Monday 19 February 2024

Mick - Update and Timeline

 Friday 26/01/24

Blood taken – Full Blood Count, Haemoglobin A1c, Serum Ferritin, Vitamin B12.  Liver function tests, Lipids, Thyroid Function Test, Prostate-Specific Antigen, Bone Profile, Renal profile.

 Wednesday 31/01/24

Blood results show severe anaemia with haemoglobin of 57g/L (normal 130-170)  Go straight to nearest A&E as may require blood transfusion.

 Thursday 1/02/24

Visited A&E and admission requested with following Clinical Summary

Presented to SDEC referred by gastroenterologist for admission and under investigation by gastroenterology for anaemia and weight loss.

Weakness, lethargy, poor appetite and tiredness.  One episode of melena 2 days ago.

Given 2 units of blood and post transfusion Hb was 73 and then received 1 gm iron transfusion also.

OGD was on 3/02/24 which revealed:  Malignant tumour in distal oesophagus and GOJ junction bleeding ulcerated several biopsy’s taken.

Recommendation:  Urgent CT CAP (requested) upper GI MDM referral (given)

After OGD on the same day patient was unable to pass urine and catherterization was done.

Patient has been reviewed by the consultant and declared medically optimised for discharge.

 Plan on discharge:

-          Continue regular medications

-          - Omeprazole 40 mg BD

-          - TWOC clinic referral for catheter removal

-          - Upper GI MDM referral (done on 3.2.34)

-          - CT CAP (requested on 3.2.24)

 Friday 9/02/24

CT Scan Medway Hospital.

 Wednesday 14/02/24 – Vascular Dept, Kent & County Hospitals (at Medway)

Results of camera and scan.

Malignant Oesophagus Tumour confirmed – lower part of the food pipe.

CT scan shows that it is NOT early stage and that it had already breached the walls and was therefore NOT OPERABLE.

Some treatment may be available such as chemo and/or radio but before that a PET scan was needed to be undertaken at Maidstone and then to wait for result before deciding on any treatment.  However any treatment would be to extend the timescale to up to 2 years rather than none.

There was also fluid showing in the stomach and they were not sure yet what it was.


Cancer of oesophageal gastric junction, provisional stage T3N0M0


Current medication:  Omeprazole.


PET scan

Ultrasound guided ascetic tap.

Multi-disciplinary team reviewed the CT images and there were a few indeterminate lung nodules and an incidental finding of large infra-renal aortic aneurism, ascites and left side pleural effusion.  Surgery is not an option.

 Thursday 15/02/24

Phone call regarding shakes to be given on prescription as unable to eat anything other than soft food.

 Phone call from District nurses re delivery of catheters etc for next change (7th May).

 Phone call from Aids helpers – did we need any aids.  Mick said I was his carer and could get him in and out of bed without aids.

 Friday 16/02/24 Vascular Dept.

Confirmation that within the stomach there is an Abdominal aortic aneurysm The left artery aorta goes to the belly button and joins the arteries.  This aneurysm is 5.5cm and usually requires major surgery.  The wall of the artery is weakened and was probably hereditary and had been growing slowly for years.  The risk of rupture up to 6cm was very small and it was best to wait for outcome of PET scan.  However Mick was very frail and surgery may not be possible.

Christmas, New Year, New Challenges

 I had been concerned regarding the amount of weight my husband had been losing but he just said it was old age and that he no longer had an appetite.

So Christmas came and went but by the New Year I was toasting in 2024 with a glass raised on my own as now my husband no longer wanted an occasional drink.

I couldn't understand what had happened to my husband - he was no longer the man that I had married.  Now I realise we all get older and change over the years but it seemed more than that.

On the work side I was still seeking part time employment and I attended an interview on the 5th January and another on the 19th January.  Sadly I did not get either of them but in the end it was just as well.

I persuaded my husband to get on my weighing scales as he was looking gaunt and thin.  My 13 stone husband now only weighed 8 stone 8 pounds!  Enough was enough and I told him he had to see the doctor.

Friday 26th January

I took my husband to have a doctor's appointment and after looking at him they told me to get his bloods tested.  The next day Saturday 27th January I took him to a local walk in hospital where they took blood and we went away to enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Monday 29th January

I went for my follow up appointment following my recent conclusion of radiotherapy and was given the all clear. 

Tuesday 30th January

I was woken up by the phone ringing at about 6am.  By the time I had got out of bed and got to the phone they had rung off.  The number was withheld so I just thought it was a wrong number.

At 6:30am the phone rang again but I was up and downstairs at this point.  When I answered the phone I was told it was 111 the emergency service.  They had seen my husband's blood results and told me to take him to A&E straight away as he was at risk of heart failure.  While on the phone they asked if he was breathing or bleeding so I went back upstairs to check on him and woke him up.

I confirmed that he was breathing and that he wasn't bleeding.  They told me to get him to A&E as soon as possible.

This was now the start of the nightmare!

Cancer and Me - second time around

 I really could not believe that once again I was undergoing treatment for Cancer.  This time around it was in my left breast but luckily for me it had been caught very early at a cellular stage and no tumour could have been felt.  Just as well I went for a routine mammogram!

As I am returning to updating my blog - some considerable time later - I will do a short and quick update on my situation.

The operation was successful and a clear margin was allowed around where the cancer cells were.  Also one lymph node was removed which again showed up as clear.

Diagnosis was:

Left Breast Cancer

T size Invasive 14mm, ER 8/8 positive, PR6/8 positive, Her 2 neu: Neg

All margins clear >3mm.  Nodes negative, 0/1 nodes.

Base line DEXA scan. Oct 2023: Showed there is no evidence of osteoporosis.  Study showed normal values at spine, hip and neck of femur.

Plan was:  Radiotherapy to left breast which finished on 30/11/23.  T.Letrozole 2.5 mg Od hormone blocker tablets to be taken for 5 years (till October 2028) with Bone Dexa scan due again in October 2025 and repeated every 2 years for the remainder of the Letrozole therapy.

Also to undertake a mammogram every 12 months for the next five years.

As I drove away from having my final radiotherapy on 30th November 2023 I gave a big sigh of relief.

Not only had I had cancer again, and hopefully beaten it, but I had got us moved into a new home, had dealt with a scammer while trying to buy a car (to get me to hospital appointments), but now hoped we could enjoy our future.

No-one could have told me what was to happen next. 



Original Post was written in draft in July 2023 but circumstances meant that it was never published!

 It's difficult to know where to start but the past weeks have been so very difficult and the future is likewise.

The ups and downs of house selling and buying is always fraught with tension.  The back and forth of deals where one party wants one thing and the other another.

The chain that everyone is dependent upon but hate because the "unknown and invisible" people pull the strings and you spend time wondering whether the house move will ever actually happen!

From someone who had lived in the same house for 25 years who then found themselves moving from that home to abroad - sale and purchase / back to UK with family - sale / rental / purchase / sale and purchase and finally, hopefully to sale and purchase again I have vowed that this is positively the last move for me - in this life anyway!

Which brings us back to the present.  There was a sudden flurry of activity as the first time buyers were losing their rental property in this month and wanted to complete on their purchase (our purchaser's property).  We agreed to the proposed move date of 4th August.

However it then became clear that our purchase was dependent on the seller coming to a decision as to which property he was going to buy.  He decided on a property that was empty.  Great, we thought, no problems with up chain there then.  Wrong!  Not knowing the full details we are aware that the sellers of the empty property have no sense of urgency and half the time cannot be contacted easily.

So what is the problem?

Well apart from the first time buyers needing somewhere to live my circumstances have now changed drastically.

After a routine screening appointment I was called by the hospital for second tests as they were not clear enough.  Ok, no problem after all these years I considered that there was nothing wrong with my boobs - couldn't feel anything.

However, ultrasound and biopsy later, I have been told that I have cancer cells and would need to have an operation.