Monthly Archives: November 2014

A move to the oncology ward


Sunday 30th November

A much, much quieter time on the ward last night. Son slept fairly well.

Me, ha!!! This chair is so uncomfortable!!! About two or three twenty minute bursts ~ my son says I look awful ~ full of compliments!!!

He eats a good breakfast of toast, jam, porridge and tea. I take him to the bathroom for a wash and teeth cleaning.

Later that day we have lots of visitors; family, as well as the oncologist, who lets us know he has secured a bed in a private room, down in oncology. Woo hoo. We can move away from all the coughing, wheezing and other strange bodily noises!

Waiting, waiting, waiting.

We make a move at tea time! And yes, it really was worth the wait. Our own room. We’ve even got a fridge to keep our drinks and fruit cool 😃😁😜😍👍

And there’s a day room with a fridge freezer stocked with ice lollies, and a cappuccino making machine.

I have just taken my shoes off, the first time since putting them on for school on Friday morning!!!!!!!!!!

And no, my feet don’t smell 😉

And I am lying down on my own bed!

Going to be a fab night’s sleep!

And my son has been to ask for a nightie for me! He’s returned with a pink patterned cotton creation ~ not open backed 😆

A Day in Medical Admissions


Saturday 29th November

Well, what an absolute rubbish night’s sleep, sitting in a chair beside my son. It was so noisy, people shouting, coughing and having xrays, meds and obs throughout the whole night. We didn’t sleep properly at all.

Our son had a second lot of paracetamol last night, and more dexamethasone first thing in the morning.

Breakfast arrives, but he’s sort of sleeping. Toast, jam and tea. Morning obs are done, but I’m not sure when the scans have been timetabled, or what happens next.

Just after eleven we accompany our son to the CT scan area. We wait outside until the procedure is complete.

An MRI scan is also carried out after lunch and our son seemingly takes everything in his stride. Maybe it’s better that he doesn’t understand the full implications of his situation.

The results are soon returned, and initial indications do show spread to the lungs as well as in his brain. Apparently this is the best kind of dreadfully bad news. It means the cancer is treatable with chemotherapy. It will be a long and bumpy slog, with stays in hospital, probably three to five days at a time.

The lead oncologist here who deals with testicular cancer is supposed to be amazing. This is a centre of excellence.

A melanoma oncologist, (whom I met last year), has just spent about half an hour talking about the scan results, and the plan of action. Our son will most probably stay in hospital until his first dose of chemotherapy on Tuesday or Wednesday.

He will lose his hair.

There could be at least six sets of chemotherapy infusions.

He understands quite a lot, but is absolutely devastated that we won’t be going to America for our Christmas holiday.

My sister, niece and mother visit this afternoon, and crowd around the bed in the same noisy Admissions Unit. We await a bed in the quieter oncology ward ~ it’s full at the moment.

The consultant oncologist also pops in and explains that chemotherapy will probably begin on Monday.

My husband has been here all day too,  but will be going home soon. I’ll be staying again tonight. In the same hospital chair.

I have never felt so hopeless, and so desperately sad for our son.

Heartbreaking news


Friday 28th November

Our son had been vomiting for most of last week, so my husband took him to the GP this morning. They were then sent to the local hospital for a CT scan. When I finished school at lunchtime, I went there to meet them.

Arriving at the front entrance, to be told by my husband that our son has a large tumour in his brain was just heartbreaking.

The director of the hospital showed me the image from the scan, and it is quite substantial 4.5 by 6.5cm.

Having waited for the saline drip to finish, both my husband and I drive to our major hospital. A medical emergency.

We make our way to triage, and wait to be assessed. Lots of questions, form filling, and medical checks are carried out.

We are then taken up to the Medical Admissions Unit; a noisy and very busy ward. CT and MRI scans will be scheduled for tomorrow morning, and we will have to wait for the results before we know what is next. It could be oncology and chemotherapy here. Or it could be the neurological unit in Plymouth.

Our son has had iv saline, paracetamol, and a high dose of steroids (dexamethasone). He is on his second saline drip. As we wait for the iv antibiotics to be sorted, he says his head is feeling better.

The vomiting and headaches have obviously been due to the tumour in his brain. Poor, poor chap.

I stay overnight at my son’s bedside, sitting upright in a most uncomfortable hospital chair.

The Orchidectomy


Friday 21st November

What an unbelievably emotional day this has been.

The alarm goes off before six, but we’ve all been stirring for a couple of hours on and off prior to this. Husband and I get washed and dressed, and then it’s time to try and coax son from his bed. We are now working on a tight schedule and need to arrive at the hospital a little after seven. And so the vomiting begins. Anxiety and nervousness about the coming hours begin to take hold. My son cannot control his feelings of dread and retches uncontrollably in the bathroom. It is difficult to comfort him; he feels wretched.

We do finally make it to the hospital. However, as we start our long walk down endless corridors, the vomiting begins again. So many lovely people came to our aid with wipes, tissues, bowls, and a porter with a wheelchair. He was then taken all the way through to where we needed to be ~ seemed like miles.

He was so scared and wobbly.

Luckily he was first on the theatre list, and we soon met with nurses, the anaesthetist and the surgeon. Having dressed in the requisite hospital gown and compression stockings, I was allowed down to theatre to support and reassure him. I kissed and waved him goodbye just after nine.

Midway through the operation the surgeon phones and asks our permission not to insert a prosthetic testicle. Everything is very bruised, swollen with much blood clotting, and it is thought to reduce the risk of infection, and to be safer if chemotherapy is needed, not proceed with this. So we are told our son is ready to be sewn up, and we’ll be able to see him shortly.

Finishing our coffee quickly, we make our way back to the recovery ward. Our son has his own room, and oh my goodness do we need our privacy. As he comes round from the anaesthetic, he is filled with so much anger, torment and aggression. The verbal abuse my husband and I get thrown at us is so hurtful, but the two hefty slaps across my face, as I’m trying to help him get comfortable, really sting. But I can’t cry in front of him. I can’t show him that he’s hurt me.

We stay in recovery for about an hour and a half, then the cannula is removed, we are given our discharge paperwork, and off we go on our long drive home.

What another very long day, and a distressing one too, for our son.

Month Eleven


Tuesday 18th November

Only two departments to visit today. Firstly to see my lovely trials nurse for bloods, obs and a chat ~ my son said she was strict and severe, but also called her a pussy cat!

She is wonderful, caring and reassuring, listening to all I tell her. The vials of blood are taken, blood pressure checked (not as high as I thought it would be!), then weight and temperature. I’m asked to fill out a patient satisfaction survey and invited to a research symposium next May: sounds very interesting.

The news you never want to hear


Friday 14th November

Since the operation to take a biopsy of a lump in my son’s testicle, he has continued to be sick. Vomiting almost daily. It is maybe just the medication and anaesthetic working through. It was only three days ago. I do hope so. He is left feeling tired and wretched.

The urologist from Torbay phoned my husband this morning. There are small amounts of cancerous cells in the biopsy that was removed. So, our son needs more surgery. Quite soon, before everything has healed, hopefully next week. The testicle will be removed and a prosthetic inserted.

This is crap, as our son now knows how painful the recovery is. And he will get anxious in the lead up to it.

We haven’t said anything to him.

We will wait until the consultant phones.

Perhaps get the Macmillan nurse to talk with him.

Not fair, prickly pear.

One Whole Year


Wednesday 12th November

One year.

Twelve months.

Fifty two weeks.

Or three hundred and sixty five days.

That’s how long it’s been since my surgery to remove the melanoma in my lymph nodes. And all the scans I’ve had since then have shown no spread of the disease.

Being vigilant, eating healthily, drinking lots of water, gentle exercise and taking the medication, which I want to believe is the real thing, and not the placebo. This is my ‘new normal’ nowadays. As well as having a positive outlook on life, and not stressing over trivial things.

A Scare For My Son


Tuesday 11th November

Our son has been booked into surgery and is first on the theatre list this morning. He is seen by nurses, the anaesthetist, and the surgeon. Despite all the previous sickness and anxiety, he seems decidedly chirpy.

He did have a laugh when the nurse showed him his notes, and someone had written ~ “Needs pregnancy test”, on the front!!!! The nurse was cross with whoever had done that!!

He goes off to theatre, and we have to phone at 11:30am to find out what ward he’s on.

When he comes round he is brought to the recovery ward, where he says he is a grumpy patient!

Just after 1:00pm we see the urologist, and preliminary results show no cancerous cells found. We have to wait two weeks for absolute confirmation.

But all is looking good 😃😁

A short time later we get him dressed, and the cannula is taken out of his arm. We wait for the discharge paperwork, and then we are on our way home.