Cancer and other stuff

A right pain in the neck

Well well well. Not really sure where to start with this one but I’m currently sat on my bed on the oncology ward of the Royal Free, having stayed here last night. Still not sure what I am doing here or really how I got here but basically the last few days has gone something like this…

Thursday: have chemo as normal. Feeling quite knackered before I started but nothing new there given I’d had a blast the week before too.

Friday: head off to Latitude festival for a weekend of fun with old and new friends. All going well, lots of laughs, fair amount of booze, still quite knackered.

Saturday morning: wake up feeling really crap and with a massive pain in my neck, like someone is stamping on my throat and I can’t move my head properly. After wandering round feeling miserable and really not enjoying myself, make the decision to go home. Drive home, cry on boyfriend out of sheer frustration and disappointment.

Sunday: still in pain so go to Homerton A&E/walk-in centre to be seen by some complete dickhead who tells me I’ve “probably slept funny” on my neck. More crying at home out of yet more frustration at yet another battle with ‘the system’ (if anyone from Homerton reading this, I sincerely hope you recognise that sending a cancer patient away with that kind of advice is not good). In the meantime, neck now starting to swell and bruise.

Monday: see lovely GP who says he’s at a bit of a loss as to what could be wrong and best to see oncologist. Speak to Alison’s PA at the Royal Free (where I am due to transfer to but haven’t yet) who says get to A&E and ask to see the on-call oncology doctor. Doctor comes, Alison’s registrar (ie her #2) comes and FINALLY I start feeling like people are listening to me and taking me seriously which is all I’ve ever wanted really but got none of at UCH. Blood tests done, chest x-ray done (to see if portacath has moved – this is my ‘feeding tube’ that sits under the skin in my chest, they use it to get chemo into me). Portacath hasn’t moved. Still not sure what the problem is but suggested I stay overnight and they’ll do more tests in the morning.

So here I am. Waiting for an ultrasound scan on my thyroid this afternoon to rule that out. It’s horrible being here, I should be in work, I should be packing to move house on Thursday and most importantly, I should be getting excited for Friday and the amazing holiday the boy wonder and I booked almost 3 months ago, the holiday that’s been keeping me sane whilst I’ve been throwing my guts up from chemo. The holiday that there is now a fairly large question mark over if we don’t get this neck thing sorted. I’m on the oncology ward which is terrifying as there are some quite poorly women here and it all feels painfully real now.

On the bright side though, in the last 24 hours I have seen two oncology doctors, a registrar and a breast nurse. I don’t even know who the equivalents would be at UCH, despite having been there for almost a year. I suspect I’d still be banging on the front door over there, if I hadn’t transferred here. So, as frustrating as it is to be here, am hoping it’s all for the greater good and that they fix me quickly so I can get on with moving house and going away for some time with my boy.

All members of Team Cancer please mobilise, I may need some help over the next couple of days…


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