Beth’s story – health insurance

Beth’s story – health insurance
Beth’s story – health insurance

After finding a lump in her breast, Beth, a project manager and busy mum of two, went to her local GP surgery to get checked over.

She was told the lump needed further examination, but there was a three to four-week wait for an appointment. Deciding she didn’t want to wait that long; Beth accessed her health insurance policy with The Exeter and made an appointment with a clinician for the following week.

Initial examination and diagnosis

During her initial appointment, Beth underwent a physical examination followed by a mammogram, ultrasound scan and a biopsy. At this stage, the clinicians were 90% certain the lump was cancerous but was treatable.

A week later, Beth received confirmation that she had an aggressive form of breast cancer. At this stage, her treatment plan was a course of chemotherapy and surgery followed by radiotherapy. As the cancer had been caught early, Beth was reassured that whilst there were difficult times ahead, she would make a recovery.

Further bad news

Following her initial consultation, Beth was sent for a computerised tomography (CT) scan, which revealed the cancer had spread.

“The scan showed the cancer had spread to numerous bones in my lower back, pelvis, ribs, sternum, liver and lungs. It also revealed I had fractured and collapsed vertebrae in my back and broken ribs.

The spread throughout my body meant the cancer was now classed as Stage 4 Breast Cancer. It was treatable but not curable, and I was told I would need palliative care from that point on.”

Treatment and side effects

Beth soon started her treatment which included a six-cycle course of chemotherapy, something she describes as “brutal.”

“It was everything you read about and dread. During treatment, I was hospitalised twice with neutropenic sepsis, caused by the chemotherapy. I also lost a lot of my hair and suffered nose bleeds, painful teeth, sore gums, tinnitus in my ears, and headaches. My eyes also got sore and blurry as my eyelashes and I parted company (it seems they’re not just there for mascara!!).

Chemotherapy made everything ache, made me feel sick, and changed my appetite. The biggest challenge, however, was fatigue. I was beyond exhausted. I lost count of how many times I felt too tired to move to get the drink I knew I wanted and needed.

I still suffer from fatigue and nausea and plan my time so that I’m not doing too much and have time to rest to get through the day. I’m also on hormone suppression drugs which have thrown me into chemical menopause. Despite everything, the main thing is I’m still here and able to interact with my children and see them grow.”

The value of health insurance

“Cancer is like an uninvited, unexpected, and unrelenting juggernaut that rips through your life. and having health insurance has helped limit some of the impact.

Since my diagnosis, I have received fast and exceptionally good care through my insurance. I have had the same oncologist throughout, which has made life a lot easier, and it’s taken care of all the scans I have needed. It’s also provided my chemotherapy sessions and ongoing
treatment, which has largely been home-based.

The Exeter arranged for a cold cap machine to be installed in my house (which helps to reduce hair loss), and on the day of my chemotherapy, a nurse would come and set everything up and give me their undivided attention throughout.

I also have contact details for a cancer nurse specialist and a dedicated point of contact for questions regarding my claim. This means I can speak to someone who knows my case, so I don’t have to explain things every time I call.”

Making time for those that matter

“My health insurance has made a huge difference to me and my family. Before my diagnosis, life was busy. It’s only now I realise how much I took for granted.

Having some of my chemotherapy at home meant I could spend more time with my children. It also meant I didn’t have to juggle hospital appointments with childcare and school arrangements allowing the family to carry on as normal whilst I had my treatment.

My son plays football, whilst my daughter loves rainbows and unicorns. Not having to travel to and from the hospital on chemo days or spend time sitting in waiting rooms meant that when I had the energy, I could play with them and read them bedtime stories, which, when you know your time is limited, means the absolute world.”

You matter more

To find out more about health insurance from The Exeter why not book an online product briefing with one of our team. (https://www.the-exeter.com/adviser/knowledge-centre/online-product-briefing/)

You can also download a PDF version of Beth’s story to share with your colleagues or clients here.

Please note that the member’s identity has been anonymised at their request.