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A peregrination through oropharyngeal cancer

Finishing It

I can’t configure
a tablet 
chiselled by God’s finger


or forge
a scrawled prescription,
but here’s an inscription, formed

on the small white dot
of its own
full stop,

the sugared pill
of a poem, one sentence
that speaks ill

of illness itself, bullet
with cancer’s name
carved brazenly on it

  • Surviving Covid-19

    3rd May 2020 by

    Well we are still here. Time I put some more work into this blog. I have been terribly lazy and not visited here for some weeks so I should get off my backside…or rather on it… back at the computer keyboard. In my defence Stan and I have been busy in the garden and poly… Read more

  • After Treatment

    20th Feb 2020 by

    This is an excellent article about life after treatment. I’ll put a link to it at the end in case anyone wants to save it but I thought I’d put the whole piece here. After the Treatment Finishes – Then What? Dr Peter Harvey Consultant Clinical Psychologist Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust Imagine a roller-coaster. Some… Read more

  • Robot Surgery

    14th Feb 2020 by

    A significant number of oropharyngeal tumours are in difficult to reach places and have conservatively been operated on by splitting the lower jaw and prizing the two parts apart (a bit of an oversimplification here, but humour me). As you can imagine this causes much post operative pain and disfigurement and results in longer recovery… Read more

  • Acupuncture

    13th Feb 2020 by

    Today I had another session of Acupuncture so I thought I would add some pictures. Excuse the ragged gardener’s nails! This type of Acupuncture is called Auricular Acupuncture and there is lots of data on how well it works for salivary function. It is designed to stimulate those minor salivary glands that are often largely… Read more

  • The Customer Knows best?

    9th Feb 2020 by

    This from CRUK’s Twitter feed made me smile and just had to share it With profuse apologies to my two lovely doctors from Oncology and MaxFac

  • World Cancer Day

    8th Feb 2020 by

    February 4th was World Cancer Day and Radiotherapy for Life were at an event at the House of Commons trying to raise the awareness of the importance of Radiotherapy in the successful treatment of cancer. RT is severely underfunded and understaffed in the UK (what part of the NHS isn’t, come to that?) and many… Read more

  • The calm before the storm Ciara

    8th Feb 2020 by

    It’s the beginning of February and our mild winter is morphing into proper winter. We have storm warnings that we should actually expect for this time of year. Even so the newspapers are full of apocalyptic warning. Batten down the hatches and prepare for Armageddon. I’ve had a bit of a storm myself. Episode 1… Read more

  • First Anniversary

    23rd Jan 2020 by

    One year, one whole year has passed since I scrambled off the linear accelerator treatment table at the Singleton for the last time. I have had a year of incredible ups and downs, of pain and joy, of delight and horror but I’m still here and more or less in one piece. I am not… Read more

  • Acupuncture The experiment has started

    21st Dec 2019 by

    A couple of weeks ago I had my first appointment with Alison. She is a lovely lady and we hit it off straight away, swapping tales of CND experiences of our youth; my one Aldermaston march (cheating by just doing the Trafalgar Square beano) and her chaining herself to fences and getting arrested at Greenham.… Read more

  • Honey

    27th Nov 2019 by

    Honey is good for you, miles better than sugar. Naturally produced, raw unheated, unrefined honey with the pollen unfiltered has vitamins, enzymes, antioxidants aplenty. Most honey is significantly antibacterial.Some people swear by it to help them with seasonal allergies. It tastes good. Take your pick from any of that I’d like to mention Manuka Honey… Read more

  • 10 Months on

    25th Nov 2019 by

    Yesterday was my 10month anniversary, or to be more precise 43 weeks and 3 days since my last radio session. While my general fitness marches on I am still working hard on the saliva front. I can manage most foods, needing a drink with only the driest but I am getting quite frustrated with my… Read more

  • Christmas is Coming

    24th Nov 2019 by

    This last couple of days I have been wrapping presents for the Radiographers on LINAC 1 and the Head and Neck Nurse Support Team at The Singleton Hospital There’s a bottle of Prosecco and a jar of our honey and I might add some chocolates too. Last year I was getting zapped daily and I… Read more

  • Immunotherapy

    24th Nov 2019 by

    More ammunition Yesterday the BBC reported was some excellent news about a drug trial for head and neck cancer that was advanced, had recurred or had spread. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-50507069 In a trial, pembrolizumab kept head and neck cancers at bay for an average of two years – five times longer than under chemotherapy. The patients also… Read more

  • Getting Fitter

    20th Nov 2019 by

    Today I woke up to this The day proved to be a Shepherd’s Delight not a warning. The sun shone and it certainly made me feel alive. Time to get out of this pit of indolence and get fit again. I used to run. Nothing serious since that London Marathon more than ten years ago,… Read more

  • Proton Therapy. The future

    8th Nov 2019 by

    Mooching around the internet, as you do, I found this. It’s one of many articles from USA hospitals. Quality of life is so important especially as so many younger people are being diagnosed, cured and living for many years with the sequels of radiation. Then I found this So disappointing. We can only hope that… Read more

  • Onward and Upward

    27th Oct 2019 by

    I am now nine months post treatment and on two month check ups split between the surgeon and the oncologist. On my latest visit I asked about checking my thyroid hormone levels and my carotid arteries. Radiation to the neck can destroy thyroid tissue and 50% of people need thyroxine therapy so monitoring is advised… Read more

  • This summer

    27th Oct 2019 by

    Since then Stan and I have visited his mum and his children and grandchildren. We upgraded our camper in February to a bigger new mobile home so that our collie Bracken can come with us in comfort. We visited the Malvern Autumn Show and walked three miles there and back and I felt comfortable with… Read more

  • Drugs

    27th Oct 2019 by

    Here is a list of the drugs I got through. Some are from my own team and some I got myself from MacMillan Community advice: Things for my mouth: Biotene mouthwash is nice and soothing Gelclair and Caphasol helps mightily with the mucositis A Benzydamine mouthwash called Difflam is a good numbing agent before you… Read more

  • Results and a hiccup

    20th Jun 2019 by

    Five weeks later there are a lot of people in the consulting room again and I am pitched into the dark again as I’m told that the PET/CT shows an 8mm hotspot and they need to biopsy but everybody tries to reassure me that they have never had a failure at this stage, especially as… Read more

  • Recovery and scans

    16th May 2019 by

    Two weeks pass and life begins to reappear somehow. I have an appointment to see Dr Banner in four weeks time. It seems a lifetime since I saw him. I forget what he looks like. I have been plagued with nausea from week three. I suspect it’s the morphine but I can’t do without it… Read more

  • Support

    28th Feb 2019 by

    I have to add a few words about support here: The MacMillan nurses have been absolutely stupendous in propping me up. Both teams at the Singleton and in Carmarthen have been exceptional in their care. My brilliant daughter, Cat, has Skyped me from Berlin and sent me encouraging messages throughout. When I couldn’t face anybody… Read more

  • Treatment:December and January

    13th Feb 2019 by

    December Treatment I can’t stress how important it is to keep well. Radiotherapy will make you tired, very tired. You have to rest and let your body cope. The cancer is going to take a year out of your life. Control the pain. Ask for different pain relief if yours isn’t working. Some people seem… Read more

  • My Journey through thick and thin: August to December 2018

    30th Nov 2018 by

    August Believe in your body and in your second sense. Usually if you know there is something wrong there is…trust me; women are particularly good at this. My GP couldn’t appreciate much to see but at my insistence he arranged a fast track referral. September A quick word here about waiting. You get used to… Read more

  • My Story

    31st Aug 2018 by

    The first part of this blog is retrospective though based faithfully on my diary account. I’ve always been a “Glass Half Empty” girl. It’s the way I am. It’s a form of self defence. Expect the worst then be prepared for it. Positive mental attitude doesn’t cut it for me but I luckily have a… Read more

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