There are certain dates that are fixed in your head for personal reasons, birthdays, weddings,funerals, then there are others; places and times, JFK s assassination ( was only 5), 1st man on the moon, Elvis Presley’s death, the first plane hitting the twin towers and then in my case; that first time the word cancer is mentioned directly to you by a doctor 14th May 2018 at 1205! That was my moment and I’m sure that many of you have experienced the same. Well one year has now passed since that fateful day. So I thought it was time for an update on how I am progressing.
As you can see we’ve been to Spain for an extended stay, having checked with consultant before we went. In his words it’s now time to live your life, plus he said I am old enough and wise enough to fly home if need be.
What’s changed in the last year is a question people ask me, honestly I think I am still Hazel, it has been a life changing event but it hasn’t changed my life drastically.
I get tired easier than I used to but solve that by having a quick 20 minute nap problem resolved .
Meat can still be an issue, not the chewing action that’s fine but the fibres in Beef are especially difficult to swallow. However a rare steak is fine, unfortunately can’t have one of those every day!
Saliva is slowly returning to something like normality. I have moments where my mouth feels like what I think is normal, then again I still have super glue moments so that’s work in progress. Dr Sen did say after 2 years most time what you’ve got is as good as it gets so a way to go there.
Taste I am a lucky one in that respect I never lost taste ok I had the metallic taste for a shirt time but never the wet soggy cardboard in my mouth taste.
Weight I seem to have stabilised around the 9 st 10 lb which is fine by me. I may put a but more on but I don’t want to loose anymore as I feel I am at a healthy weight for me.
We’ve made new friends through me getting cancer, couples we’ve met at St James during treatment; Jo and Neil, Michelle and Jason, Tracey and Darren we’ve met up for lunch and keep in contact it’s good to compare how we are doing even if I am the oddball female with a “male” cancer.
Then in the Cancer U.K. forum, Macmillan forum and via this blog Nikki and Paul, Emma and Paul, Eric and Barbara who’ve we’ve met up with. It’s great to compare with Nikki because like me she is the one who got the cancer, its a 97% male cancer and 3% female so we are special. Then there’s everyone on the forums, I would be here all day mentioning them but Ian, Graham and Superman Dave get a special mention as we’ve spent many a hour debating the whys and wherefore.
One thing that sticks in my mind is if a year ago you would have said I could talk online in a cancer forum to total strangers about bowel movements I wouldn’t have believed you, nevertheless I feel even stranger recommending Movicol over Laxido as the go get for moving things along. True cancer can be a real leveller!
Of course family and friends have helped to keep me fed and amused, special thanks to Nicola, Mel, James, Dan, Faye, Liam, Lucy, Meg, Kaine, Delilah and Penelope for treating me no differently. Sue and Dave for the flowers and scarves, Lynn and Graham for being my voices of reason and sending the funny emojis.If I have missed anyone sorry you are all in my thoughts.
Last but not least John my other half, I know it’s been tough for him, especially as like I’ve just said it’s a mostly male cancer and he must be thinking why me and not him. I know he has had moments when he’s been lost as there’s nothing he could do to alleviate the pain I’ve been in. Many months after treatment finished John did tell me in the early days of recovery he felt so helpless that some days when I was shattered and in bed he would think if I didn’t wake up would it be better for me as he could do nothing else to help me. Yes I cried at that statement. But like Ian from the cancer forum says onward and upwards from here to infinity and beyond, thank you Buzz Lightyear.
I’ve learnt that each week new people are popping up on the cancer U.K. forum and also the Macmillan forum with h p v related head and neck cancers spans. I don’t have any problem with people contacting me for advise or even to rant why me !
What’s next : This I week had ENT consult, all good, camera up the nose and down the throat and heard the words no reoccurrence showing all looking good. Brilliant words to hear. Plus I was looking fit and healthy.
Charity bike ride on World Head and Neck cancer day the 27 th of July (weather permitting). Any sponsorship raised will be for Leeds Cares 1V02 Head &Neck cancer fund.
Curaprox toothbrush amazon made teeth brushing so easy.
Duraphat toothpaste dentist will prescribe.
Humidifier vital in early weeks when mucus and secretions start.
Nebuliser ask your hospital to loan you one.
If you need a NG tube don’t be afraid they are put in for a good reason treatment is tough recovery can be slow and you will need all the nourishment you can get.
When I look back to the first few weeks after treatment when I had a few spoons if Baxter’s consommé soup and the inside of a dinky pork pie, I’ve come a long way in the last 8 months.
Tea tonight jersey new potatoes, baked salmon roast vegetables all eaten without copious amounts of liquid maybe a sip of water towards the end.
As I have mentioned previously I will be doing a Charity bike ride with hubby John our daughter Nicola and 2 friends Neil and Jo.
I have now set up a Justgiving page please feel free to pop along and make a donation for Leeds Cancer Hospital Head and Neck research. In the words of a famous supermarket Every Little HelpThank you in advance.
Good luck to everyone starting or going through treatment, email any questions. Next update will be when there’s something worth writing about.