Lyn’s Story

Lyn Pauling, 68 yrs old, wife of Steve, Mother of 4 adult children, 8 Grandchildren. Born and bred in Leeton. Retired now but used to be a cleaner at the local boarding school. Lyn is a pensioner.

First diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2017. Diagnosed in Leeton. After developing fluid on the lungs Lyn was flown to St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney by the RFDS where she stayed for 3 months. Steve drove back and forth to Sydney (over 1,000 kms return) some 4 or 5 times over this period. Steve spent several weeks in accommodation (both commercial and not for profit).

When Lyn returned to Leeton, she needed to continue chemotherapy treatment at Griffith where she continued going every 8 weeks for the next two years. With no NFP facility she drove back and forth each day.

Several months ago, Lyn received a skin cancer diagnosis. This required surgery in Sydney (Chris O’Brien Lifehouse). Lyn and Steve drove together and stayed overnight at the hotel near the Chris O’ Brien Lifehouse – (Rydges is there – $250 a night).

Five weeks of radiotherapy at the RCCC in Wagga Wagga, Lyn stayed at Lilier Lodge in Wagga whilst undergoing this treatment. RCCC require upfront payment every two weeks for radiotherapy treatment – over $1,000 each time. Whilst Medicare provide a rebate, there remains a gap.

Lyn was flown to Sydney for her first 3-month stint by the RFDS. Whilst her husband drove near 6,000 km going back and forth for visits, escorts are only eligible for IPTAAS when they are travelling with the patient. This means that only one of these trips was eligible for IPTAAS (ie when her husband picked her up and brought her home). Lyn was unaware that IPTAAS provided any subsidy for escort travel or for escort accommodation, and no claims were lodged. For the next 2,160km of treatment at Griffith – Lyn fell short of the 100km one way eligibility rule for IPTAAS. Whilst she qualified for IPTAAS under the 1 week 200 km cumulative travel rule for near 70% of these trips (since her chemotherapy was twice a week for the first year) she was not made aware of this. There is no indication of this rule at all on any of the IPTAAS 6 forms and no one at the hospital informed her.

In the final stage of her treatment at Wagga Wagga, she stayed 5 weeks at the NFP accommodation facility Lilier Lodge whilst receiving radiotherapy treatment. IPTAAS was explained to her for the first time, the manager there helped Lyn with the forms, sought referral signatures via her computer and told Lyn who needed to sign what at RCCC. The lodge submitted her claims not only for accommodation but also for her journey to Wagga and her journey home. These were the first and last two trips she ever claimed for. Lyn’s IPTAAS travel rebate funded less than 2% of their petrol costs over the course of her treatment journey.

By this stage, Lyn was left thousands of dollars out of pocket. To make things worse, given repeated time off work, her husband lost his building job. He has never found full time work again. Since Wagga Wagga does not offer public radiotherapy treatment, Lyn was also left with out-of-pocket medical expenses. Can Assist have Leeton assisted Lyn, by paying her medical out of pockets, paying the gap in her accommodation bill over the IPTAAS rebate of some $875, and issued her with some 10 petrol vouchers.

By this stage of her treatment profile, had Lyn not received the assistance of Can Assist, she would not have been able to accommodate in Wagga for the duration of her treatment. Instead, she would have been forced to drive back and forth daily, some 250 km, sick and exhausted. Lyn talk with fond memories of her time at Lilier – “It’s so much more than a bed, We had volunteers driving us to treatment and providing group dinners education, exercise classes, but most of all it’s a safe haven , a family of people all going through the same thing. Lilier made it all so much easier, I am forever grateful”.