Some of you may have heard me mention a friend called Kate. I met Kate on the chemo ward three years ago and she is one of the most resilient people I know. She has been enduring crippling cancer treatment for as long as I’ve known her, and this is giving her an extension of life, but ironically at significant cost to her health and well-being. It makes tough reading, but whilst we’re looking forward to a healthy and happy new year it’s important to remember those who are suffering. Here is her story:
“I am not good at doing things like this. But here goes…
I first got diagnosed in 2008 with Grade 3 breast cancer, [cancer has three grades according to how aggressive it is, Grade 3 is the most aggressive]. As a result, I had to have a mastectomy on the 5th December 2008. During the surgery I had to have all my lymph nodes removed as they were cancerous. I had radiotherapy and chemotherapy in 2009 and was taking Tamoxifen for five years.
When it came to five years I had surgery on my spine on my neck. I’d had problems with my arm and was sent for X-rays in March 2014. The surgeons were operating at the base of my head and saw a tumour. They then proceeded to scan all my head and found four more tumours. They were surprised that I wasn't having any symptoms! But I didn't have any. The day after, I went for another scan on my chest and found I had cancer on my lungs. I had three weeks of radiotherapy on my head, which was horrible. I used fall over a lot and couldn't talk properly. Then it was chemotherapy, which I am still on.
The last few months have been rubbish. With having chemo so often the Cancer Centre is like my second home. I've got another two brain tumours now. That makes seven I've got in total. Plus, I've got a tumour on my spine which affects my ability to walk and to turn in bed.
I've got constant pain in my head, arm and hips. I've been having mini strokes; my face starts with pins and needles then half of my neck goes numb and I have trouble swallowing. It then goes into my arm and it starts shaking with pain. Then it goes to my legs and I can't walk. After the last one on Christmas day, my head feels as if it's in a vice. I've been going dizzy, and the left side of my face is numb and hurts. I saw the oncologist yesterday who told me that if I came off treatment then that would be it, as the tumours will grow rapidly. All in all my head’s killing me, I am struggling with the pain, at the moment all I’m doing is crying as I’m struggling to do much.“
Throughout all of this, Kate carries on. She is several months past the terminal diagnosis she received and keeps on keeping on. If you have moment drop her a message of support on my Facebook page and if you can, say a little prayer that her suffering will ease.