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Shirley, Mouth Cancer Survivor

Head and Neck Cancer

Shirley Talks about the Swallows

My name is Shirley and I’d like to tell you a little bit about Swallows Head and Neck Cancer charity.

In September 2013 I had a sore in my mouth so I went to see my dentist who said I had an infection. She prescribed a course of antibiotics which did no good so I went back to see her again and she gave me 2 types of antibiotics, they didn’t cure me. By this time I was very worried so I decided to see another dentist privately who fast tracked me to see Mr Anjum at Victoria hospital in Blackpool. After some tests he told me I had a cancer.

My son and daughter-in-law came up from Cornwall to do what they could to help me as I was also caring for my husband who was suffering from Dementia.

I’m afraid I wasn’t a very good patient and luckily Sarah found out about Swallows. She phoned them and within an hour the Chairman Chris Curtis came to see me. He had also suffered from neck cancer so he understood how I was feeling. I was so grateful to be able to talk to someone about my fears. He put me in touch with Macmillan and told me he would be at the end of the phone if I needed him.

After Christmas I had to put my husband into a care home so that I could have my operation in January 2014. I’m afraid after the operation depression set in and I just wanted to die. By this time my son and daughter-in-law had to go back home to Cornwall so my daughter had to take on all my worries. It was decided that it would be best if I had a months respite in a care home. During this time Swallows visited me and Chris kept in touch with my son by e-mail. I was so grateful.

When I was well enough to go out I could always pop into the Swallows shop and always received a hug which meant so much. When it came time for Radiotherapy, Dave from the Swallows offered to go with me but I had arranged hospital transport.

It’s now just over two and a half years since my op and Swallows are still there for me. Norman and his wife pop in to see me and he takes me to the monthly patient meetings.

Unfortunately my husband passed away in May 2014.

I honestly don’t know how I would have coped without the Swallows support.

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