10th January 2020

Where have I been?

If you are a regular reader of my blog you may well of noticed that I haven’t been posting as much as usual over the last 14 months. There have been very little personal updates and a lot less posts in general. There is a reason for this and I feel now is the time to share a little bit of why that is with you.

In August 2018 my Mum was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer and so everything in my life changed priority. Just 4 weeks before Mum was diagnosed I was made redundant from my job of 13 years. Before I was then able to get another job Mum was diagnosed with Cancer and so at that point I decided I wasn’t going to go back into work in order to spend time with Mum and Dad and be with them at any appointments. Luckily for me Doug has a job in which he earns enough money to support us without me having to go to work and for that I feel very blessed. The time I spent with Mum and Dad over the last 14 months was priceless.

I am not going to go into full details on here however Mum started on chemo in December 2018 and had a scan in Feb 2019 to see how the chemo was working. It was clear from the scan that the chemo had not worked at all and we were told Mums condition had ‘significantly’ deteriorated. I was absolutely heartbroken as I was not expecting that at all. In Feb 2019 Mum was put on another chemo and had a scan after another 3 months and it showed the tumour was now stable. Absolutely amazing news and I felt so happy that finally chemo had stopped this evil bastard in its tracks.

For those of you who do not know, Pancreatic Cancer is an evil killer that less than 5% of people will survive for 5 years. The Pancreas is situated so deep inside the body usually by the time Pancreatic Cancer is diagnosed you will be stage 4 with no hope of a cure. Too late for an operation called the Whipples and chemo will only hold it back for a certain amount of time.

Mum was told that she was past surgery and they would continue with chemo and hold it back for as long as they could. As a family we knew this would only be around about 18 months MAX. I decided that I wasn’t happy with this and decided we were going to get a 2nd opinion because we couldn’t just give up on life that easily. We chose our 2nd opinion hospital which was Birmingham, a Liver specialist centre in the UK. They had a look at Mums case and decided that her best option was to carry on with chemo for another 3 months and see if the tumour shrunk at all. Fast forward 3 months and it was still stable but no shrinkage.

Out of the blue one day Birmingham asked us to go for an appointment. I was so excited because I knew this meant they were going to offer Mum the operation which was massively against all the odds. We went for the appointment and they offered Mum a total Pancreatectomy. This involves removing the Pancreas, Spleen, Gallbladder, part of the Stomach, part of small Intestine and part of the Bowel. What made it really high risk was the tumour was touching on 2 main arteries and these would have to be cut and resected.

Please do bare in mind I am not going into the full details and am just skimming over the last 14 months. We had many many hours of chats with the surgeon, between ourselves and with Pancreatic Cancer UK Specialist nurses. As a family Mum, Dad and I decided the operation was the only way forward. We knew there was a high risk of mortality with the operation, complications post op and it was life changing surgery. Without the operation the inevitable would happen sooner rather than later, so even though the surgery had major high risks it was chance we decided was worth taking.

On the 29th October Mum went down to surgery at 0830 and we knew the operation would be 12-13 hours. We heard from the surgeons at 1820 and he advised the Cancer was all out and as expected it was a long hard operation but the Cancer was gone. Mum was due to be taken back to Critical Care about 2 hours later after they had finished off. 4 hours later after we had a call to say after they had spoken to us there had been a major complication and the liver had started clotting. This was called Hepatic Arterial Thrombosis and because of the artery involvement they had to do this was a risk of complication.

Over the next 6 days Mum went back into surgery 3 times and unfortunately on the 4th November at 0630 she went on to be Heavens most beautiful Angel. Mum never came round from the operation on the Tuesday as she was kept sedated so she didn’t know anything about what was going on.

We feel so lucky that Mum never suffered whilst she was alive, chemo never really gave her any side effects, we as a family lived life so much. We did so much together, went on days out and holidays with Doug and I and our 2 boys. We have no regrets, the operation was absolutely the right decision. Mum didn’t make it through and she was clearly needed in Heaven and this was so much better than seeing Mum suffer and succumbing to Cancer had she not gone for the operation. We know 100% that Mum would still be saying going for the chance of life which was the operation was the right decision still.

Life will never be the same, I will never get over losing Mum, my best friend and my partner in crime, I will just learn to live in a different way. Time will never heal losing my Mum. xx

The pictures below were just 4 days before she went in for surgery, looking as amazing as ever xx

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