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Please sign my petition to save our trees at Christmas!

Just a short blog about something I feel passionate about.  I cannot bear the thought that many spruce, pine and fir trees are ritually chopped down due to people wanting to put them in their hot houses just because it’s Christmas.  These living trees take in our carbon dioxide and give out oxygen (one large tree can give out enough oxygen for 4 people) and provide a habitat for wildlife.

If you feel the same way as I do, please consider signing my petition by clicking on this link: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/833/499/568/save-our-trees/

Thank you!

 

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Happy Christmas!

Here’s to a healthy and happy 2018 for all of us!

 

merry-christmas-3003544__340

Who’s doing what for Christmas?  It’s my turn to cook for the family this year, so I’ll be rustling up turkey and all the trimmings for 10 of us on Christmas Day.  Then it’s over to the Island on 28th for a few days R&R at the ‘van’ and a New Year’s Eve party on 31st.  It’ll be our first New Year’s Eve on the Island, and I’m looking forward to it.

Blog, thyroid cancer

Result of Ultrasound Scan

All the worrying and living on the edge was worth it – I was given another clear scan and told to come back in 6 months’ time, not 3 months!  Okay, I’m still living with the eternal after effects of radiation – lymphoedema due to poor lymph drainage, and narrowing of the nasolacrimal duct in my right eye, but it looks as though I’ll still be able to enjoy my holiday home next summer!

The body gets used to anything in time.  I’m learning to manage the lymphoedema so that I don’t wake up every morning unable to swallow properly.  It takes a permanent adjustment of your lifestyle to fashion a ‘new normal’, which will soon lose its newness anyway and become the normal way of living.  I’ve started one drop of Dexamethasone 3 times daily into my right eye, and hopefully this might put off the need to have another operation to widen the nasolacrimal duct.  I live in hope…

I used to sleep lying down on my side with 2 pillows.  Now I sleep almost sitting up with 6 pillows and my head tilted back.  At first I laid awake all night and never thought I’d get used to the new position, but after a few weeks I fell asleep like I always used to and didn’t think anything of it.  It’s wonderful that I can now swallow an early-morning cup of tea without my neck having filled up with lymph fluid overnight, and I’m a very happy bunny.

Whoever said that thyroid cancer was a ‘good’ cancer was talking out of their arse.  Just sayin’…

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Living on the Edge

It’s coming up to that time again when I have to undergo my three-monthly ultrasound scan.  I find that about a week before it’s due I start thinking about what the possible outcome will be, and when the night before arrives I know I’m not going to get any sleep at all.  However, as soon as I come out of the ultrasound room with a positive result, I relax and mostly forget about the next one until it’s almost time to drive to the hospital again.

Does anybody else worry about upcoming scans?  I know that if my cancer returns there aren’t a lot of treatment options left for me, and so it’s kind of like living on a knife edge all the time.  I suppose I’ve been lucky in that I’ve survived for 12 years past diagnosis, although I’ve had 3 recurrences.  Hopefully I’ll still be in remission this time, as the last treatment of 30 radiotherapy sessions was quite radical…

Wasn’t there a song called ‘Living on the Edge’?  Ha ha!

Book Review, FREE books

Free Book!

Hi all,

I have a series of 3 books written about my journey through diagnosis and various treatments for Stage 4 papillary thyroid cancer.  The first book in the series, Thyroid Cancer for Beginners’, will be FREE from tomorrow 17th October to 21st October.

Here is a 5 star review that the paperback version has on Amazon.com

https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/RG9HCX4FS39FM/

This is an easy-to-read book that gives patients diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer a quick read on a British woman’s experience grappling with the disease. Glenda Shepherd, the author, received the shocking diagnosis when she was in her late forties. I appreciated Ms. Shepherd’s honesty–her ability to share many personal details and the feelings she was experiencing– and got a kick out of her British way of expressing herself. I think this would be a wonderful book on tape with the author reading the book with her beautiful British accent. I loved looking at the photographs and enjoyed the author’s explanation that she looked for a dress that covered her scar on her neck. I hope Ms. Shepherd will write a sequel. I particularly identified with much of what she wrote, especially the painfulness of waiting for test results and the fear of dying that is part of the experience of being a cancer patient. Bravo for Ms. Shepherd for writing about her cancer journey in a poignant, yet humorous way. I am grateful that books like Thyroid Cancer for Beginners exists for people like me to read.

Blog, Thyroid Cancer Books

‘Relapse!’ is now published.

Yesterday I published the third book in my series of thyroid cancer books.  ‘Relapse’ tells of two recurrences of papillary thyroid cancer I suffered in November 2014 and January 2017, and of the treatments I had to undergo.   You can find more details on my Amazon author page, the link is given below.

Relapse cover

https://www.amazon.com/Glenda-Shepherd/e/B00491GHRG/

Am I now in remission?  You’ll have to read the book to find out!  Here’s a little snippet from Chapter 1:

‘Relapse!’ by Glenda Shepherd, copyright 2017.  All rights reserved.

I suppose I had become rather blasé about the whole thyroid cancer thing.  Whilst waiting to see the oncologist in her NHS clinic in early October 2014, I sat patiently reading my Kindle and waiting for my name to be called.  All my previous check-up appointments since December 2007 had been fine, and almost seven years down the line I had no doubts at all that this latest follow up would be exactly the same.

The clinic was running over an hour late.  There were 70 patients on the list to be seen, and I was one of them.  After five years of follow ups, my insurance company had informed me that they would not be paying for any more check-ups, and so it was to the large NHS thyroid clinic at Addenbrooke’s Hospital that I had driven that morning, which was about 50 miles from my home in Suffolk.

As I sat there wondering when it would be my turn, I looked around at some of the other patients and felt relief that I had finally shaken the disease free some time ago.  I saw the lines of worry on the faces, and did not envy them the surgery, radiation, and possibly more surgery that they would have to endure to get to the stage where I was now at.

At last the nurse called my name and ushered me to another waiting area just outside the consultant’s office.  I smiled at her as I sat down and picked up my Kindle again.  However, the wait was brief this time, and about an hour and a half after my appointment time I was finally called in.

Usually the oncologist would inform me that my latest MRI was fine almost before I had sat down. This time I noticed a nurse was present.  The oncologist did not mention the results of the MRI at all, and instead asked me about how much thyroxine I was taking, and whether I had good energy levels.  A little warning bell started up in my brain, and I asked her for the results of the MRI scan.  She replied that she would ‘get to that in a minute’.

As soon as I heard those words I knew something was wrong.  My heart sank and I quickly looked over at the thyroid cancer nurse, whose expression was inscrutable.  I sighed, put on a brave face, and waited impatiently to hear my fate.

Blog, thyroid cancer

We Wait…

I don’t know what it’s like for other cancer sufferers, but for me with thyroid cancer the condition entails a lot of waiting.  On May 10th I finished the last of 30 external beam radiotherapy treatments to my neck, and I won’t find out if they have killed the cancer until I have an ultrasound scan on August 29th!  Apparently the radiotherapy continues working for 3 months after the last treatment.  I’ve exhausted further radiotherapy and surgery, and if the treatment hasn’t worked, then all I have left are Sorafenib tablets which could halt progression, but have many unpleasant side-effects.

However, I’m not putting my life on hold.  Having got over the worst of the radiotherapy side-effects I’ve decided to go back to work as a medical secretary to cover holidays and sickness.  Today I went back to the hospital where I worked for 13 years to sign up as a bank secretary and receive the mandatory fire training.  I took early retirement 3 years ago as I had next to no voice left after a right neck dissection, and although the voice is still weak, I’ve dropped a grade and so I do not have to answer the phone.

It seemed strange walking around the hospital corridors again where I spent so many years walking up and down pushing trollies full of clinical notes.  It will be good to get back to some semblance of ‘normal’ again.

I wait on the edge of my seat for the results on August 29th…