they have in children’s hospitals, so I’d advise bringing in stuff to keep yourself busy like colouring things or books etc.
Go into it with an open mind!
So what I would say is, change is hard, it’s not easy at all transitioning over but just go with an open mind and try not to worry too much and, sometimes, change can even end up being good. And eventually you’ll get used to it all and it won’t seem so scary and daunting.