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Cancerversary 2019


My video…. thank you for all the shares.

I love you all.




https://youtu.be/-IE1AaheRrw
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What does this mean? I cannot go there …not again..


My yearly cancer check-up was this Sunday, it was an overflow clinic hence the weekend. I saw Mr Fasemade who’s the boss man – ie the new Mr Moss.

SOOO, where do I start, I have been aware of a white patch on my tongue for a while, it’s not sore or gross looking its a indent with a white colour. also, I have had a funny feeling when i swallow recently – I kind of feels like one part of the throat is narrower so it feels like I’m swallowing a big lump of food and more recently drink. Now this “symptom” didn’t worry me at all – i just thought it was good old radiotherapy causing the tissues to tighten up or maybe even that it was in my head, i was ramping up towards my yearly check-up so maybe it was in my head – which is why i hadn’t told anyone other than G a few days before the appointment.

So, I go in and as always I notice MR F’s huge hands …. seriously every time I see him this is my first thought… anyway we have the usual hellos and how are yous.
Then it’s time for business, the last time I saw him he said I needed a tooth extracting (side note, radiotherapy demolishes your teeth and makes removal complicated), for this to happen Mr F insists patients have 6 weeks of what he calls triple therapy, which is an antibiotic, a med which helps small vessels have good blood flow and a very high dose Vit E (all from memory so apologies if ive messed up), anyways I was put on this triple therapy and it made me sooo sick, I was vomiting 5 or 6 times every day and felt dreadful, I managed 3 weeks and said NO enough is enough, and essentially cancelled the extraction (this could have gone tits up but I think I got away with it). Mr F then spends what feels like for ever explaining that removing a tooth can lead to osteo-radio-necrosis ie jaw bone death – and that he would need to use my rib or a bone from my lower leg to make me a new jaw as the infection would eat away at the bones of my jaw …. nice huh ??!?

I then tell him I have this white patch and that I have ruled out thrush (something people who have RT get lots of) and that Ive even tried to scratch it off and it has not worked and I want him to look, he does and sees what I mean straight away, he says “it could be s sharp bit if tooth” and shoves a gloved hand into my mouth, feeling for sharp edges, which hes doesn’t find. I say I’m not happy about it and I’m actually quite worried about what this could be. He is very calm and says that we don’t want to jump the gun but he agrees that perhaps we should take a closer look and have a biopsy – he starts filling out a medical photography form, apparently, we need a before shot.

As hes doing this I say “there is this one little thing….. ” and I explain about the throat…. He immediately says, OK we need that scanned – let put it as urgent – and I notice lots of glances between Mr F and the Nurse who was also in the room. He seems much more worried about the throat symptom than the tongue. I’m told i will be contacted and off I go…

WHAT IF

I cannot help but to go there, I have moments where my mind takes me to places i NEVER want to go

  • 6 months down the line I’m on chemo… as I can’t have more radiotherapy to that area
  • surgery .. theres not much tongue to take – what will I be left with – if any – will i talk – will i loose the tip of my tongue this time – –Christ could i loose the whole thing
  • Maybe I cannot take the treatment? let’s face it ive got shitty health and it was so very hard last time – on the whole family …..

Now these are my split-second thoughts so no-one jump the gun, but you really can’t help going there when you have a history like this and TWO potential issues… what will be will be. I’m not letting it control me or take over they are just passing thoughts/worries.

Now a few days later I have my letters for my dates I have my MRI on the 29th Jan and my Biopsy 23 Feb !!!!!!—- I have already called and asked for it to be sooner but was told it was the soonest they had – so I have said that I will take a cancellation appointment and I can be there in 14 minutes.

so now the waiting game…..

or

** surgery .. theres not much tongue to take – what willi be left with – if any – will i talk – will i loose the tip of my tongue this time – –christ could i loose the whole thing

Or

Maybe i cannot take the treatment ? lets face it ive got shitty health and it was so very hard last time – on the whole family …..

Now these are my split second thoughts so no-one jump the gun, but you really cant help going there when you have a history like this and TWO potential issues… what will be will be. Im not letting it control me ot take over they are just passing thoughts/worries.

I have my letters for my dates

MRI on the 29th Jan

Biopsy 23 Feb —- i have already called and asked for it to be sooner but was told it was the soonest they had – so i have said that i will take a cancellation appointment and i can be there in 14 minutes.

so now the waiting game

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It’s not always about the patient !


This post isn’t about me it’s about family and how they are affected by my ill health and my hospital stays. It’s something I’ve mentioned but recently the effects have been bad have been BAD.

As you know I’ve just been discharged after being in hospital for eight weeks. My husband has had to keep the house running, the children going and visiting Me AND all my extra washing as well as things I wanted bringing into the hospital.

Now being a military wife some might say well it’s just the same as when the husband or wife go away on tour. That’s just wrong, when a husband or wife goes away for 4 or 6 months we have to juggle the house, children, dogs, and family we do not have the added stress and worry of having a loved one in hospital and the additional stress of visiting , and finding parking, which is damn near impossible as Stoke Mandiville Hospital! He’s had to cope with the children being upset because mummy is sick, the seven-year-old who is waking up in the night because he misses mummy and is scared that something bad is gonna happen . He then has me phoning whingeing saying I’m having a bad day, saying the crazy patient opposite has been literally screaming for ten hours or that the little old lady you really liked had passed away. Venting my frustrations about Doctors or Nurses or that HCA who was making up numbers when taking SATS (yes I reported him).

When you get home I hope everything will go back to normal but it doesn’t, you come home to a seven-year-old who is crying because she wants a cuddle yet she’s sitting on your lap cuddling you. A child who doesn’t trust your home to stay so doesn’t want to be away from you. One who’s regressed so so much your no longer mummy but mumma.

It gets worse!

While is in hospital I was I thought I kept in the loop about D and how she was coping at school which wasn’t well and what was being done about it.

You come home and take over school run because she wants which is fine and I’m quite liking getting back to normal. Your then told by senior member of staff that she is not just been having a bit of a rough time, she’s now the polar opposite of the child you left.

The highlights.. {scarcasm here!}

*she barely smiles [was known as a smiler last year]

*refusing to work to the extent she has been removed from the class! [just wow this has NEVER EVER happened]

*crys everyday over everything and nothing (again new)

*not speaking to adults well [ok well yes she need reminding sometimes but it’s never been an issue.]

And so much more.

I may have been in hospital, but, she has 2 parents. Yes they told G that she was struggling but OMFG REALLY ….. we could have put things in place .. support or I don’t know?! arranged for me to call her every lunch time … oh I don’t know but SOMETHING … now we are in a situation where it appears that her form teacher thinks she’s a “bad kid” [my assumption not something that’s been said – but I do have my reasons ] Now, they do have pastoral care type person Miss A and she’s great but she’s not in the classroom she’s there as a defuser for when this kick off or have a melt down [again an assumption based on what I’ve seen ] don’t get me wrong she lovely and when D has has a melt down she’s taken her off for a walk so daisy can chat away to her heart content and do a bit if a brain dump- ready to return to class.

My my poor girl [ive not forgotten my boy but I think he would appreciate me just saying how he’s suffered too but because he’s well ard he ok… I joke but seriously – Yes he’s suffered, but since being in cadets he seems to be able to handle things much much better – that said young careers are also helping out]… where was I? Yes D she’s massively been suffering and I feel that we have been somewhat been kept in the dark… perhaps from a well meaning standpoint but one I wholeheartedly believe is wrong.

So …what have we done, tried to reassure her as much as we can especially as she doesn’t believe for one second that I’m not going back into hospital. I’ve sought advice from my wonderful GP who I cannot thank enough Dr L ..and I’m going to see her teacher Tuesday.

Dr L said something that’s very true…

Your family are professional copers…no one knows how much you are going through and dealing with as you have a vissard.

So trying to lower the vissard here’s a few little known family facts ..

Ok dropping my guard here!

G wakes up early every day to prepare my medication. Every day so that I can move in the morning, as without my medication I’m stuck in bed.. [there’s about eight meds, some need crushing and putting into water, some are liquids all need to be in syringes and then go into my feeding tube (PEG)].

Another random one not many people know about is..

I cant be a passenger in a car more than 20 minutes without vomiting [violently even after medication, yet I struggle with fatigue so don’t drive too far… what to do? The thoughts are that the radiotherapy damaged my inner ear massively which also accounts for some of my valence issues.

Anyways this is me signing off – I usually say still smiling but today I am truthfully not smiling

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The battle continues ….. smiling still (occasionally through gritted teeth)


Hello and thanks for reading if your here. I haven’t updated in quite a while which i’m taking as a good thing as i think it means i have not needed this outlet, and perhaps we haven’t had too much going on…. that’s sort of true.  although i am about to have a small operation to put a new PEG in as i have had so many issues with it.

I will start with the amazing fact that we are now post 5 years (2 months) since i finished my treatment, BUT what many people don’t realise is that this is not always the end, ill start with something i shared on my facebook page.

Life after Cancer –Fun fact – When i eat orally, which i don’t do often, but food quite often goes up my nose — and there’s only one way out!
Its a horrible sensation and at times painful but more than that its like the feeling when you get water up your nose when swimming, you know?? then you have to force it out your nose …. sexy no????

Life after cancer for many is a new normal, weather it be a breast cancer patient with lymphedema in their arm or arms or a head and neck patient dealing with a physical change to the face and neck (one that other may see).

Cancer for many leave mental scars that no one will see, for example if i slip off my pillow and wake up laying flat I cannot get up – my neck muscles have atrophied and been cut in places — when this happens my mind jumps back to the times that i was attached to a metal table by a face mask – unable to move – my head squashed in a plastic jail – its a feeling of helplessness, of panic – it doesn’t last long, but long enough.
please join me in saying #fuckcancer 

Another fun side effect is travel sickness …. to such an extent we take sick bags everywhere – i throw up after i have been a passenger for anything more than 10 minutes – sometimes less —- we have tried sea bands but due to the anatomy of my left wrist (donor site) they don’t seem to work – cyclizine – gives me an extra 10 minutes and ondansetron sometimes works … its not just vomiting its a woozy headache that makes me feel rough – its the physical pain of vomiting violently, when you have a PEG vomiting pulls the tube and it HURTS – then theres the effects on the children and G – they seem mum throwing up heaving and looking poorly all the time – Now i don’t get sick when i drive but i suffer from fatigue and at time take strong painkillers so cant always drive!!

 

All of my readers aka friends will know my health is fragile its a balance, both from my cancer side effects (ie radiotherapy damage mainly) and spinal issues, which include cord impingement symptoms and discoordinated bladder etc and my pelvis problems (post metal fixation causing hypermobility in SI Joints causing sacroiliitis). I have to trust how i feel – i get infections that go nuts quickly –  and have UTI infections monthly, but i am extremely lucky to have an AMAZING doctors surgery – so amazing that they see me same day when needed (i don’t use this facility unless needed), from D and J on the reception who know i need a double appt as a rule to the nurses who work with my incredibly difficult to find veins for my regular blood tests. To the pharmacist who has to work extra hard as i need all my items in liquid form for my PEG or for them to be crushable (some you can’t crush – or may be known to block pegs) – she always has a smile and nothing is every too much … & the DOCTORS my goodness they are simply out of this world – here’s a few phrases they have said *you know your body better than anyone tell me what you need from me! *do you think you need to go in? (inpatient hospital) – they always have time for me they have never in my hundreds of visit have made me feel like i have wasted a second of their time or that they are not genuinely interested in me… its a lovely feeling to know this fantastic facility and safety net is there for me.

 

More recently i have been having a few problems, i lost 10kg very quickly and without meaning to ( now i don’t mind but as it wasn’t on purpose it can be a sign of other things) and i have been having muscle spasms … so very severe in my neck, they go into spasm and contort my face – i cannot speak or move my neck and it is extremely painful and they come in groups (for want of a better term) as soon as one stops another starts and some even affects my tongue muscle… OUCH … and the past 2 weeks i have felt like i have a pneumonia ie unable to take a deep breath and having to catch a breath at the end of sentences and a ring of solid muscles mid back round to sides – this is restricting breathing as well.

TRYING TO HELP MYSELF

** I went for a massage with Becca at Scruples who are BRILLIANT in hope of getting the **muscles released but, in her words she *couldn’t get through* and shes awesome so it **certainly wasn’t for the want of trying so that didn’t help.

**I am also addressing my diet – or lack of as i live on ensure drinks via peg and odd **snippets when i’m able to swallow (it comes and goes and technically i’m advised not **to try solids at all). Anyways i have decided that i am going to be adding some juicing to me diet (super shots) alongside some specific natural additives

  •  Manuka honey – which has amazing healing properties – i even had manuka        dressing on infected wounds in the past – its THAT good …. and its tastes AMAZING
  • Aloe juice with cranberry – also is great for digestion and healing and the cranberry is good for bladder health
  • a probiotic which is something most peg users need.
  • Turmeric – which had been proven to have powerful anti inflammatory effect and a strong antioxidant
  • Cacao boost – which is Cacao, Lacuma, Hemp and Maca > these are antioxidants, packed with vitamins and minerals, high quality protein with lots of amino acids and a good source of fiber
  • Flaxseeds -Omega-3 essential fatty acids and fibre
  • Supergreens from bioglan which has iron, Vitamins B12/C/E/Zink

I am not going bonkers with it (it was after weight loss btw) i am adding a few things each week to make sure they agree with me etc. With the amazing advice from my jetsetting sister Jo i am hoping to help improve my overall health – even if it makes it 1% better it has to be worth a shot ??

 

I will just add how amazing lucky I feel to have a fantastic family – we are just finishing out 6 weeks summer holidays and i don’t think i have shouted at me kids once !!! They have been amazing and Gary had been great he took 2 weeks leave staggered over the 6 weeks, which allowed me to rest (i slept for 23 hours in one go last week).

 

family london eyefamily pictire london

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Half term part 2


So we are at the end of half term, we haven’t done anything too exciting but its been good, well other than THE worst mummy fail ever, essentially I told my 8 year old boy he could not wear deodorant because he hasn’t started his periods, in my defence I meant to say puberty. Then thee was a very very awkward 10 minute conversation about the basics of puberty with my 8 year old. I was expecting him to be traumatised by the conversation, but instead he just said “can I go on my xbox” and off he went happy as larry.

So last week I went to the docs for the results of my Vitamin D blood test results, the doctor who I had never seen before spent ages looking into my thyroid issues and I kept trying to say – I have seen a consultant recently so its ok – but he kept saying hang on a minute – it was so frustrating. Anyway I got my results and my vit d is pretty low nothing to worry about but worth trying to up it . He said that I should try and get something for Holland and Barett, but as I cant swallow, so I found a multi vit “tonic” which can go down my feeding tube and has Vit D in it. I then mentioned my increasing back pain, especially my lower back. He examined my back briefly and said he was going to write to Mr Moss and request a bone scan to check its not related to my cancer. Well that was it the shutters came down – I was pissed off – I couldn’t get away from this bloody cancer I felt penned in. Once I had left I stewed for a while then wrote the Dr a note asking him not to request the scan as I thought it was an over reaction. I don’t know if he took notice.

I wrote this on my facebook page and had lots and lots of comments asking me to have the scan and or to speak to the doctor. So I have made a double apt with a doctor that I have seen before so all should be good.

Today we took the kids to the park, it was great and a friend was there with her hubby and kids, it was a lovely atmosphere and the kids had a ball, unfortunately when we got home D became very hot with a temperature and came out in a rash – so Calpol and brufen and she was doing much better. I’m hoping she’s ok for next week as I have lots of appointments.

Other than that I have been doing ok – my jaw pain has been the same but I have managed porridge most days and manage to drink a whole bottle of chocolate milk today. Also I have left the house a few times without my scarf which is a bit of a milestone for me.

Enough rambling for tonight i’m off to bed.

#still smiling

 

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One year since diagnosis, This is an exact copy of my first post


MY FIRST EVER POST

Things were looking up !! then it all went to ……

FEBRUARY 15, 2013 MY CANCER AND ME

Im not sure where to start so i guess i will start with the begining of this year !!!On the 4th Jan 2013 I recall having a huge headache so bad i put D down for her nap early and had a lie down! I thought i was a migraine which was strange as i havent had one of those in years – but hey nothing to worry about ??The next day was my birthday and whilst i felt shocking my head still banging and now half, exactly half of my tounge was numb i just plodded on, by the sunday i knew i had to see a doc and it had to be that day, so off i went to the out of hours service in peterborough and was rather suprised to be seen straight away, but just thought it was a bit of a bonus.I was in there for what felt like ages and she said i think you have had a TIA .. a mini stroke and ordered me to go to PCH (teh local hospital ) I dont think they realised i was driving but anyways i drove there not realising how seriously they were taking things, well not until i was met at the door of AnE by a lady who introduced herself as the “specialist stoke nurse” bloody billiant i thought !! but i also thought TWITS,  im far too young and i have had so much go wrong with my body so far it wont be that or anything serious (doh)

While there i phoned my parents and asked that they come up (25 mins away) as i needed someone to keep an eye on the children while i had scans etc and i didnt want to phone hubby who was on guard duty — they came but called hubby !! I was less than impressed – I mean of course i was going to call him but I didnt want him unnecessarily worried and rushign away from work when my parents in theory could just help out for a while. Well that was my logic ! Anyways they showed up got kids and were asked to leave by a doc as G arrived at around the same time ! (this pissed them off somewhat i think )Anyways the scans were inconclusive and i was told it was probably a TIA and I was reffered to a nuro -In the mean time i really struggled to eat and joked about being on the best diet ever !!! – i had lost over a stone in less than a month !! (although i can afford to loose another 3 before i will worry too mcuh) – also i kept biting my toung and i had a weird bump on my tounge which i thought was fom biting but i goggled it and google diagnosed tounge cancer 50% suvival rate!!! That was it i was convinced I had the nuro appt on the 24th Jan – at that appt i told her i thing i have tounge cancer !! and that i am a smoker so deserve it but didnt want to die until my daughter was old enough to remember me !!She refered me to the head and neck unit at PCH who i saw on the 5/2/13 i was told it was probably nothing just where i had bitten my tounge but the would biopsey !! which they did a few days later !!

I went in on the 13th for my results and knew it was VERY BAD when they insisted G come in with me, I had said no hes fine the kids are on one – they insisted !!!“so you know we took teh biopsy? Well we have had the results and well you thought it was cancer and we have found cancer “my immediate reaction was “GET MY KIDS OUT OF HERE I DO NOT WANT THEM HEARING THIS”THE NEXT 10 MINUTES WAS A BLUR i was given forms leaflets and told its like skin cancer but on the tounge and we wouldnt know more until we had more tests done …THEN THE TWIST !!!!

I hope that by writing this blog I can help others in similar situations take comfort in the fact that they are not alone. Please help me reach more people with my blog by sharing my posts on Twitter and Facebook. If you would like to follow my story, please sign up to the mailing list so that you can be notified as my blog is updated. Should you wish to get in touch please feel free to use the ‘Contact Me’ page to fill in your details and I will respond to you as soon I am able. Thank you, Stephanie x

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Burger and chips with lashings of ketchup


So since my last post ive had my birthday, Im 31 it was a very anti climatic birthday. As this time last year I had a numb tongue and had no idea what was to about to happen,  then later in the year I truely wondered if I would have another birthday or if i would see one of my childrens. I felt in some way there should have been a fan fair “yayyy your alive” but I guess its not the done thing.

For my birthday G got me a galexy tab3 which im currently using by the way, hes really been great through all of this, making allowances for my tiredness, helping  me with my meds and feeds. Who knew our marriage would go through so much, him being my carer *again* (im refering to my pelvic surgery and all the problems), 9 house moves, 2 kids and 2 dogs.

Ive been trying to eat more not quite burger and chips with lashings of ketchup but I did manage to swallow the tinyist bit of a chip, yes it was aided by a swig of water. I tried to have some pasta bolognese, I spent a good ten minutes cutting up the pasta ready to eat, I had taken my pain killers in advance.  I managed probably a table spoon of food, or so I thought it turned out half was in the roof of my mouth and the rest was just a little down my throat. The end result wasnt pretty, and left me feeling really low, wondering why bother.  Its very hard seeing food you used to love, taste them and they are horrible or actually cause pain. I could really do with some help swallowing from speech and language, but it appears in on the list. 

I have my sewing mojo back and have discovered something called crazy quilts, and have started to make a quilt  I will share a few pics on my Facebook page.

Oooh I havent update on the torture tool aka the therabite, its gone to pot as my jaw pain had been bloody horrible it seems to be going up into my ear, its enough to stop me in my tracks.

Friday im off to see Mr Moss with no major panics or worries … maybe that means something

Still smiling and doing good

Before I go does anyone want to go to http://www.sewingshow.co.uk with me…..?