It’s now three years since I had the face sarcoma, I’m feeling frustrated and low at the moment. Having survived the cancer for the third time, I found myself out of work in August 2014 and I’ve found I either don’t have enough qualifications for posts that I should be able to do or as soon as a perspective employer discovers that I have no teeth doors seem to close for me.
It has been a long wait to have my reconstruction completed and having finally been granted funds for implants and then new teeth on the NHS I discovered that I’m on yet another waiting list that could be anything from six months to a year.
In the mean time I’m lucky if I get some agency work to keep the wolves from the door, along with this I’ve discovered if you work for agency you don’t get much support from unemployment who just want you to sign off if you’re working for an agency.
With the fact I now use a stick to get from A-B but not whilst at work, I just need some support on my leg and ankle but enough that some positions would leave me in pain and my ankle swells up so jobs standing up all day are out.
This past week I finally returned to work after being off for the last eighteen months. I thought I would be changing my career but fate decreed otherwise so I’m back working with children. I didn’t realise how much I’ve missed the kids. Only one child commented on my speech but that wasn’t until Thursday by then I found it easy just to say I’d been ill but was now on the road to recovery. I thought it would be difficult as my cancer was in my mouth but the children accepted me as I am still with no teeth.
I think it will be another year before I have teeth again and felt I couldn’t stay off work that long it was starting to drive me a little nuts not to mention lonely being at home on my own all the time. It was time to get back out and face the world again.
So my journey continues on but going a little straighter now. I didn’t even have to go through an interview the part of the process I always dread.
I attended a back to work job-club with McMillan up in London on Friday which has helped this is the first one they have run I would strongly recommend it to anyone if you get the chance.
My new job is only a short term job so will be looking out for another position in May.
Today is World Cancer Day. Did you know there are over 200 different types of cancer? You can develop cancer in any organ of the body. And there are over 60 organs of the body where cancer can develop.
To find out about the many different types and things to look for drop into:
Let us think of some of those rarer cancers around the world and people suffering with Cancer every day not just today.
Once diagnosed with any type of Cancer you live with it for the rest of your life not just on Awareness days.
It has now been 18 months since this latest attack of cancer started. I find myself asking the question where do I go from here? How do I get my life back on course?
I was always a person with low confidence and self esteem which now seems even worse.
I still have no teeth. A slightly lop-sided mouth.
Do I try and get back to my old career or try and find a new one.
My choices are:
- Teaching Assistant.
- Proof Reading.
- Or some sort of office job but what I have no idea.
I will still need further treatment so is it still to early to be thinking along these lines?
In the past I could never succeed in landing a job (only could get as far as interview) which doesn’t help confidence stakes.
I am attending a job shop with MacMillan Cancer Centre at the UCLH with hopes they can help me and check over my CV.
I have been signed up to a getting back to work programme by the job centre but after one phone call in November I haven’t heard anything more from them.
Yesterday I went to the hospital where my treatment is taking place. There I attended a head and neck cancer patient group. This has never been done before. It came about because when I had one of my stays in the hospital I helped another lady who was very distressed after her reconstruction operation and the hospital realised that there was a gap in the services that they offered.
There were around seven of us all with sarcoma but different types plus a few support partners. During the course of the afternoon which was very emotional for some we discovered that although we had different types of sarcoma’s there were also similarities between us and our treatment.
There were some amazing stories of different journeys some finished and some like mine still ongoing.
I also found out about an organization called changing faces which I will blog more about when I’ve looked into it in more detail.
I wish to thank you all for sharing your journeys with me and listening to mine. Thanks also go to the McMillan support centre for hosting the meeting and listening to our views on how future patients maybe helped and supported,
Head and neck cancer is such a difficult journey as everything is out there for others to see, we have all had our dark periods and come out the other side. Now we have to learn how to live life after the cancer and move on to a new stage in our lives.
Hoping to hear from you all in the future.
Today I had my first hospital appointment of 2013.
I still have a small hole at the back of my flap. Surgeon told me not to sneeze, rinse my mouth with mouthwash etc. Not to run my tongue around where the hole is which is very difficult to do as its human nature to feel around with our tongue in our mouths if there’s a hole or other defect. I have no idea how to stop myself from sneezing either come to think of it.
I have to go back for another check-up in four weeks hoping the hole has closed so that my de-bulking can go ahead.