In all ways this is a review I wish no-one would ever have to write be they your best friend or your very worst enermy. As I wish no-one to ever suffer or be affected by Cancer and a cure is achievable, so no-one ever has to go through it or see people they care about and love be treated for it.
As sometimes I think it must be worst for those seeing a loved one go through it as there is so little other than give love and support they can do. And yet when you have it you have no choice but to deal with it and try and remain at normal and positive as you can for those you care about.
However this is not a perfect world and so I would like to try and share with you some of the good and positive things that have happened to me recently. I am certainly not looking for sympathy as those who know me will understand what a private person I am. I simply would like to really encourage anyone who may go through it to try and be positive about what is happening at a dark time in there lives and how amazing the care and support from the National Health Care Professionals is.
I think this will be the hardest part for me to share with you as I have said earlier I do not want people to feel sorry for me. I want a positive message of hope and encouragement for all.
But I need to basically explain where I sit in the equasion.I first had a malignant melanomia about six years ago. After a few operations and additional treatment I as given the all clear and life returned to normal.
However about a month ago I became very ill this time and I was advised my cancer had returned and was now widespread in my liver and spleen. Plus most serious and urgent is there is evidence of it being transfered into my brain and unless immediate action is taken my life could be over within weeks.
This was such a bolt out of the blue, as I thought my problem was more muscular than anything and you never ever think these things could or would happen to you, despite my previous experience.
In truth I do not know if I can beat the disease this time, but I will give it my very best shot. I have a lot of wonderful family and friends and I realise how important they are to me and me to them and I will never give up and I will fight each part of the disease as best I can. And maybe even my experiences will help me as well.
As I have said my care has been such a positive experience I would love to share some of this with you because put quite simply when dealing with my cancer I have been treated like Royalty by dedicated Heath Professionals who really really care about their patients and provide a level of care I think must be the envy of the world.
When I was admitted to the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre in early November I had no-idea what to expect , how long I would be there or what would happen to me next. I just knew I was very ill and I needed immediate care.
No sooner than I had arrived I was given updated about my situation the course of action that would be started and while I did not quite get the full picture as I was a little godsmacked I at least took a couple of my sisters who made notes and explained everything to me once the initial shock had warn off and I had started to process information again.
It was easy to settle into life in the Hospital and I soon found I started to enjoy talking and getting to know all the very kind Nurses and Doctors. Yes you could say these Professionals are busy as they are always administering support, care, medications but despite this they found time to really talk, understand, listen and advise their patients.
I never ever felt like I was being a nuisence and I even left a bit guilty if I needed help or support as I could see just how busy they all were. But on no occasion did they ever not help or make me feel like I was important to them and my requirements where at the top of their long list of jobs to be done and a priority.
Over my time in the Hospital and as my drugs started to help my condition improve I got a lot of encouragement not only to talk to the Health Care Professions but also to talk to my fellow cancer sufferers. This I found really helpful as everyone situation was different, as I say my early treatment was mainly drugs but others were being treated for Chemotheropy, operations and Radiotheropy.
In a sense by listening and understanding eachother we were all encouraging eachother and I found and have made some friends out of this I will defintely be keeping in touch with, as while our treatment was different we shared a lot of personal stuff about our feelings and you realise this illness is not a personal thing and a lot of people are suffering sometimes worse things than you.
The staff in my Ward 10 at Mount Vernon I think were absolutely fantastic. Nothing was too much trouble and I got all the love, care and support from a group of dedicated professionals who really care about doing the job to the very best standard that is possible. Clearly they do not do it for the money although I would pay them at least x5 as much as they do because in my opinion they deserve it, pure and simple. Never in my life have I felt my well being was as important to anyone as I felt when I was in there and I cannot praise them enough.
Get this even the food was great. The menues had various choices for each course and the range and quality of the food was excellent. Certainly I have not always been the Healthiest eater but I certainly have learnt more about diet and I intend to have a better, more varied diet in future that can only help my health.
Time has shifted for me and while I knew I felt so much better, the pains was not as bad, other ailments seemed to be improving. The level of medication seems to have now improved some of my enlarged organs. It was with sadness I left the Hospital as I knew the care and support I had been given was first class. And while I am very lucky that in the short term my sister will be looking after me I will still miss all the lovely chats and fun I had dealing with all these amazing Heath Care Professionals. Who always smile and had a warmth and charm about them I could only admire, like and respect. Plus an exceelent level of humour at all the righttimes to bring a smile to your face.
I really hope the information I have shared with you today has been encouraging. I certainly feel I wanted to send out a postive message and explain how lucky I have been with all my care. In my opinion we have the best Cancer care in the world and I cannot and will not fault it in any way shape or form.
We are lucky enough to have Consultants, Doctors, Nurses and other Health Professionals that put their patients always first and really care about the job they do. They are so professional in the way they carry out all there duties. Always taking time and trouble to listen to patient worry or concerns despite being so busy.
I have nothing but respect for all the staff that looked after me. When I was growing up I used to think as the Stranglers once recorded 'No more heroes anymore' well I have a whole new set of heroes and people who looked after me who I consider to be my heroes.
I am sorry if I have gone on today, this review means a lot to me and in a world were it is easy to be critical for all the bad things that happen it has been important to me to explain my sitiation and show there is always positive happening and hopefully always light at the end of the tunnel.
Yesterday was another important day for me in treatment terms. The Consultant Dr Nathan who is just wonderful and always is honest, explains everthing and very supportive is very pleased with my progress. I feel so much better and the drugs are helping. Too early is say if they working as I will need to wait two more weeks for more tests, but I am quietly confident. As I strongly believe I am getting the best possible treatment for my cancer care and I am very greatful to the wonderful National Heath Service.
Thanks for reading my review I really hope my positive experiences will help anyone else facing this.
This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.
A lot of people hear the word cancer and it provokes lots of different emotions for them. When you are told you have cancer you feel suddenly very afraid and in turmoil wondering how you will get through the ordeal but there is another part of the cancer journey which is really tough and that is learning how to live again once you are a survivor. There is so much help out there when you are in the thick of treatment but afterwards the world seems to have changed a lot but you are suddenly on your own. I hope that this review will help give people some ways on how to survive surviving.
I was diagnosed with cancer three years ago. It came as a complete shock. I visited my GP to discuss feeling tired but I was expecting to be diagnosed with an iron deficiency at the worst, I didn't expect to be sent back and forth to various places for tests and eventually a diagnosis of a cancer. At the time my thoughts were all about how I would survive treatment as all you hear about it is how awful it is. I was shown around the hospital as though I was being shown around a new house, various parts were shown to me and I just felt overwhelmed by it all. I had chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The chemotherapy took three hours to be given and it meant I was in hospital for a good 6 hours in all. The treatment room was quite nice ,as nice as a treatment room can go with comfortable chairs, lots of pillows and set out a bit like a lounge so you can talk to other patients or you could draw the curtain around the bed if you'd rather have privacy. Chemotherapy did make me feel very ill but there were lots of tablets to take to help with various side effects but unfortunately very little could help with the tiredness which was disabling. I couldn't get out of bed some days and with a young child it was very difficult for me and my husband. Radiotherapy I found scary as it was a case of being all alone in the machine and even the radiotherapy department was underground so it all felt very surreal and scary.
One side effect I got a lot of was a poor blood count. The treatment killed lots of cells that fight infection and things so I felt like I was treading on egg shells, that if I caught so much as a cold it could be life threatening. I had several hospital stays and had to be isolated at one point due to infection. This was where I felt my worse both physically and emotionally and I think this is what had the biggest impact upon surviving. Ten months after beginning all of this I was given the all clear, I had reached remission. I have to go for regular check ups and there is a threat it could return.
When I was undergoing treatment my calendar was bursting with appointments, even though I didn't feel like going to any of them, it was full with treatment, check ups, GP visits, trips to support groups, visits by MacMillan nurses and so forth. Once I was discharged my calendar was very empty. At first I thought this was great, that I could do what I wanted and not be ruled by hospital life anymore but actually it felt very strange. I no longer had places I had to be and this meant I could just stay at home and do what I wanted. My little girl was at a nursery three days a week and on the other two days I would just stay in the house with her having cosy film viewings or doing jigsaws. I didn't talk to many friends as I felt so detached from them suddenly, we didn't have much in common anymore anyway as I had a child and they didn't and now I had gone through cancer it made it even more isolating. I had made some friends throughout the treatment process but found it difficult to talk to them knowing they were still undergoing treatment whilst I was 'better'. I began to feel really isolated and jealous. I wanted to do things but felt as though I couldn't, I was very afraid of over doing it, I was afraid of getting too tired or of getting an infection even though I was no longer having treatment but after ten months of living in fear it was hard to switch this off.
A day at a time
To recover you need to take it a day at a time. In fact at first I was taking it more like twenty minutes at a time and just concentrated on the most basic things such as making sure I ate and had good sleep. Anything else had to come secondary. With time I could take things in bigger chunks, hours at a time, half a day at a time and now i can look forward a bit better. I think when you first come out of treatment you imagine you'll slip back into your old life and everything will fall into place but it doesn't work like that.
I think it is so important to look forward. I kept looking back at various things and there was no way doing this could ever have a positive result. I found there were two things I would like back on one was my life before cancer and another was my time during treatment. I would crave my old life where I Had been relatively care free, when I had enjoyed my job and was loving being a new mum and I would wish I could go back to then. This obviously didn't happen and all it did was make me miserable and sad and wish I had a different life. I became very mournful and had a 'why me' attitude which was hard to snap out of. I also would look back on my treatment days and be angry at what it had snatched off me, I would think about how much I missed out during these months and how I would never get them back. This made me really upset and angry and again had no positive effect on me. I have come to realise that looking forward is the only way you can get through it. At first it's hard to do but now I can look forward properly. I can look forward to the summer months and playing in the park with my little girl and I'm looking forward to getting a job again. Looking back did nothing but upset me and I know that it wasted so much of my emotional capacity.
My diary was empty when I left the hospital treatments behind me and I liked this but it was dangerous as it meant I could isolate myself. I think it is important to make plans. At first you may not feel like planning much but even if it's just to arrange for a friend to drop by for an hour or to sit in a cinema one quiet afternoon with a friend... My plans at first were shaky, I would plan something very easy to achieve just like a phone call which wouldn't mean physical contact but this in itself was difficult as I was afraid my friends would be different with me but having things pencilled in my diary was really important. Eventually plans will become more challenging to whole days out. My latest plan is to go on holiday this summer and this is occupying my thoughts with practical approaches such as how to save up money in time, where we could go, what we will do when we are there. I am focussing on the practical side and not the emotional side as I know I will fret about being away from my local hospital. Planning like this has helped me to look forward and move my life forward to. It's made my days seem more achievable and have purpose again.
People kept telling me I should talk but when you feel completely on your own as though nobody in the world could possibly understand you then it is so patronising to be told by someone to talk to them. I couldn't see how talking could help, it wasn't going to give me my old life back and I was afraid that the more I talked, the more I would see people were different to me. I did eventually talk when I realised that I couldn't go on in the miserable state I was. I spoke to my GP and told her I needed some help because I wasn't coping with being a survivor. She arranged for some counselling for me and I also began to talk to my husband about how I was feeling. I think it was hard for him to know I was still so isolated despite being 'better'. I found that talking helped. Because people knew how difficult it was they helped me, they wouldn't push me to do things but would help me to plan things and give me the support and encouragement that I needed. Talking really did help, sometimes just saying things outloud would make me realise how irrational they were and how I had to stop the thoughts I was having, other times it would make me realise how normal a thought I was having and we would sometimes find things to laugh about. It definitely helped me to overcome many of the issues.
When you first stop treatment you are not better. You still feel very tired, there are still physical side effects and this is something you don't really anticipate so it's important to be sensible. You won't suddenly slot back into your old life and you won' be able to do everything you could. There may be permanent changes to your body which you have to live with. I think rushing into an old life will do more harm, you need to adjust slowly and get used to the new life you have and don't panic. I used to panic constantly that if I didn't sleep enough I would get tired again and would this make the cancer come back? If I got a cold would it make me just as ill again? Now I have learnt to be rational and control these thoughts which before would have sent me into a huge panic. It has taken a lot of time but I am nowhere near as panicked as I was.
There is loads of help out there when you're having cancer treatment and it doesn't have to stop once you're out of the treatment stage. You can still have ongoing support from various charities and many support groups love to welcome back survivors so they can help others and also so you can share your feelings. There were several survivors at the support group I attended but I just didn't realise it at the time. Having regular appointments with a counsellor helped me. Don't be afraid to seek help it is really important to still have support.
Living with cancer is very difficult. Even when you no longer are physically having treatment it still takes a big impact on your life and you can live in fear that it is going to come back. I have realised that by looking back and living in fear I wasn't actually living a life. I am now looking forward and making plans and feel as though my life is back on track now. I will never be who I used to be but I can accept that now and just appreciate the life that I do have now. Please do seek help if you feel you aren't coping.
I've been on both sides - as an onlooker and as the person with the disease. My memory has always been rubbish and I managed to block out a lot of my treatment so can't remember massive amounts, but I'll try! Sorry if it's disjointed and rambling but I'm trying to get this all out...
In 2008 I was in my third year of Uni. I was pretty stressed out but having a good time. I used to carry dozens of heavy books to and fro uni on a daily basis and I started to notice a lump in my neck. I assumed it was something to do with lugging my heavy bag around and since it didn't hurt at all, I wasn't too concerned about it. Fast forward a few months and my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer. Obviously I was devastated, it was my first experience of cancer and since no one likes to talk about it, I always thought of it as a death sentence.
I remember going with my brother to my mum's first chemotherapy. She took me in to see her doctor first and when she was in there he explained that they'd discovered she also had bone cancer. This was a real blow and it took all my strength to not break down crying there and then. It was enough having to cope with seeing my mum having this treatment, without that... when she got to her chemo I went in with her at first but hospitals and needles have always freaked me out and seeing all the patients with no hair started to bring it home to be, so I chickened out and brought my brother in to sit with her. I felt so pathetic sat there in the waiting room, tears in my eyes, looking at all the old couples who seemed to handle it a lot better than me! Towards the end my brother came out and I went in for a bit and seeing my mum chatting to another patient cheerily (this may surprise a lot of people, but often people are very chirpy in chemo suites) made it much more bearable. I didn't like the experience but I'm glad I did. It prepared me for later.
Not wanting to take any chances, my mum and dad carted me off to my GP to tell him about my lump. To tell you the truth, I didn't want to get it looked at. I didn't want to accept that this lump (which was like a golf ball sticking out of my neck!) wasn't going down any time soon and might be more sinister than I first thought. Sounds silly to want to bury my head in the sand after my mum's diagnosis but ignorance is bliss! All I remember from being told I had cancer was that the word cancer was never uttered once! I remember being told I was going to have chemo, and it wasn't until I had left the doctor's office that I realised I had cancer! I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and I was at stage 2. It's hard to tell you about my first lot of chemo, because I don't remember much of it! Whether that's me blocking it out or the drugs clouding my brain, it's like I only remember it in snapshots.
I had 6 months of chemotherapy, every 2 weeks. Having the needles being stuck into the backs of my hands wasn't pleasant, neither was the vomiting, but at first I was doing ok with it. About half way through I started to get a bit of a mental block and would vomit before they had put the needle in! Chemo does a lot of crap things to your body. It tires you out like you wouldn't believe. I would walk downstairs of a morning and have to sit on the bottom step for 15 minutes just to catch my breath! A lot of people lose their hair. I did. I thought this would be utterly devastating but I didn't give a toss. I can understand a lot of people (especially women) getting upset about losing their hair but to be perfectly honest I felt so bad I didn't care about my hair. Well, that and I had a gorgeous wig that I was excited about wearing! Your immune system gets hit badly and it's easier to get a bug (which can mean a hospital stay - I had a temperature once and ended up having a week stay in hospital) and food and drink sometimes tastes metallic or just plain weird. The vomiting only lasted a few days so after that it was the tiredness that would get me down. It sounds silly, but it's a tiredness like I've never known. Between treatments though I made sure I got out and about and saw my friends and did what I would normally do as much as I can, but I'll talk more about that later! In the mean time my mum had finished her treatment and was doing really well.
So after 6 months of chemo, the disease was gone, the lump had disappeared and I was in remission! I had forgotten an awful lot of it and started to forget it had even happened to me. Well, for a couple of months at least. Because I started to notice a lump in the same place as last time... So yep, it had come back. I was to have more treatment, stronger chemotherapy than last time and I'd have to have it as an inpatient, which meant long hospital stays. Oh, and I would have to have some evil looking contraption inserted called a Hickman line (little did I know this would be a god send!)
So I found myself booked into hospital, on a ward with 5 other women. They were all at least 100 years old (at least, that's what it seemed!). I was wheeled off the next morning to have my Hickman line inserted and they couldn't knock me out to do it so I was bricking myself. It was a bit painful but not as scary as I thought, and having the Hickman line meant they wouldn't have to keep injecting me for chemo and blood tests which was really nice for me! (a Hickman line sits under your collar bone, I don't really know the ins and outs of it, and to be honest I don't want to read up on it because it might make me feel a little pukey but google away if you're interested!) The chemo itself was the same as before, really except I was hooked up for four days. I had another week like this and then I had a little time to chill out before I had my big chemo, where I would be in hospital for 3 weeks. During this break time, we found out my mum's cancer had come back too, so yet another blow. She's about half way through her treatment now and coping pretty well with it.
Although my last chemo would last under a week, I had to be isolated because basically it could kill me! At first I thought it was fine, I wasn't throwing up, it was going well, I even coped having my stem cells put back in my body - the thought of which grossed me out a tad! But then my blood count did was it was meant to do and dropped to nothing and I basically felt like poo. I was throwing up, had chronic diarrhoea (sorry if you're eating) and generally feeling like I might not leave that room alive. I was being a tad melodramatic but I've never felt so awful and I hope I never do feel that bad again. Eventually my blood counts went up, I stopped throwing up, I could eat again, I started to feel a million times better. And that was it! The big bad was finished and now I just have a month's worth of radiotherapy and hopefully *crosses fingers* that'll be it. My cancer has once again been vanquished.
Now for the important bit! I do apologise for all that dull rambling but sometimes I guess I felt the need to get it all out! I've been on both sides; I've seen someone close deteriorate before my eyes because of the treatment, and I've been there myself and know what it feels like, but more importantly I know just how you want to be treated. You want to be as normal as possible, you want to go out and do the things you would normally do. Yes it's nice when people do things for you (and is very much appreciated) but you do want to continue being you. The last thing I wanted was to become a victim. I've had my wobbles and my tears don't get me wrong, but I've spent most of the time with a sunny outlook and I genuinely believe this has helped me. You'd be surprised just how powerful your brain can be! (Often on treatment I would 'give my brain a holiday' and pretend I was on a beach somewhere. Sounds daft but it worked for me!) If you're on treatment and feel like it's never going to end, plan to do lots of fun things for when you're off treatment. If you know someone with cancer and have no idea how to be around them, believe me, that's normal! Just let them know that you're there if they need you and knowing that you're there will be a great comfort. In my experience, cancer patients don't want to feel like victims, they don't want you to walk on egg shells around them, they just want to carry on as normal as possible. Offering to give them a lift to hospital if they need it, do some housework if they're too ill or tired to do it themselves is a massive help. You don't have to be a shoulder to cry on if that makes you feel awkward, doing jobs around the house will be greatly appreciated.
Cancer is a pretty crappy thing, there's no getting away from it. But it's not necessarily a death sentence and even on treatment I managed to have a bit of a social life so it's not all doom and gloom either. It is what you make of it I suppose. There are days when you want to feel sorry for yourself but most of the time you just get on with it.
I feel awful for only mentioning this as a note at the end, but all the doctors and nurses I came into contact with (except that one nurse who was a right miserable cow!) were marvellous. I never once felt like I was just a symptom, or a disease, I felt like I was a person.
I know most of this was me blathering on about myself, but I really hope this was useful in some way. Thanks for reading.
OK I know this is a tough one for some people but there are a lot of misconceptions about hospices, I hope this review helps to shed some light.
For some people the word 'hospice' conjures up images of suffering, death, fear and despair but they are also places filled with hope, laughter, friendship and kindness.
I worked as a volunteer in a hospice for three years and can honestly say I have never enjoyed working anywhere as much in my life.
The hospice movement as it stands in the UK today was started in the 1950s by Dame Cicely Saunders. She believed that patient care should go beyond just the physical provisions and should encompass the spiritual and psychological needs of the individual also.
Nearly everyone who ever goes through the doors of a hospice for the first time whether they are a patient, a relative, a care provider or even a workman going in to fix the plumbing will feel anxious to some degree. This is all down to the fact that most people don't know what a hospice is really like inside.
The first thing that strikes you as you walk in is how light the place is. There is also a sense of space and openness throughout the building. Most windows will look out onto gardens or courtyards, there is usually a feeling that everything has been designed to be visually peaceful. The décor and furnishings are all in calming pastel and neutral colours. Nearly all doors inside the building are unmarked save for perhaps the toilets. The feeling throughout is closer to a clean modern hotel than any kind of medical building.
The people who work in a hospice usually comprise of nursing staff, volunteers and the admin team. Everybody is friendly and approachable, people who are pushy, arrogant, rude, aggressive etc. do not work in hospices, the staff are chosen for their personalities as well as their qualifications.
Some hospices just have in-patient facilities, some have provisions for day-care as well.
When I first went for an interview, I met the sister in charge of day-care and had the chance to ask any questions I had, I was also given a guided tour. I was shown the various lounges, kitchens, restaurants, bedrooms, the hairdressers, non-denominational chapel etc, etc. I also found out about the services that the hospice provided. Some of these surprised me.
***Day Care Facilities***
People will often go to a hospice once a week, sometimes more, sometimes less. They go for lots of different reasons. They may just want to talk to someone who has the same condition as themselves or they may want to talk to a member of staff about all sorts of things that may be going on in their life. Relatives of patients can also talk to the staff about anything at all. One thing you start to realise is that there is always time in a hospice, no one is ever in a hurry to go and do something else.
There are often various complementary therapies offered, reflexology, massage, aromatherapy etc. There are art and craft facilities, often under the guidance of trained artists. There may be organised day trips, visits to the theatre or local experts might come in and give talks or demonstrations.
People would sometimes go to the hospice because they could have a cooked meal without having to make it themselves. Or maybe they wanted to have a bath where they knew they were safe.
All these facilities are provided free of charge.
One thing that surprised me is that the hospice I worked at had a 'discharged patient day' once a month. Patients who no longer needed to regularly use the hospice facilities could go and spend time in this wonderful environment.
***In Patient Facilities***
People go and stay in a hospice for a host of different reasons. If they are on medication, sometimes they will go into the hospice for a few days so that the correct dosages can be properly worked out. Or they may go in for a week or so while their carer goes on holiday.
Of course some people have a medical condition that will not improve. Many people choose to be in their own home surrounded by their loved ones but also the calm and caring environment of the hospice means some people choose to stay there.
Staff are always available to talk to and if there are relatives who have recently lost a loved one they can go and talk in confidence. The staff are there to help with all aspects of patient care.
I remember the time I spent in the hospice as the most rewarding thing I have ever done. The patients that I met were more alive and had more spirit than you could possibly imagine. Every day was filled with laughter. Yes there was sadness too but the counselling team is not just there for the patients and their families, everyone who works there is looked after as well.
There are many issues connected with hospices including funding and availability but these are areas that can be addressed other than in this review.
If you are affected by any of the issues in this review and need to speak to someone, you can contact Macmillan on 0808 808 00 00 or visit www.macmillan.org.uk or alternatively contact your GP.
It's a terrible thing to realise but almost everyone can relate to the pain and heartache caused by Cancer. It's a horrendous disease and makes even the strongest people crumble.
I'm going to share with you my experience of it, how we dealt with it and all the crazy emotions I went through and of course the aftermath. I hope by sharing this I can help somebody else or at least help somebody to realise that you're not alone.
I'm now 20 years old but when I was 8 my mother was diagnosed with cancer. It was very agressive and within 8 months of being diagnosed her health seriously deteriorated and by December 1997, Cancer had claimed her life.
My earliest memory is of me climbing onto the kitchen worktop looking for a treat, maybe a biscuit, I can't really remember what... but I accidently knocked the jar of teabags and the jar smashed into pieces on the floor.
I leapt down and ran out of the kitchen crying hysterically, I had broken mammy collectable and very expensive jar!!!
Hiding around the garden shed still crying, my mam came and put her arms around me and carried me into the house, "the neighbours will think we're trying to murder you!" she said and kissed my head.
It was then I realised that my mammy was the most important person in my world. I had broken something very special to her yet she held me and consoled me, she wasn't the slightest bit angry.
She was always a strong woman, she was well known and well respected in our area, the turn out at her funeral was huge and the number of mourners couldn't fit in the church. Ask anyone and they'll tell you what a brilliant woman she was. She was kind, caring and her kids like most mothers were her world.
She worked out regularly, didn't smoke nor did she drink. Nobody could predict that such a young healthy woman could be as ill as she would be. At the age of just 33, she was dead.
I don't remember the diagnosis, nor think I would have understood it if I did. I do remember the home help nurses coming out, the wheelchair under the stairs, the wigs and the chair toilet that was also kept downstairs.
I remember seeing my hero slowing fading in front of me. My mam who wouldn't ever let anything hurt me being so terribly hurt herself.
As far as I'm aware (from what my dad later told me) my mother had a stomach ulcer that was misdiagnosed and she was being treated for trapped wind. The ulcer was cancerous, by the time they discovered it her time was almost up.
One of the worst memories I have of the Cancer is when my mam started losing her hair during Chemotherapy. I walked in the bathroom to find her a crumpled heap on the floor, crying and cluthing hair that had fallen out. It was the most heartbreaking thing to witness and as an 8 year old, what do you do? How could I console her? I told her I loved her, I knew she wasn't going to get better.
We had some good memories during the last months, my dad had a video camera and recorded one of the home help nurses giving my mam an injection. She was eating a pasty at the time, the nurse said "you'll feel a sharp scratch", my mams face was more concerned with eating the pasty until the sharp scratch arrived and her expression changed to discomfort and she dropped the pasty. Silly but one of the few things that made us smile.
Being the proud woman she was she refused to wear her wig when she lost her hair instead opting for a bandana, everytime I see one I think of her... she pulled it off, she was still my beautiful mammy.
She also hated the fact that she had to use a wheelchair, but she still refused to give up the school run. My dad pushing her to school to come and collect us.
As the weeks went by she was hospitalised, first at a local hospital, then at a cancer hospital in a nearby city and finally at St Annes Hospice. Being 8 years old I didn't know the meaning of the word hospice, I had no idea it was a place where people came to die and I still held on a glimmer of hope that mammy was strong and she'd get better, though deep down I knew that wasn't true.
I feel so much regret, as I didn't understand how little time we had left, I used to do colouring books at the hospice, rather than sit with my mam and tell her how brave she was and how much I loved and respected her.
The day she died, I remember our visit. We went to the hospice at about 3pm and my nan and grancha picked me, my little brother and sister up at around 4. I think they must've known as my dad stayed with her and at 5pm 6th December 1997, my mam and my hero, passed away losing her fight.
When my dad came home everybody was hysterical, we knew what had happened. I cried until I didn't have any tears left as did my little sister. My brother however, didn't. He stayed silent, not uttering a word or making a sound... and he stayed like this for some time.
The scariest thing was seeing my dad cry, I'd never seen a grown man cry, especially someone as big and as powerful as my dad. It was frightening.
Christmas 1997 was horrible, tainted with sadness, though me and my siblings were spoilt rotten. Mammy knew it would be the last one.
The next few months, all I remember is a lot of tears and the lack of speech from my brother.
Grief affects everybody in different ways, me and my sister cried, my brother went mute and my dad turned to drink.
Almost 12 years on and although the pain has faded, it'll never go away. Cancer not only took my mother but it took my father and brother with it. My father is now an alcoholic, he just couldn't cope with losing the love of his life. Despite his problem though, I have nothing but respect for him, single handedly bringing up 3 young children. I love my father to pieces.
My brother has also suffered terribly, he now has mild schizophrenia, ocd and social anxiety. He won't leave the house, has no friends and shuts himself away, he's just turned 18.
My and my sister handled it better, though we still often get upset, recently she was crying to me because she thinks she's forgetting my mam and it hurts me that even after all this time my family are still hurting.
I'll never forget my mam and the pain will never go away, though it has faded with time. There are times though when it hurts so bad, when I think of her and wish she was here. When I passed my exams... she would've been so proud. When I moved in with my boyfriend.... she would've loved him and just to think about the future I don't have with her. She won't meet her grandchildren, won't see her children get married.
Cancer doesn't just take the life of it's sufferer, it takes the lives of those close to the sufferer and we have and will continue feeling the aftershocks.
Sometimes I curse god, why take my mam? when theres rotten people in the world. Why take such a good person? What did we ever do to deserve it?
Unfortunately these questions will never be answered and my mammys never coming back. I just have to remind myself of the memories I do have and remember what a special woman she was.
I 100% support Cancer Research charities, the less people who go through what we did the better. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.
This morning my dad died after a long battle with cancer. The end was peaceful, a complete contrast to his life over the past couple of months. When I first found out that he was likely going to die from mouth and throat cancer I did as much research as I could, reading books and websites and trying to arm myself with as much knowledge of cancer as possible. However, none of the books or the websites or the professionals that I spoke to really prepared me for my dad's illness. Back in March 2008 I searched the internet trying to find an account of someone who had supported a relative through mouth and throat cancer but found nothing that was useful to me. I hope that if I write this maybe someone will read it when they're in the same position that I was and maybe it might help them to prepare for it.
My dad's cancer started in his mouth and throat and spread to his neck. I'm afraid that I can't give all the medical details because I don't have them. This article is just about my experience because I don't know enough to write about the cancer is general and I'm certainly not in a position to write anything from dad's point of view.
My dad had radio therapy the first time that he had cancer, when it came back he had radio therapy again but this time had to have a lot of his tongue cut out. I wasn't there when he had the radio therapy, he didn't want me or my sister around (he said he wanted to protect us from it all) but I remember going up to the hospital after he had his tongue cut out and being terrified. When we got into the room it was quite horrific. He had huge scars all up both sides of his neck from where they had to cut it open. This is something that you should be prepared for. It's a horrible vision and it obviously looks so painful. I'm very squeamish so I found it particularly difficult.
Obviously when you remove all or part of the tongue it makes speech more difficult. My dad could still talk after having his tongue removed, it was never as clear as it had been previously but it did get more clear as time went on (until the point where his tumour grew too much for him to talk at all, but more on that later).
As the cancer progressed he lost more and more weight. This can come as quite a shock, especially if you don't see someone for a while. The cancer doesn't just eat away at the fat but also the muscle. My dad had always been a big man, not fat but well built. By the time he died he was less than a size six (at my estimate).
Eating and drinking eventually and gradually becomes impossible with this kind of cancer so my dad opted to have a tube put into his stomach. I'm not sure if this was a good thing or not. It did prolong his life by about six months, possibly more and that was what he wanted. He wanted to live as long as possible and he was willing to put up with the pain but by the time he died his quality of life had deteriorated so much I'm not sure if I would choose to have the tube if it was me.
He didn't eat anything for months, everything including water and medication went into his tube.
By the time my dad died the cancer had spread to his neck. I never looked under his bandage because I'm squeamish and there was no need for me to but apparently it was literally just holes in his neck. What I could see looked very painful and I'm surprised that he could put up with it.
Throughout the last six to nine months of his illness my dad was very anxious but the doctors were able to medicate him for this, which eased it quite a lot although never fully eradicated it.
The one thing I would say is very important is getting the medication right. The difference between my dad when his medication wasn't right and when his medication had been fixed was staggering. Without the right medication he struggled to sit up. When they got the medication right he was able to walk around and was quite a bit more independent.
As the tumour got bigger it became more and more difficult for my dad to talk. I don't think it was impossible but it was very painful for him and the speech was not clear. The nurses told me that with this kind of cancer it can be even more difficult for people to deal with it because they can't talk to anyone about it. Sometimes talking helps ease some of the fear and anxiety but my dad didn't even have that.
The other thing I found very difficult to deal with was that my dad didn't look like himself any longer. The way the tumour grew made the shape of his face change until he was no longer recognisable. It also made it impossible for him to smile or really have any expression.
Towards the end he started to sleep more and more. Last week he could stay awake for maybe five or ten minutes, he could hold short conversations (he used a note pad) and could even occasionally talk but as the week went on the amount of time that he could keep his eyes open for got less and less. On Saturday during the day he was able to stand and walk with assistance, although he was very unsteady on his feet but apart from when it was necessary for him to move he wouldn't stay awake for longer than a minute or so, even when his favourite football team were winning their match!
At midnight on Saturday he fell asleep and never woke up again. For 33 hours he slept, sometimes more peacefully than others. The nurses informed us that he was aware of who was around him but nothing would wake him up. There were people talking to him, the television was on, there were people walking in and out of the house and it's not a quiet neighbourhood that he lives in. He was just in a really deep sleep. This morning I was called into his room. We held his hand, told him that we were there and then he just stopped breathing. It was a very peaceful death.
I hope that this might be useful to someone preparing for the same thing, but really it was just very therapeutic for me to write, so thank you for reading it.
(Excuse the typo's, this hasn't been proof read yet.)
Cancer unfortunately affects us all, in one way or another, whether we are unlucky enough to suffer with this horrific illness ourselves or someone close to us does. It is thought more people are at risk of suffering with cancer now, but there is more chance of surviving than previously. Cancer refers to disease where the growth of abnormal cells grow and attack the body.
It doesn't appear to matter how old you are, where you live, how much money you have, cancer is not targeted at anyone specific.
Cancer and my mum
I have my own experiences of living with someone with cancer, l know what a horrendous struggle it is for everyone involved. I know the heartache, the frustration, the fear and the not knowing what to do or what to say.
A few years ago my mum had pain in her right breast. She didn't think too much of it, but as it was persistant she thought she should get it checked out. She did so, and the doctor thought it was a virus. Some weeks later she went back to her doctor with the same problem, the doctor sent her for a mammogram.
As l was listening to our answer phone messages one day, there was a message from the hospital asking my mum to phone straight back. I knew immediately something was wrong, and so did my mum, both our hearts skipped a beat.
When we found out my mum had breast cancer, it felt like something you hear other people talking about. Not my mum. You experience the shock and the fear and you realise how fragile life really is. But also l knew l had to be strong for my mum at a time when l felt really weak.
I can honestly say that the hospital was great. Within a week she was in hospital being operated on, and the lump was removed. So there wasn't a lot of time to think too much. She wasn't in hospital long at all, and when she came home, a nurse would visit daily to dress the wound and see how she was getting on. At this point l was the only one living at home, so l felt it was my responsibility to do all l could. My sisters were very good, but they also had their own families.
My mum later found she had to have another operation because their were more cells that may have caused further problems. This again was traumatic for my mum and the whole family. Then after that my mum had to go through many weeks of radiotherapy, which can cause lots of nasty side affects, but my mum managed without suffering too much.
My mums lump was a moderate size but it was a low grade cancer, which was something and thank goodness it hadn't spread and her lymph glands were clear. The doctors were optimistic that they could treat her effectively.
Im proud of how my mum coped during this time, and how she stood up to radiotherapy. She is a strong character and it is some years later now, and she has thankfully (fingers crossed) had no return of the evil cancer. It was a very traumatic experience, and l know that my mum has been one of the very lucky ones. We are lucky and even though we moan about the NHS, they are really a very good health service and saved my mums life. They reacted to my mums cancer quickly and affectively.
It was the time after treatment that were the hardest for my mum. She felt unsure of the future and afraid that it might come back, living with the what if's and facing years of having to take tablets to keep the cancer at bay. But she came through it.
Others unfortunately are not so lucky. What hit me this week is hearing that Jade Goody's cervic cancer has spread. Its heart breaking to think that a young woman should have to go through this. That her two young sons may have to face life without a mother. For all Jades faults no one should have to go through this. It doesn't make sense to me at all. I sympathise with this family and wish more could be done.
Treatments are definitely improving and prognosis for cancer sufferers is improving. But for some unlucky people like Jade its all too little. I hope that new treatments can prolong her life and the many others who battle against cancer.
All we can do is make sure that we take advantage of screening programmes. Some may argue that the screening programmes are not efficient as they should be. Cervical screening does not occur until you are 25, and whilst l was rather pleased about not having to go through this at a younger age, the question must be asked, is it enough?
I urge people to know the signs and check for lumps, its annoying, but it really can save your life.
So... I'm an 18 year old girl... whos been pretty protected most of her life. I'm well educated... and just about to go to university!
My dad has recently ( in the last year) trained to be an electrician at his ripe ol' age of 39. He did one of those "pay a few grand become a C&G qualified electrician in a few weeks" courses. He passed and soon after got a job in london. we live in west wales. So he commuted to london - stayed in london during the week... came home at weekends - for around 10weeks. on one of his weekends home... he had a lump come up on his neck..
mum got worried as it was growing right before our eyes... so took him to hospital. By this time i was then on study leave... studying hard for my exams knowing ive got to get ABB to get into the university of my choice...
so he comes home. Takes a look at me... walks over to the back door.. puts his head against the door and starts crying. Now my dad is 6"2 and quite big built... i have never seen him cry other than this. I knew something was seriously wrong.
mum came in, saw my dad... went over to him and started sobbing on his shoulder. I cried before i even knew.
He came over to me.. with a cup of sweet tea... "Claire, the doctor told me i have cancer. i'm so sorry."
i cried.. and cried and cried. in fact im crying now.
My mum told me "its ok.. hes got hodgekins lymphoma.. if your going to get cancer... as silly as it sounds this is the one to have!!" i couldnt see anything good about this. CANCER. my dad... MY DAD had cancer. this cant be right.
he started his treatment... has chemo every 2 weeks... its been about 3 months now? maybe 4.. its gone quickly.. i did my exams amongst picking my 3 younger brothers up from school... and general helping out... and everything went so fast.
So thank god... my dad is still with me. He has the rest of his chemo to finish.
Cancer is a horrible thing. My dad has given money to cancer research every month since i can remember... My dad got seen to really quickly... his treatment started within a week. without the funds... things like this can't happen.
I just pray everyday that my dad will survive this... and be strong for us kids and my mum.
i love you dad. <3
At the end of September last year, my other half and I both saw that the left side of my Father's had dropped and substantially he couldn't move that side of his mouth. Okay I thought he's had a number of mini strokes in the past and he is just having another at the moment, in the past we have given the Doctor a call and he has told him to rest for a week and it will pass. So on the last Friday in September we call out the on-call GP and get my Dad assessed. He advises us to go up the Hospital that evening. We did that and the Hospital said that my Father's tablets are reacting badly with him and to see our GP on Monday morning.
So we take my Dad down to the Doctors first thing on Monday morning to attempt to get this progressed. That was at 8.30. By 10am that morning we're back at the Hospital in the A&E Department as the GP had referred him straight away.
Throughout the day he was examined by a number of Doctors, my Dad also had 2 MRI scans performed and a number of X Rays done as well. As you can imagine, this really set the mind thinking as to what this could be, as I was now in the mindset that this was a bit more serious than what had been said previously.
At 3.45pm after numerous Coffees's the Doctor returned and advised me that she had a few more questions that she wanted to ask me. We went off to a side room. When we got in the room she laid the facts straight to me. The tests had shown that my Father has double Lung Cancer which had already spread to the Brain with two secondary tumours clearly visible in the scans that had been performed. To add to it the prognosis was only three months at the best and the chances were he wasn't even going to get that far. The Doctor's said that they were 95% sure that it was what they said it was. So as far as I was concerned they were bang on, the date was October 1st.
I was silent for what seemed an eternity; in fact it was only 15 seconds. Being shocked was an understatement as I felt the walls move in around me and fely as if time had stopped still. My Dad was lying in a Bed and he was dying with a terminal disease that he didn't even know he had. The main word in this being 'terminal' as in untreatable. Three months at best she said to me, that makes it end of December. Far from a Happy New Year.
I left the room speechless, light headed and to be honest not really a position I'm used to being in. I felt completely disconnected from the entire world, every thing sounded as if I had cotton wool in my ears. The world could have stopped spinning and I wouldn't have noticed, let alone actually cared. I felt angry, pent up anger inside me and without actually knowing why I was like this meant I was actually confused as well.
What I couldn't understand, and I suspect the main reason for my anger, was that my Dad stopped smoking six years ago at the age of 66. So to have this happen when he gave up was unfair and cruel; the trouble was the damage was already done.
I called all family members straight away and let them know. The only person that I didn't want to know was my Dad. Not knowing how he would take this and how he would react meant that I needed to protect him as much as I could, there was a 5% chance after all.
Fast forward a week later, Tuesday 9th October. The Doctors had now confirmed that it was Cancer of the Lung and Brain; it was now time for them to tell my Dad. My Dad had already met a Professor from the Royal Marsden; a Hospital that specialises in Cancer patients, so he had only the faintest of ideas. The Doctor told him straight, my Dad shrugged it off and said "If that's what I've got, then that's what I've got." Couldn't believe his reaction, but that was my Dad. I sat with him for another 10 minutes and we hugged, had a cry and decided we got on with it. End of story.
On the Wednesday 10th he was admitted to the Royal Marsden and an appointment was made for 2.15pm that day, we needed to pick up Dad from his place, due to his now terminal condition he had forgotten to take his tablets, this meant that he was confused and sometimes incoherent to what was happening around him. So much so that I had to break into his house to get him as he had forgotten how to open the front door. When we arrived at the Marsden he was very weak and couldn't walk, the shock of it all was now coming out as well and I thought to myself that this is going to be quick. I hoped from the diagnosis time that it would be a speedy process for him as I didn't want him to suffer at all. We had to lift him into a wheelchair so that we could move him. This was just the start off it as the rapid decline had now started.
The Marsden placed him on steroids to allow the swelling in his brain caused by the tumours to subside, strangely this effectively made his symptoms disappear and meant that he was once again agile and with it once more. This made things easier for everyone at least we had a chance to speak to him about this in some depth. At the time he was fully aware of what he has and what the eventual outcome would be, all his requests and wishes have been carried out, I even managed to get his older sister to visit him. The amazing thing is that they haven't spoken for 19 years and this is the first time that they have been in the same room together. It wasn't easy to get them there but at least the feud has now been resolved.
The following week the Doctors took him off the steroids and my Dad's condition slipped again very quickly to an extent that he cannot walk, talk, and needs help when going to the lavatory. Due to the brain tumours, he is was constantly hallucinating and kept asking the same questions over and over again. All this in just under 4 weeks since he was diagnosed, therefore you can imagine that treatment would be pretty ineffective, in fact of he was too far gone to have any sort of Radiotherapy then this would sped up the advancement of him passing anyway. So any form treatment was out of the question, all we could do is make him comfortable, make sure the TV is on and all things like that. By this stage I felt utterly useless as his only Son as there was jack I could do in this matter now.
All his medications bar a mild anti-depressant were stopped; this reduced the prognosis of three months down to weeks. To be honest I knew he didn't have long left as 1st November is the anniversary of my Mum passing away, although I wish it to be quick and it has been for him, it would be a cruel joke for have gone the same day.
Before he was taken off his medication, I spent an evening with him. All we were doing was drinking Tea and watching TV in his room. We had a chat about things as any Father and Son does, but he held my hand tightly all the time I was there. In the end I left at 10pm and felt that we had said our goodbyes to each other that night, he even hugged me when I left and felt that he didn't want me go and for my Dad that was pretty rare. I felt it was that night that we spent time with each other was purely the last chance that I would ever have to be with him and chat. He is an old fashioned parent that shows little or no emotion, but is more than happy to tell everyone how proud he is of me when he speaks to people. Knowing that others know about my achievements and the fact I didn't have to tell them is something that I can live with that.
By now he had been moved from the Marsden to a Nursing Home and I used to go up everyday and see him get weaker, speech slurring even more. He eventually lost feeling and movement in his left side as the Cancer took a tighter and tighter grip on his body. He still hugged me as tight as he could when he saw me and also has a laugh with the nurses as well. Being confined to bed means that he has little or no appetite for food or drink, but still manages to make an effort to drink a cup of Tea whether it's from the catering staff or from the Restaurant.
For the family there was no end of visitors, some family members needing a little kick to get there to see him. Everyone was marvellous in helping out, especially members of his close family that have just pulled together. They have also respected me as the only Son and have asked me if they can do things that feel is important to them as well as my Dad. In fact there was only one person who just barged in the Nursing Home to see him and in the process upset my Father to the stage that he would be awkward and play up when I was there with him. She was barred in the end from seeing him, something that I didn't like having to do, but unfortunately was necessary.
I think that it is a safe assumption to say that the years of Smoking caused this illness, and it was so advanced that no treatment could have been given. So I hope that someone out there in "Internet land" listens as the result of seeing a loved one being confined to Bed when previously throughout his life he has been moved from being what he was to what he is now within a space of a month, this is not only truly heartbreaking and so painful for the family to go through as I personally think it could so easily be have been prevented.
I really should mention the work of the Nurses and Doctors in the Hospital as well. What they do in the circumstances of the patients that they deal with is truly something that I know I could not. They were there for him since the moment he was admitted, and I really do think that he rung his buzzer to flirt with the Nurses when he said he needed the lavatory, but the main thing is that he been made comfortable and that is what he needed at the time.
Even though my Father had double Lung Cancer as there is a tumour in each Lung, it is the tumours in the Brain that is causing all the bodily functions to be impacted which is the only visible area of this that can be seen, if it wasn't for the tests that had been carried out by the Hospital then we would have assumed that this was just a stroke. If the Brain tumours had not occurred then it may have been possible that the Lungs could have received treatment.
On October 1st I knew I just had to be prepared for that time and I am sure that as prepared as one can be for something like this it will never be enough, so all I could do was remember the good times as well as the bad and make sure that I gave myself time for what I needed to have.
My Father passed away at 14:05 on Tuesday November 20th 2007, this was seven weeks and a day from when he was diagnosed, he was with Family when he went, just that I wasn't there. My other half and I had decided that one of us should stay overnight and do shifts. I had stayed the night before and sat with him, Dad couldn't talk at all but blink with his eyes when I asked him a question. I left on the Tuesday morning and went home to get a few bits and freshen up. At 14:00 I got a phone call to say get up to Nursing Home. In the end I arrived five minutes after he has passed away. I wasn't angry at all that I wasn't there; in fact I still think that Dad went when he was ready and not before and whether I was there or not was one of those things. Everyone else waited outside and I sat with him for a good half hour just talking and holding his hand. He still had his eyes open yet he was totally at peace in every single way. I said thank you to him for being my Dad and kissed him goodbye on the forehead, I also asked him to make sure that he spent some quality time with my Mum and say hello to her from me. I hope the message was delivered. They have now been reunited after 19 years and have got all the time in the world to be together now.
I dont really remember my cancer experience much because i was diagnosed with it when i was three, i had leukemia ALL ( acute lymphatic leukemia).
I had to get a pick line or a semi permanent drip line for chemotherapy to be injected, and i was ok and everything was going well until i had a relapse and the cancer started developing in my spinal fluid, I had to start attending two different hospitals which must have been hard on my parents as i had to visit both in the same day most days of the week. One was for chemotherapy and the other for radiotherapy this time as well.
I remember disliking radiotherapy more though because i had to get a plaster cast of my face done which was scary, as the treatment wasn't as well computerized then, to make a plastic one for the treatment room.
It involved me lying alone in a dark room lying on my chest with my face in the plastic mask, while the doctor blasted radio active waves at my spine, the room also smelled really strange like sewage or something because of the radiation.
I lost all of my hair twice and sometimes i had to fast in order to go under anesthesia so that the dead bone marrow and blood cells could be pumped out and new donor sets put in. I was always feeling a lot of pain the day after this and i couldn't take deep breathes for a day either.
I remember one easter holiday i couldn't eat for 10 days because i got really bad mouth ulcers and couldn't even talk properly.
I used to get really bad temperatures all the time which used to spoil big family events which i feel really bad about.
I don't know who i got blood and bone marrow donations from, but i thank whoever they were i would like to thank them very much and encourage everyone who can to do so, as i wouldn't be here writing this today without their generosity.
I have been clear for almost 10 years know but still attend 6 different clinics on a regular basis.
It still is a bit awkward when people ask me about the scars the pick lines left behind, but i dont really mind talking about my experiences any more and have joined a cancer awareness youth forum for young people with or who have had cancer in the past, of which i have been a member for around 5 or 6 years now and have made some great friends who shared my experience.
Though i do have to live up to the sad fact that we may loose members for unpreventable reasons.
Im really not sure if my review is going under the correct title, but to be honest with you, i really DONT give a monkey's if it is or not!
I have just lost my cousin to a massive brain tumour, and my heart feels like it has been ripped out and smeared all over my face!
My cousin was diagnosed 12 years ago with a brain tumour and we were all devestated, as you can imagine, you hear the word TUMOUR and you all panic and start reaching for the hankies, oh my god she's going to die, she's so young, life really is a bitch, why her?
She was diognosied 12 years ago after going to her GP complaing of severe head aches, he put it down to Womans Problems and said she was suffering from Migranes and gave her pill's to deal with the head aches.
When these pill's did her no good at all, my aunty fought tooth and nail and got her seen by the Mr Big and once she was checked out and fullly screened, the tumour was discovered, right away she was put on a course of Radiothearapy.
She, as i call her responded very well and the tumour seemed to dissapear as quick as it had apperared.
My beautiful cousin had to go every 6 months to make sure her tumour had not come back again, and she was clear for almost 6 years.
Due to the treatment she received, she was told she would probably never be able to conceice naturally. however she proved all these clever medical peope wrong and against all add's fell pregnant with her son,, from the start of her pregnancy the doctors kept a strict eye on her and she was in and out of hospital and each time the result was good-ALL clear!
About 6 months ago she started complaining of severe head aches and went back to her doctor, he in turn refered her back to the hospital and we found out that her tumour was back and this time it was un-treatable, as you can inagine we as a family fell apart.
My cousin coped with the new's amazling well and went about her day to day business as usual, she made sure she was up and ready for her little boy, she washed him and dressed him and kissed him goodbye every day, and after he had gone to my aunty's for the day,she went back to bed as she was so unwell.
This routine went on for about 5 weeks, until one day her husband could not wake her and we knew then we had lost the light from our lives.
She had develpoed Pheumiona and her tumour had burst, family and friends were called to her bedside and the hospital chaplin was called to read her the last right's!
My brave, beautiful cousin died on the day her beautiful son turned 4.
In the flick of an eye lid one life ended and one carried on.
As i said before, my review is probably in the wrong place, maybe it should go under bereavement maybe it should'nt, wherever it ends up CUZ just remember how much i love you and what an amazing impact you had on my life!
Thank you for reading x x
Just been going through all my notes from my A Levels and came across another few articles on the topic of cancer. Ive tried to make them more concise and form an informative essay from them as I feel that cancer is often misunderstood. Cancer is quite a general term and refers to many non-infectious diseases characterised by the abnormal and uncontrollable growth of cells. The resulting mass of cells of tumour can invade and destroy surrounding normal body tissues and organs. The abnormal cells can spread to other parts of the body through the lymphatic system or the blood stream. Cancer is some cases can be fatal to humans.
Different types of cancer include benign tumours, which are something we all carry e.g. moles on the skin, but they are enclosed and not dangerous to human health unless a change in environment causes them to grow. Therefore a benign tumour is non-invasive and noncancerous. Secondly, malignant tumours or neoplasms are tumours that are not enclosed and invade and destroy surrounding tissues, they may also produce secondary deposits elsewhere in the body known as metastases (cancer at a single site starts to spread), and they are also likely to recur after removal. The incidence of cancer has grown considerably in the 20th century and there is also an increasing prevalence in the elderly too. Lung cancer had the highest prevalence rate by the end of the 20th century.
There are three main causes of cancer that are known as oncogenes and basically refer to genes or cells that promote cell growth and duplication that have undergone mutations to activate them, causing them to grow too quickly or erratically and cause tumours. Carcinogens refer to environmental factors that damage normal cells preventing them from replicating functional and normal cells, instead they reproduce into parasitic cells with no function. For example, long-term exposure to smoking will cause genes to mutate and will quite possibly result in lung cancer. 80% of cancers are thought to be caused this way. Secondly viruses, which are involved in the development of oncogenes, cause some cancers as certain viruses may copy parasitic cells and reproduce them instead of the normal functioning cell, e.g. Epstein Barr Virus and Hodgkins disease. Lastly, certain cancers are thought to have a genetic link, e.g. cancer of the colon often has high correlation rates with youngsters when one or both parents have it.
There are many different types of cancer, each specialised to a certain part or organ of the body. Firstly oesophageal cancer affects 7 per 100,000 in most countries so there is a fairly low prevalence however it does have areas where there are high clusters for example in rural France in Brittany. There is a large amount of illicit brewing of alcohol here which has been thought to have an effect. In SE Africa there is also a large rate with the introduction of growing maize and the brewing of maize based gin and it is thought that contamination somewhere may cause cancer. If high levels of chemicals e.g. nitro amines are introduced at high levels they may become carcinogenic and therefore cause cells to mutate within the body.
Stomach cancers geographical distribution is on a gradient from E to W with high prevalence in eastern populations. In Japan they have a high intake of salty fish with huge variations in diet, the high incidence of stomach cancer has also been linked to genetic blood group as A stand a 20% higher chance of getting it. In 1983 Mayer looked at migration studies to see if genetics or environment were the main cause, when the Japanese migrate and move to a new area it was found that after half a generations change of diet stomach cancer had decreased suggesting that the environment and diet were responsible. In the 1950s stomach cancer increased in the UK N but decrease in S, could this have been linked to diet? Increasing affluence has also led to a decrease in stomach cancer therefore it would suggest that money provides a better diet.
Breast cancer also has an interesting geographical distribution in that it is relatively low in Asia and Eastern Europe but high in the Western world a reversal in gradient with stomach cancer. Again Japanese migration was looked at and it appeared that a gene protected the Japanese as they had very low rates of breast cancer. When the Polish people migrated to the USA the incidence fell suggesting that it was caused or brought forth by something in the Polish environment. Again it is opposite to stomach cancer when it comes to the UK, there is high prevalence in the S compared to the N, suggesting that affluence may play a part. Women who have fewer pregnancies are more likely to get breast cancer too, due to oestrogen being used up in pregnancy so low levels perhaps protect against cancer. The contraceptive pill increases levels of oestrogen and this has been thought to increase the risk of breast cancer although oestrogen is not thought of as a carcinogen.
Lung cancer is thought to be caused primarily as a result of smoking and the highest rates are found in Scotland. The main factor in this huge rise in lung cancer recently is thought to be due to WW1 where soldiers were given free cigarettes and as a result in the 1960s rates increase as a reflection of this. (Pollution also key).
In addition to the above, Hodgkins disease is a cancer of the immune system that produces damaged and mutated lymph cells; in the 1950s there was an 80% death rate from this. MacMahon in 1966 plotted countries incidences against ages and found there was a peak in young age groups (of approx. 25) but not in Japan and therefore surmised that an infectious virus maybe caused this peak. In 1972 Vianna plotted networks of Hodgkins disease and found that when a teacher had the disease, two years later the majority of her class children would get it, suggesting that perhaps theres an incubation period whereby people carry the disease but dont get it always. If cancer was genetic it would be likely to arise at the same age, but in siblings its been found that theres an average of 9 years between siblings contracting cancer. If infectious it would be likely that cancer would be caused at the same time or after an incubation period, this was found to be 2 years by Vianna. It has also been found that if when young children come into contact with the Epstein-Barr virus when older the incidence of cancer increases by 15 years.
It has been proposed that understanding of a diseases ecology can assist in human control. However for cancer this is not always strictly true, certain but limited measures are the only things that can be done. In the USA in 1900 40% of people lived in urban areas and 4% of deaths from were from cancer. However by 1975 more than 70% lived within urban areas and the cancer death rate had risen to over 20%, this would suggest that there is a link between cancer and living in urban areas perhaps there are more carcinogens in urban areas such as pollution in causing lung cancer and a more restricted and processed diet in causing stomach cancer. Stocks and Campbell in 1955 found that lung cancer in English cities was much higher than in rural areas and suggested this was due to carcinogens in the environment such as lung cancer and hydrocarbons; Heuper backed this up with a link between urban cancer and occupation from exposure to asbestos and arsenic. Digestive system cancer, especially bowel cancer has been linked to urbanisation again due to the urban diet, which includes the absence of fibre and large amounts of fat. Other links between cancer and urban areas include smoking, alcohol consumption, occupational exposures and stress. Therefore due to this knowledge measures can be taken to control cancer rates by publicising ways to reduce the risk of cancer, e.g. the recent 5 a day campaign in the UK and the warnings on cigarettes too. In previous times stomach cancer was linked to traditional industries, e.g. in the 1950s there was a high incidence in Wales, N and NW England, perhaps due to nitrates or chemicals in the drinking water.
The main risk factors can be surmised as cigarette smoking (approx. 30% of male cancers are due to this), alcohol consumption, life style (diet, socio-economic status) and occupation. Therefore prevention must be targeted at these factors.
It would seem that cancer is a disease where little is known about prevention. Comparisons and mapping are also extremely hard to do due to different countries using different medical diagnoses and variations when recording the reason for death. Therefore cancer is a field where much more research and investigation is needed. All that is available at present is chemotherapy, which consists of using medications that are toxic to cancer cells and therefore either kill the cells or prevent their growth. Lastly, there is also radiotherapy, which is the treatment of cancer with high-energy radiation which ionise cancer cells using x-rays or gamma rays to kill tumours.