Gordon W
Posted by

Cancer? What cancer?

Gordon W
Posted by
30 Jul 2015

At the start of my "journey" (hate that word) I set off on completely the wrong foot.

Hello again, I am Gordon and I am just over 60 years old just now but back in May 2014 I was a sprietly 58! I used to go swimming with my wife Maureen at our local gym and use the hot steam rooms there and on a day in May I was sat enjoying the heat when I happened to reach up with my left hand to scratch a small itch. Imagine my suroprise when I felt 2 small lumps about the size of peas just under my left ear.  I monitorred the situation for a day or wo but the lumps by this time resembled baked beas so I went to see mt GP.

My GP is a super caring doctor and I trust him always to do his best for me - he felt this might be aninfection that would respond to antibiotics so I embarked on a 2 week course but it did not make the "beans" go away! Not even a further week of this worked so he sent me to ENT at my local general hospital.  The quickly scheduled me for a needle biopsy which was done using ultrasound and was reletilvely straight forard and painless but then, despite beiing recalled weekly for appoinments it took 3 weeks for the test result to come back.

This where I made my big mistatke.

Right at the start of the consultation the doctor told that he suspected that I had a lymphoma but not to worry as it was "one hundred percent treatable". What my brain heard was that it was "one hundred percent curable!"

Phew! thought I. Some inconvenience and discomfort perhaps but not a real problem, not all those people with proper cancers!

Next I was scheduled for a full biopsy removing one of the infected lymph nodes.  About the same time I went for a routine visit to my dentist and whilst examining my mouth he discoverred a small growth on the bottom of my tongue - he refered this to the same hospital.  These procedures were going to be done at the same time so in late July I was addmitted and worked on ending up with 8 stitches in my neck and a further 8 on the underside of my tongue! Painful or what?


That is all for now must rush to an appoinment!




Now where was I?  … well, home I went and waited for my results to come back, my oral hygiene was awesome but even so I felt my tonge had become infected so off to the doc for antibiotics.  Anyway the day came when I could have all the stitches out and by now my tongue sore and numb but no longer infected.

However, I noticed a rapid swelling in the side of my face.  When the day came for my diagnosis this lump was really obvious and I was still 2 weeks away from my scheduled PET Scan!

Once my consultant saw the lump it was felt this this was an infection so I was handed back to ENT for repair. I was admitted immediately and put on antibiotics but the swelling just got bigger and bigger.

The first thing that struck me about being on a ward is that pain management is not handled very well. Patients are at the wrong end of the attention curve with busy nurses doing one thing at a time so inevitably any pain relief being given gets progressively set back in time and loses any prophylactic effect it might have, Oh and paracetamol and that morphine thing oderon?? are relly useless.  In the end after a week I complained and had a visit from the pain management team and began to have genuine pain relief because by noe the swelling on the side of ny face was like a second head - I am not exaggerating, I was sent to the hospital photographers so that it could be recorded!!!

After a fortnight of this a plastic surgeon came to look at me and said “I am transferring you immediately to ************ hospital because if your face bursts open I don’t have the facilities here to close the wound!”

Well immediate turned out to be midnight but nevertheless I was off somewhere I coud be dealt with.

The Saturday brought visits from several doctors but in the afternoon a hematologist came to see and said “ tat is not an infection….it is an aggressive response and those are swollen lymph nodes get this man onto our ward straight away to start chemo.

...to be continued


Gordon thank you so much for sharing your experiences of diagnosis with us. I'm glad that your GP was so attentive and persisted until he got to the bottom of things. Lymphomas can be very difficult to diagnose and, ultimately, a biopsy is the only way to know for sure.

The delay time between the biopsy and results is unfortunate and is  understandably a very anxious time - especially if you're already half-expecting the news that you have something like a lymphoma.

Given that you initially thought that it was 100% curable as opposed to treatable it must have been very hard for you to get your head round the diagnosis and what it could mean when it was finally confirmed. Were you offered access to a support nurse at this point to talk things through with?

We're here to help in any way that we can and I really hope that the treatment is going well. Fingers crossed for your appointment and stay in touch!


Well actually I wasn't disabused of the difference until quite some time later indeed about 6 weeks ago now. All will become clear as |I write

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