Got CAN­CER LICKED

Liz Marsh, 29, from Shrewsbury, thought stress had caused her tongue ul­cer...

Pick Me Up! - - YOUR HEALTH -

Pac­ing the hos­pi­tal wait­ing room, each sec­ond passed like an hour. It was sum­mer 2016, and me and my hus­band James, 31, were anx­iously wait­ing while our 5-month-old son Char­lie was hav­ing heart surgery.

Dur­ing my preg­nancy, we’d found out that the left side of Char­lie’s heart was un­der­de­vel­oped.

It had been a stress­ful year. No won­der I’d got an ul­cer on my tongue, too.

Thank­fully, Char­lie’s op was a suc­cess and he re­cov­ered well.

With my baby home, happy and healthy, I tried to for­get about the small white patch on the left side of my tongue.

But a week on, it was get­ting worse. It was now the size of a 5p piece and painful, es­pe­cially when I was eat­ing.

‘This can’t be nor­mal,’

I groaned to James.

‘You should see a den­tist,’ he said.

Over the next four weeks, I saw den­tists and doc­tors, un­til I was re­ferred to the Royal Shrewsbury Hos­pi­tal for a biopsy.

The patch was big­ger, go­ing dark.

A week later, in Oc­to­ber 2016, I got the hor­ri­fy­ing news.

‘I’m afraid it’s oral can­cer,’ my con­sul­tant told me. ‘Your ul­cer is a tu­mour.’

My baby! I thought tear­fully.

My con­sul­tant

as­sured me the can­cer could be treated. A third of my tongue would be re­moved then re­built us­ing skin, mus­cle, veins and ar­ter­ies from my arm.

It was a lot to take in, but I’d do any­thing to make sure my son didn’t grow up with­out his mum.

James was dev­as­tated when I told him, but he was so sup­port­ive. ‘We’ll get you through this,’ he said. Four weeks af­ter di­ag­no­sis,

I went to Telford’s Princess Royal Hos­pi­tal for surgery. ‘Good luck,’ smiled James be­fore I went into theatre.

The 14-hour op was suc­cess­ful, but my arm felt so sore when I woke up, and my mouth was so swollen I couldn’t speak.

Look­ing un­der the ban­dage on my left arm, I winced at the large wound stretch­ing from my wrist to just be­low my el­bow.

I also had a scar on my neck from the 58 lymph nodes that had been re­moved to pre­vent the can­cer from spread­ing.

But it was all worth it if it got rid of the can­cer.

I was dis­charged af­ter 11 days, but needed speech and lan­guage ther­apy to help me talk again.

I was ner­vous to leave the hos­pi­tal, won­dered how I’d cope at home.

While on the ward, I was be­ing fed through a tube. But when I left, I was given spe­cial juices and shakes to make sure I got all the vi­ta­mins and nu­tri­ents I needed.

Even­tu­ally, I was able to eat blended meals, too, as if it were baby food.

James was bril­liant. He looked af­ter our son and cared for me at the same time.

Luck­ily, I didn’t need chemo or ra­dio­ther­apy, and in De­cem­ber 2016,

I was re­lieved to hear that I was in re­mis­sion.

And by Fe­bru­ary 2017, I was fi­nally able to speak and eat again.

‘I’ve missed pizza!’ I grinned to James.

I still have reg­u­lar check­ups, but my con­sul­tant is pleased with my re­cov­ery.

The grafted part of my tongue is still numb and scarred, with no feel­ing or taste buds. It’s like hav­ing your mouth anaes­thetised at the den­tist’s all the time.

But it doesn’t bother me, and the rest is fine.

Now, I’m fo­cus­ing on be­ing the best mum I can be to my lit­tle Char­lie.

I was fi­nally able to speak and eat again. I’d missed pizza!

I had to beat it for my son

James was my rock

My sore tongue

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