Drugs

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 try to eat. You can dilute it a little if it hurts too much.

Oxytecaine and antacid can be used as a gargle then swallowed to numb your throat. Lots swear by it by it just made me nauseous

Duraphat high fluoride toothpaste. I found this too strong and it gave me more ulcers when my mouth recovered so I supplied myself with Oranurse from Amazon which isn’t high fluoride but that’s the trade off.

I managed happily with a battery powered electric toothbrush with a sensitive head. 

Some people find this too harsh and use a soft toothbrush from Amazon called Cupraprox. Flossing was fine but a water pic might be a gentler alternative.

Xyligel to moisten my mouth at night

Xylimelts at night

Paracetamol capsules and soluble to go down the NG tube

Soluble Codeine

Oramorph every two hours in the final weeks

MST long acting morphine twice daily

Metoclopramide to stop nausea

Results and a hiccup

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 my MRI was clear and anyway, till they got access to the Cardiff scanner MRI was all they did.

I think about refusing. I’m convinced that because my reaction to radiation was so severe and that my whole throat is glowing on the scan that I still have a reaction. I’m also convinced that the treatment has failed, that the cancer is still there. Which is it?These guys know what they are doing. I have never doubted my doctors but I have at times lost faith in my body. I should do what they say.

I cave in. I am devastated.

I have my biopsy a week later as a day patient

I don’t see my surgeon again afterwards but I do see his registrar who tells me that they couldn’t see anything and neither could another surgeon called in for a second opinion.

They took eight samples

A week after that I get the brilliantly good news that no malignancy was found.

Dr Banner Grins at me. Mr Kittur sits on the examining table like a little fat Buddha with an even bigger grin. I don’t know what to say. I am shocked. I was convinced the treatment had failed. 

When we leave Stan bounces out of the waiting room and says to me, “for heaven’s sake smile.” I’m smiling.

Roller Coaster? My God that doesn’t come anywhere near describing the journey!

Recovery and scans

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 and one day before a nurses appointment the retching is so bad the NG tube comes up. I get it replaced the next day.

I’m not making much effort in eating or reducing my pain meds. It all seems so much and I’m mightily depressed these days.

I see the oncologist. Nothing much to report and another appointment in another four weeks. He says I should lose the tube soon. He’s right. I throw it up again and this time I decide to leave it out and make more of an effort to eat.

I discover ice cream….I can eat ice cream and eat lots of it.

Six weeks after I finish radiotherapy I can manage soup, baked beans, scrambled egg, ice cream but not potato which is grainy and horrid. I can drink the ghastly Fortisips too. It all tastes of nothing though. Things are improving slowly but I’m still on the morphine.

I try sipping water frequently but it washes what little saliva I have away so I try keeping it just for night time.

At night I find I get a useful time asleep if I can keep my mouth moist with some Xyligel rubbed on my teeth and couple of Xylimelts which are tablets that stick to your gum above your molar teeth slowly dissolving in whatever saliva is there. It works.

At my next appointment the doctor says there is no way I should still be on morphine. He books an MRI. He doesn’t tell me why and I don’t ask but I suspect he thought there might be cancer still there. The scope shows nothing amiss.

We discuss a PET/CT scan. This is a scan done after being injected with a fast decaying radioactive glucose and will have to be done in Cardiff. It shows up tumours.

So I have my MRI around twelve weeks after radio. I wean myself off the morphine after initially just stopping it. What a stupid mistake. I should have known better, known that I would get withdrawal symptoms….shaking and sweating.

At my next appointment I get shown both sequences. The first MRI and the second. The original tumour looks huge to me but in the second there is no evidence of it at all. I am ecstatic. My oncologist seems jolly happy too.

We chat about HPV vaccine which is being rolled out for boys in Wales as well as 13 year old girls that have been given the vaccine for over ten years. The incidence of Cervical cancer in young women has plummeted as a result. This is a real success story. He chatters on about a subject which he is obviously passionate about and I forget my problems listening to him. 

My PET/CT is booked for the next week and it will be five weeks before I get the results.

Because the radiation causes so much damage a lot of hospitals have been getting false positives at twelve weeks so many scans are being moved to 16. This is the plan for me.

I go home and keep recovering.

I look after my mouth with a gusto verging on obsession and my dental hygienist is really pleased with me.

I can eat more and more normal food and my saliva is returning a little but taste is still 

problematic.

PET/CT stands for Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography

The scanner is hidden in a concrete bunker at Cardiff University hospital.

I arrive starved from the night before and get an injection of a radioactive glucose tracer that has been prepared that morning especially for me. Then there is a wait of around an hour while the marker travels round my body. The radiation decays and produces gamma rays which can be detected by the machine. Cancer cells are actively growing and use a lot of glucose so the radiation in that sugar can be picked up by a suitable scanner.

Dress warmly for your scan. That hour feels like a long time in a cold room. Take something to read.

The machine is just like a double CT scanner. One takes a CT scan, the other a scan of all the glowing bits of tumour and other active stuff like heart, liver and brain then the two are superimposed.

It is a very skilled job to interpret it; more complicated IT.



Support

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 she told me, haggard, hair in disarray and with a nasogastric tube snaking down my nose and taped to my spotty face, that I was beautiful.

Cat

My stepdaughters messaged me and the grandchildren made me laugh with their antics

My mother in law hugged me whenever we visited. This is quite amazing. She doesn’t hug anybody except maybe the great grand children who hurl themselves at her.

My darling darling husband, Stan, has ferried me all the way to Swansea for all my appointments and every day for radio . Some days when the wait has been long or occasionally when there has been a machine breakdown or when traffic was bad we have been away all day. He never complained.

He fed me, medicated me, propped me up and held me when I hurt, cried and wanted to give up frightened and bleeding.

Stan and Bracken

His life has been turned upside down too. He is a strong and proud man and although his two daughters have undoubtedly been there for him, he has had little or no professional support.  Why is that? Why isn’t anything offered for the carers? There is a Maggie’s centre at The Singleton but we never availed ourselves of any creature comforts there. It’s so far from home. Perhaps we should have explored what the GP and community team might have offered but we never did.

When I ask him how he’s felt through all this he simply says you have to accept the things in life you can’t change and just get on with it.

Treatment:December and January

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 to have a relatively easy passage through this. Some don’t. I didn’t.

Keep eating somehow by mouth or tube or PEG. Nutrition is important to help you fight the rigours of treatment.

Somewhere down the line you will get exercises to keep your swallowing muscles working and to keep your mouth open. Radiation can cause scarring in your throat muscles and in your chewing muscles leading to difficulty getting food down, it going down the “wrong way” and to trismus, or inability to open your mouth wide. Do them.  

Quite a few people are advised to do them after treatment finishes but I was told to start straight away.

There is lots of support from your team so ask them for leaflets if you haven’t got any.

Week One

The night before I start Stan and I have the thickest juiciest  steak from our Dexter supplier. Absolutely wonderful. I wonder how long it will be before I can enjoy another? That will be a day to celebrate. I look forward to it.

The Singleton looks like a run down pre World War ll relic with various stages of building improvement dotted about amongst the dilapidation but the radiotherapy block is modern and full of smiling staff. The waiting patients are another matter….how depressing! I spent a lot of time hanging around here, but there was a cheerful cafe so I could watch other people eating and having cups of tea!!

12th and my first day under the beam of Linac 1

I get clipped down and away we go

The treatment room is bright and airy, music plays…heaven knows what, something cheerful.

There’s a nice picture of countryside on the ceiling. Pity I can’t see it as I’m in the wrong place on the table. I can see the head delivering the X-rays move round me. I can see where the beam is coming from and I’m fascinated as I watch the shape of the metal leaves change as it passes. It takes a couple of minutes and it’s painless. Bring it on!

This is Capcom. The nerve centre

Overnight my submandibular salivary glands scream out and swell….alarmingly. 

I have another four treatments and see the head and neck team every Thursday from now on.

The Linac team are slick and fast. If there are any problems with treatment they are your first port of call and are a direct conduit to any member of your team.

I do my mouth a swallowing exercises three times a day

Christmas is coming soon and my daughter will be here from Berlin with her partner. I’m so looking forward to seeing her. I have largely isolated her from the horrors I will face. It’s not hers to worry. I actually feel ashamed of my condition and want to share it with nobody but my husband. I thank God my mum has gone in a way. I know what a mother’s love is and she would have been unbelievably wounded.

It will be a strange Christmas. I should still be able to eat well enough so I can share the festivities, though they will be muted.

Week Two

More of the same with Christmas Day off.

The mask is comfortable enough though quite tight.

I’m beginning to get a sore prickly throat towards the end of it. Everything else is as it always was.

I’m still managing to eat pasta and sloppy stuff, though I can’t taste much.Stan cooks the most marvellous Christmas lunch and I eat some and enjoy it. No alcohol though

Still doing those exercises

Week Three

Takes me past Christmas and into the New Year

Before the week is up the pain in my throat and mouth has been increasing and I can’t swallow properly. I have ulcers on the roof of my mouth, my tongue and across the back of my throat. My saliva has all but dried up to be replaced with a thick mucous that I can’t swallow so have to spit out. I go through industrial quantities of tissues. By New Year’s Eve I am in trouble. I haven’t eaten or drunk anything for two days and I’m admitted to a ward to get rehydrated and have an NG tube fitted. Not coping well with the pain and I’m very miserable and in tears until the nurses get me on to a drip with Paracetamol added. They and the doctors are so busy on a big cancer ward.

I shouldn’t moan, The other three ladies on the ward are in much worse nick than me.

I spend four days there getting stabbed for blood, wheeled to radiotherapy daily, not getting any sleep and generally feeling miserable. I keep the curtains drawn around me and it’s two days before I venture any words to the other occupants. One lady has “incurable but treatable” lung cancer. Her chemotherapy threw her into heart failure and she is still cheerful. Another lady was flown half way round the world interrupting her cruise when she became ill and has been told she will never walk again.

I feel humbled. I have a chance still, for heaven’s sake.

My husband visits daily. He comes so far I tell him to have a day off at home.

I have a bed by the window and the view across the bay to The Mumbles is beautiful.

I watch the fireworks bring in 2019 and wonder what it will bring.

The NG tube is in place and I’m shown how to dose myself with nutrient drinks and expected to be able to swallow some myself. I have been given Fortisips. They are disgustingly sweet and sickly and thick. Diluting them with a little water seems to help but the first one I manage stays down for ten seconds…..oh dear!

I have to persevere, they are feeding me and enabling my body to fight the radio and to heal.

One day, waiting in my wheelchair, for radio, I meet a man who has had his last treatment. He looks OK to me. Perhaps I’ll be OK? I do envy his imminent freedom.

I go home on my birthday with an analgesic plan and enough drugs to fill a carrier bag.

Looking inside I find a pharmacy

A few words of advice

If you have pain deal with it. Don’t suffer, the drugs are there for a reason. Take them.

Week 3

My saliva problem continues. If I try to spit out the stringy stuff it just hangs there defying gravity. More tissues and I keep a paper bag by the bed to throw the overnight used ones in to be burned on the Rayburn in the morning.

Not sleeping too badly in the arms of Morpheus.

I’ve actually seen a doctor, my oncologist’s registrar. 

I’ve been mithering at the Linac staff and the Macmillan team to get me the results of my chest CT. They keep telling me that if there was anything wrong I wouldn’t be getting treatment yet.

Finally! The CT shows I have two pulmonary nodules. Good grief! More to worry about! Metastasis springs immediately to mind, even before she has the words out of her mouth but I’m assured that lots of old people have them and they are harmless. They will repeat the CT in three months.

The pain in my mouth is getting worse. Stan and I have worked out an analgesic schedule and all my drugs go through the NG tube. I feel constantly sick, the anti nausea drugs don’t work and I sit on the sofa head bowed and semiconscious most of the day. When I was told radiotherapy made you tired they weren’t wrong I’m not even half way through!

This is a snip of what I’m taking

09.00  PARACETAMOL AND METOCLOPROMIDE

09.30 MST (long acting Morphine)

10.00 OROMORPH 3MLS (Morphine)

13.00 PARACETAMOL

14.00 OROMORPH 3MLS

15.00 METACLOPROMIDE (for nausea)

17.00 PARACETAMOL

18.00 OROMORPH 3MLS

21.00 PARACETAMOL AND METOCLOPROMIDE 

21.30 MST

OROMORPH ONCE OR TWICE IN THE NIGHT 3MLS

EVERY TIME I SPIT THROUGH THE DAY AND NIGHT I USE BIOTENE SPRAY. ITS ACID AT pH 5.5. SHOULD I BE LOOKING AT SOMETHING MORE ALKALINE?

I never got an answer to this but discovered AS Saliva Orthana from the MacMillan community. This has a neutral pH so shouldn’t play havoc with your teeth

In addition I have all sorts to anoint my mouth with. I have a slippery mouthwash to soothe and Difflam mouthwash which has some numbing properties so that I can swill my mouth out before eating. What eating?

There is also some Caphasol for the mucositis which is what the oral and throat ulceration is called. I have to use Durophat high fluoride prescription toothpaste for ever now as low saliva predisposes to dental decay on a major scale. Funnily enough I’m managing to keep my mouth clean with floss and a gentle electric toothbrush. You just have to experiment with what you can do. Some people have found a gentle toothbrush called Curaprox from Amazon really helpful and a water pic might be better than flossing. I bought one but never used it.

I’m hooked up to a feed pump at night and sleep in the spare room now.

Stan does it all for me. He feeds me, gets my meds in on time, holds me close to him. I’m a wreck. Self pity, crying it’s all I can seem to do.

As you can see, I’m not a very brave soul

I’m still trying to get out and about and get up to our field occasionally with Stan and the dog.

Week Four

Is more of the same

Getting pain under control has been a bit hit and miss but things seem to be a bit better now.

The skin on my neck is reddening a bit but no more. I keep it moisturised with Diprobase.

The Caphosol seems to help with the stringy mucous and the ulcers quite a lot, anyway I feel more comfortable and talking is easier. Perhaps its the morphine?

A little word about morphine. If you are taking that take laxatives. Opiates slow your gut motility down badly and the last thing you want on top of all this is to get bunged up.

I found Laxido gentle enough but never took as much as my team recommended.

I notice my hair has fallen out at the nape of my neck and I’ve got no more fuzz at all left on the back.

Week five

Similar

I go in and out of the linear accelerator in a dream. I’m beginning to hate it despite the good I know it’s doing.

Ive lost a little weight and the nurse team have a go at me about it. I can’t physically take as much nutrition through the tube at night as I’m supposed to so lie about how much I’m taking.

The Registrar takes a look at my throat and says, “yes, pretty awful!” She takes a picture of it and shows me. Yes……I agree!

Week Six 

Home straight now. I’m counting off the days. It’s getting really uncomfortable lying on the treatment table. I count the seconds and have to breathe through the rising panic. I can’t look that bloody machine into it’s green eye any more and screw my eyes tight shut against it and the tears welling up.

My neck has held up well showing little crusty spots over a lobster red skin.

At last it’s over. January 23rd 2019

The guys on the Linac offer me the mask to take home. I have seen people leaving with them in bin liners. I don’t want mine, it’s done its job and I can’t wait to see the back of it.

I see the registrar for the last time. I get a good check over with a warning that the radiotherapy continues to work for about two weeks and that these two weeks will be worse than the last one. 

I go home, sleep in bed for two weeks, and Stan keeps me alive.

My Journey through thick and thin: August to December 2018

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 this.

Wait for an appointment, wait for diagnostic blood tests and scans, wait for an appointment again. Wait wait wait while you gradually pull your hair out in despair. The NHS is a wonderful thing but it can grind slowly.

The track wasn’t as fast as I would have liked but a month later I’m at Morriston hospital being looked at by a Maxillofacial Consultant. He couldn’t see much either even with a scope. To be fair if he had managed to have a good feel he would have agreed with me, but we are both fellow professionals, he believed me when I was adamant I had a problem so he arranged an MRI

My MRI 

If you ever go for one of these wear something warm. These scanning rooms are freezing and if you are having a scan with contrast medium injected into your vein the technicians will find it hard to get access. Believe me, getting stabbed repeatedly with a needle is no fun. I’ve since discovered that if you have crap veins taking a hot water bottle to wrap round your arm works too. The radiographers nearly gave up on my veins but in one last ditch effort they found an anaesthetist and he was in first go.

They take a long time…an hour of the machine clanging and whistling round you , while you lie immobile in its tunnel.

October

In with the Maxfac consultant.

He tells me the MRI has found something and I’m booked in for a biopsy, a panendoscopy, which will give him a really good look at the whole area of my pharynx the following week.

The biopsy was straightforward, a few jokes with the anaesthetist and I knew nothing.

I had a bit of a bruised sore tongue but home with painkillers and all is well.

Two weeks later

I’m back in the same room.

The room is full of people I don’t recognise which is always an ominous sign.

He comes straight to the point saying my diagnosis was right and he’s sorry. It’s OK I already knew. I’ve known for over two months. It’s a relief really. 

Squamous Cell Carcinoma. T2N0M0. Good news in that there is no spread and the tumour is small at about 2.5cm.

I’m introduced to the oncologist consultant. This man is going to be both saviour and nemesis over the next year. It turns out I’m famous. The patient who presented with her own accurate diagnosis.

Now there are doctors and doctors

My Maxfac consultant is an avuncular Asian chap, portly and benign looking, efficient and skilled: just the sort you need holding your hand.

My oncologist is much younger….young to be a consultant. He’s cheerful and exuberant, always smiling and joking. I’ve fallen in love with him already even though I know he’s going to do horrible things to me.

So we go through those horrible things, ticking them off on a consent form. He tells me my tumour is small and that it is P16 positive so he can cure me. I will have both sides of my neck irradiated with the majority being to my left side where the cancer sits for six weeks. I won’t need chemotherapy or surgery.

But I will have mouth burns, pain and I won’t be able to eat.The skin on my neck will burn. We discuss placement of a stomach tube before I start or a reactive nasogastric tube. The hospital practice is to use NG tubes and I’m actually quite relieved. I will lose my sense of taste and my saliva will disappear. Some will return but they can’t say how much and my recovery will take two years. The first three months will be pants!

I sign my consent form and place my future in his hands. The NHS wheels stop grinding at a snail’s pace to now rival Usain Bolt. I’m in the system and it’s no holds barred to get me better.

I get introduced to nursing staff who will help me during and after my treatment. So many people are in charge of my well being. A well oiled machine springs into action and my body isn’t mine any more.

I get blood tests done and my dentition checked that day. Radiotherapy can cause all sorts of problems where the beam travels through unhealthy teeth so often it might be suggested to extract them but thankfully I’m OK.

I have been so depressed about all this. It now looks as if I might live.

I get home and hit Google with a vengeance.

Now, I would recommend that most people leave Google well alone. It’s full of statistics that are out of date and so much inaccurate information. I’m medically qualified so I know what to sift through. I leave those statistics alone.

I learn lots. 

Radiotherapy kills cancer cells by disrupting DNA amongst other things. This only works on cells actively dividing and cancer cells do this a lot but they are not all doing this at the same time so the treatment is delivered in fractions. Normal cells are harmed but can repair themselves. X-rays produce lots of free radicals that can kill cancer cells so these things that we are encouraged to mop up by eating lots of red fruit and veg are actually killing our cancer! So maybe there is a case for avoiding these foods while you are being treated? Who knows. I might ask my oncologist.

I bet doctors hate Google!

P16 is used as a prognostic biomarker for certain types of cancer. The way the pathologists measure this is too difficult to explain here but suffice to say they sort of stain the slide of your tumour for it.  It is over expressed in Human Papilloma Infection so there’s lots of it.

HPV infection as a cause of oropharyngeal cancer is good news. It makes it more amenable to treatment and your chances of survival are good.

I know HPV causes cervical cancer but I didn’t know about OPSCC. It makes it a sexually transmitted cancer; rates of these cancers have shot up and researchers talk of an epidemic in younger people. Now there’s a thing! Lots of people get the virus, most shrug it off but in those that don’t it can remain latent for up to 30 years. There’s a vaccine. That’s even better news to help prevent countless other people in years to come from suffering and as our youngsters get immunised perhaps these diseases will vanish. 

I’ve been told Doctors don’t do oral sex….yeah like they don’t smoke or take drugs…yeah!

I also discover the MacMillan Cancer Support Online Community

https://www.macmillan.org.uk

What a place! It has all the stuff your doctors don’t tell you. It’s full of people who have gone through and are still going through what I am about to. Yes, it’s self selecting so not accurately representative across the board but there are just so many helpful tips there. 

If you have cancer, join it. You won’t regret it.

Now I check my doctors out.

I find a picture in the newspapers of my surgeon, Mr Madhav Kittur beaming with satisfaction over a young lady who’s had her jaw reconstructed with a 3D printed implant.

This is groundbreaking stuff. There is also a list of scientific publications. He’s good.

My oncologist, Dr Russel Banner, has a glowing bio, (the sort you write yourself), with a grinning headshot on the Rutherford Clinic website.

There is lots of work on HPV, his speciality, top of his game: He’s on Twitter. I look in occasionally. I’m in excellent hands. 

November

In the weeks to come I get a chest CT and a neck ultrasound to check my lymph nodes which are all benign.

Most people presenting with OPSCC have enlarged nodes at initial presentation.It’s usually the first thing they notice, a lump in the neck. Doctors have to go looking for the primary and often those nodes have to be removed surgically by an operation called a neck dissection followed by chemotherapy.  The drugs potentiate the effect of radiotherapy increasing it’s effectiveness by a few percent.Thankfully I escape that though I guess I’ll never know whether those few percent would have made any difference.

My treatment will be by high power X-rays produced by a  linear accelerator.It’s called IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy) delivered by VMAT (Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy) which means the radiation dose is delivered continuously as the machine rotates all round me, the shape of the beam changing as it moves. It means the target is hit more accurately and collateral damage of normal tissue is minimised.

I have a planning CT so that my tumour can be visualised in 3D and a treatment calculated. To make sure I am in the correct position every time I am fitted with a mask that will eventually clip to the treatment table immobilising me fast. This is made with a sort of hot water softened mesh that drapes over the face and is moulded to every wrinkle and spot, taking a few minutes to harden. Being attacked by a face sucker in Alien must have felt similar….but it was actually not to bad  and I got talked to all the time to avoid panic. I asked them to cut eyeholes in it. I get a tattoo in the middle of my chest as a constant reference point…ouch!

This is not my mask, just a picture of one so you get an idea

A few weeks are needed for the technicians and the machine algorithms to work out my treatment beam and dose. Complicated stuff.

I pick up a piece on Google about how the health board is trying to improve their consultants’ access to the horrendously complicated IT systems involved in setting treatments up; to save them logging into different computers along the line; to shorten the interface and reduce planning time. It’s a world I never knew existed and it amazes me that human endeavour is so potent. 

Physics was a chore I had to endure to get to Vet School and I was hopeless at it, just scraping a pass but I always like “nuclear” things. I’ve had a great time looking up and getting to understand how a linear accelerator actually produces the X-ray to gobble up cancers. I never ever expected to be one day lying under one though.

So it’s back to waiting, interspersed with the odd visit to my Head and Neck Nurse Support Team


My Story

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 husband who is the world’s best exponent of that attribute.

Talking to fellow sufferers I have come to the conclusion that whatever sort of person you are you develop coping strategies very quickly and that miserable people get cured too. 

This is my story for anybody that cares to read it.

I have had the most amazing support from my husband and the friends I have made on the MacMillan forum. I hope this helps those of you on a similar journey. This journey is dark and painful in parts, basking in sunshine and hope in others……. the roller coaster pitching you physically and mentally up and down but it spitting you out into the light. Don’t ever give up. The light is there and it’s wonderful.

I am 67 years old, retired and living in Rural Wales

Once upon a time there was August 7th 2018

The whole world changed for me that day.

The earth continued to spin but stopped dead for me.

That was the day I discovered my cancer at the back of my tongue. I knew what it was the instant my finger found it. I sat on it for two days in disbelief and panic. Why me? Of course the answer to that is Why not me?

Always willing to help anybody else in this fix. Just send me a message.