Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The Tiger Within - The Diagnosis

                                                                     THE TIGER WITHIN
                                                                                Page 1

                                                                            The Diagnosis

It has been two years since I heard those Magic Words
and so many people with whom I have come into contact since then have said,
"Why don't you tell your story, others could learn so much from it."

I was inspired by that hope that I could make a difference to someone...

For 5 years I suffered from the most debilitating migraines; then in July 2009, I was diagnosed with Cancer (stage 2 in the throat and stage 4 in the glands)

This is my Story:

I was experiencing up to 17 migraines a month and was trying any drug suggested on the market.
My body would reach a stage that it was so drug dependent that I would be in what is called a "Rebound Headache stage" where I lived with a constant headache and only the level of intensity changed.
When these stages were reached I would either be induced with heavy drugs into a comatose state or hospitalised up to 3 days to try and break the cycle.
The migraines were so bad that I used to vomit from the pain.
I had to lie on my bed in pitch darkness and not move for hours as my eyes felt as though they were going to explode in my head.

After 2 CAT scans , MRI's, in and out of hospitals (in different cities) and 4 nuerologists, no specific cause for these migraines could be diagnosed.

Everything seemed to trigger them off.
I could not touch any form of alcohol, so gave that up completely....OH! how I miss my red wine!

I could not enter a perfume store. In fact, if a woman walked past me wearing a strong perfume, within 10 minutes I could not see straight...... There went any expensive perfume gifts from my husband!

I could no longer attend music concerts and even going to the movies with my family became impossible.

The children learned that there was no music allowed in mom's car so they prefered to have dad drive them.

Driving at night was no longer possible as I had to wear sunglasses to avoid the oncoming lights or close my eyes for the duration of the journey.

Friends stopped asking us out as I was always cancelling engagements or leaving due to a migraine and our social life virtually became non existent.

My husband, who is my Rock, became mother and father, coping with all the stresses at work and at home.

My relationship with my children suffered as I was constantly in bed and incapable of being the mother the needed.

I felt like I was failing my family and my life was a MESS!

My 5th Nuerologist introduced me to a drug called NARAMIG and WOW!... it gave me my life back!

I still got migraines but  had them under control as I would pop a Naramig as soon as I felt it setting in, and within an hour or two, I had relief.
No more dark rooms for hours, vomitting and hard drugs to knock me out.
I  felt I was living again...


a few months later on a routine visit to the doctor for my son (as he had a cold) I asked my GP to look at a swollen gland in my neck.

He became very concerned after two courses of anti-biotics and the gland had growm larger, so he insisted on a manual biopsy immediately, in his rooms.

The call came during our family dinner on 23rd July 2009.

I took the phone and walked away from the table  as my GP told me what the results were.

The cells were " A- Typical"

I remember asking him "What that meant".. but I knew..... I just needed to hear the words from his mouth
It was Cancer!

I did not burst into tears or get hysterical like in the movies..I just kept thinking "This is not real .... It's not really happening"

I remember telling myself and my husband that it would NOT BE SERIOUS!

The days that followed were a blur.
I was whisked off to an ENT Specialist and before I knew it I was on the operating table having glands removed.

On waking up in the hospital, I still felt so surreal.
I almost expected someone to tell me it was all a misunderstanding .....until... the Specialist sat on the end of my bed and gave me the prognosis.

3 glands had been removed.
The 3rd had burst and the cancer cells known as squamus cells were now in my bloodstream.
They had been very lucky and found the primary source of the cancer in my Hypopharynx (throat) which was at stage 2 and this had spread to the glands which were at stage 4.
 It was inoperable!

 His words were " You have A YEAR of good living left"
I thought "What a FOOL to say such a stupid thing, as it could not possibly mean I was going to DIE"
I could not even bring myself to ask him...
"Does that mean I am going to DIE"...... for the fear that he might say "YES"
I had two young children and a husband  that I adored, so dying was not an option for me.

I prepared for a FIGHT!

Next Blog: The Treatment Options

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Olga said...

Wow, Wow, Wow......

Tasso said...

Hey Shas

That was a very emotional story to read, and even more so that you have given other sufferers the will to get through their tough times, more so it makes people with their every day problems realise that life is great and that their lives are not as problematic as they believe it is.

Good on ya and just remember that you are and will always be in our hearts.

Lots of love Tas, pen's, Jed and Gemma.

Anonymous said...

thank you for making me cry AGAIN....

We have been friends since we were very young...the convent, Brother's College, teenage years, dating, early married life, pregnancies, babies, mid-life crisis and who knows what else is to come? Will always be here for you.

LOVE Megan

Anonymous said...

Dearest Sharon

What an inspirational blog! Well done Shas!

It's clear that the Lord's angels are with you and have carried you through those tough times.

May He continue to bless you and keep those dreaded C cells at bay.

Keep up the fight tiger!

Lots of love