In Carers Week 2023, we thank Kaynath Rahman for an insight into her life looking after her grandmother who has breast cancer, while working on her own life goals. Kaynath is part of our community of Patient Partners who help the North Central London Cancer Alliance make improvements in treatment and care for people, and their families and carers, living with cancer.
“I became a carer for my maternal grandmother in 2019 when she was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer. I am currently a BSc Children’s Nursing student. Sometimes I have to miss university lectures due to looking after my grandmother. At first, I was nervous about doing this. I’m severely dyslexic and really prefer to be present and learning within the lectures. But I’m grateful for having senior lecturers who are understanding, and they have all been kind and supportive! They tell me to email them or go to their office if I have any questions about missed lectures.
“I have to plan my clinical placement off days to make sure I am not missing my grandmother’s treatments, like her radiotherapy or mammograms. I have my own health issues which can flare up and are difficult to manage. This means that sometimes I arrive late to appointments. Fortunately, the majority of my grandmother’s health team have been so understanding about my situation.
“I haven’t received any carer support. I do wish that there was some financial support as I need to pay for the taxi from my house to my grandmother’s, and then to the hospital and back again. It is quite expensive, especially living in London and having to get to and from appointments at major London hospitals.
“Being a carer has made me more aware of my South Asian culture and the taboo subjects and cultural misunderstandings about breast cancer. Being a carer has helped me understand how I can help my grandmother in a personalised way – doing what she feels is good for her and what she feels happy and comfortable with.”