ES's story

ES developed mouth cancer at the age of 82. This is her story.

I first found out I had oral cancer when what I thought was an ulcer in my mouth turned out to be the dreaded cancer. I was 82 at this time. I was really left feeling numb by the diagnosis but I was determined that I was not ready to meet my maker just yet.

I was operated on in September of 2000, having a scar running from just under my left eye down to under my jaw, and was in hospital for about 7-10 days (the mind starts going when you get to 84). I was fed through a tube in my stomach for a few days and then ventured onto soft solids.

Next came the radiotherapy and the dreaded mask. This was the part of my illness I found the most difficult to cope with: 20 sessions of radiotherapy. A mask fitted and then screwed down so that there would be no movement. It really was a weird feeling - one I would not want to experience again. Then came the soreness, ulcers, skin breaking open and weeping and being unable to eat any solid food at all. The dietician and district nurses recommended the hi-fibre drinks and soups, and these became my diet for the next few months.

I was just healing from that when MORE BAD NEWS - a lump on my neck. The cancer had spread, more surgery needed. Once more, I was back in the LGI and had another major op. This time to remove the lump and many of the glands around and about. When I came to and looked at myself in the mirror I had more zips than a dozen pairs of trousers (no wonder I felt that I was suffering from metal fatigue).

I am now just starting to eat normally and with Mr Joshi's help (and my bottom set of teeth!), I hope I will be able to put back on some of the weight that I have lost.

A big thank you to all the hospital staff who have helped and are still helping me. The care and after care I had and am having from Leeds Dental Hospital, LGI, Cookridge and Pinderfields has been second to none (let no one knock the health service to me).

My advice to others is NEVER SAY DIE.

ES