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Saturday, 9 August 2008

The story so far:

In August 2007 I knew I was pregnant with my third child. I noticed a small lump in front of my left ear but thought nothing of it. In January 2008 I could feel another lump behind my left ear but again thought nothing of it - they weren't painfull to touch. Evie was born early April and at this stage I think there was another lump behind my ear. At her 8-week check I mentioned them to the GP - and it was felt that they were probably just enlarged lymph glands but I was referred for a second opinion. The surgeon I saw for the first time on 16th July 2008 did various tests but these were inconclusive so on the 29th July he removed one of the enlarged glands from behind my left ear. At about 8.30pm the following evening he phoned me at home to tell me the bad news. All that night and the following day I cried. I felt that I'd rather exit this life now rather than have to deal with everything to come. But I can't do that - I have 3 small children to look after. From this point there have been more scans, more opinions with good and bad news.

My biggest emotional rollercoaster continues but is being helped by support from Giles, family and friends. August 7th was my first visit to the melanoma clinic at the Marsden where I was seen by nurses, oncologists and the surgeon. They were all very kind/ supportive. I am scheduled to have a radical neck dissection on 19th August. This 4 hour operation will hopefully remove the tumours from my neck but also take away the muscle from the side of my neck. It will also damage the nerves leaving me with numbness and weakness to the left side of my face, neck & shoulder. Hopefully some of this will recover in time. I will look different and I still have to get my head around this. However if I don't have this done, I will die. I just hope they can remove it all on the 19th. (Chemotherapy doesn't work for melanoma.) As yet the primary source (mole) has not been identified as none of them look suspicious.

Giles & I will try to update this blog regularly so please use it to check the latest news.


Anonymous said...

I wanted to be the first to add a comment, to tell you that I love you and that I know you will come through this for me, Sophie, Sam and Evie. x

Giles said...

That anonymous first blog was from me!

Mum said...

Darling Katie,
You know just how much we love you and realise, when you put your mind to it, how much you can really fight!
You will always be beautiful to us no matter what happens. You are an incredibly wonderful mother and brave daughter.
All our love Mum and Dadxxx

Sara said...

Hello Sweet-Stuff,
We are all thinking of you up here in the frozen north.
Whatever you need, that is our to give, is yours.
You are young and strong... you can fight this and you don't have to do it on your own. You inspire such love and affection in those around you - a shining light in our world. You will find that your friends and family step-up to this challenge with you... lean on us; we can take it.

The 'why me?' question is only human... just don't let it overwhelm you. Focus toward the future; what can be done to help your body and mind in the fight... reduce your stress (easy to say - I will put some relaxation CD's in the post), be well rested, eat the right fuel to help your body fight, make a list of all of the things that you are grateful for every day (even if it is just one thing) use it to boost your positivity, keep a healthy, happy image of yourself in your mind's eye; remember that all of the best things about you have nothing to do with the packaging - they are all inside and cannot be harmed by this cancer or the operation.

After the op, look into Manual Lymphatic Drainage... it is such a lovely treatment, will support your body in it's recovery and can be combined with aromatherapy (and other things) to boost the effect.

Do things that make you happy - re-read your favourite book, listen to music that you associate with happy times, watch funny movies (laughter is great for everything), do something that you have always wanted to do but have put off(a bath full of jelly is only a suggestion :)) - seize the day!

My neurologist recommends wine therapy too... I am sure that it is pretty universal.

This disease does not define you - you are greater than the sum of your parts. You are Katie, you are beautiful and I love you.

Angie said...

Katie, since the moment I heard the news I have been thinking of you and the family non-stop. I wish you all the strength in the world to help you battle this thing and I reckon that with your determination, plus the huge amount of support and love coming your way from family and friends, as well a fantastic team at the Marsden to help you then this cancer has got one hell of a fight on its hands!

Sara's advice is, as ever spot on (waves hello to Sara in the frozen north) although the jelly bath just sounds revolting to me, but if that lights your fire then go for it.

I'll be away when you have the op on the 19th but will be thinking of you and will try and log on to see how it went.

Lots and lots of love to you, Giles and the children.

Angie, Paul, Lucy & Kate xxxx

Bronagh said...

Katie, I can't believe this has come to your door so soon after your recent happiness. I'm in a state of shock. Rest assured you will be in our prayers (+ my parents) every single night....I will pray for you to be strong and that the love of your young children, family and many good friends will help you to fight this disease. You are a really strong person and will get through this to walk beside your children for many years to come.
Sending you a big hug xxx

Bronagh (+ family)

Steve Harris said...

Dear Katie and Giles,
You are in our thoughts at this difficult time.
Much love to you both and to Sophie, Sam and Evie.
Steve and Alison xx

Harish & Patti Parmar said...

You are fighters and will come through. After looking at this screen for a while, I realise there are no smart words for this. Goes without saying that for any practrical issues you can count on us to help. Our thoughts are very much with you and you have all our support and prayers.

Harish and Patti Parmar

Harish and Patti Parmar said...

You are fighters and will come through. After looking at this screen for a while, I realise there are no smart words for this. Goes without saying that for any practical issues you can count on us to help. Our thoughts are very much with you and you have all our support and prayers.

Harish and Patti Parmar

jonty said...

We are thinking of all of you and sending you all loads & loads of love. We wish there was some way for you to know just how much we wish we could help. If we can do anything, however small, please do tell us.
Lots and lots of love
Jonty, Abby, Milly & Felix

ursulaandchris said...

Dearest katie,
We are thinking of you all the time and all our friends in Kent are praying for you in our church in Ash and in Sandwich. We know you will fight this with all your strength. You are a wonderful mother and we love you so much. We will help in any way we can.
All our love
Ursula and Chris x x

Dawn (in Oz) said...

Hey Katie, First challenge met successfully - blog up and running. I knew that a little thing like surgery and cancer wouldn't stop you. It's good to know that you're surrounded by people who love you and will support you. You will never be alone. Good luck with the surgery. Marc and I will be thinking of you. Lots of love, Dawn xxx

Marc (with Dawn, in Oz) said...

Hi Katie,
Sorry to hear about the terrible news, I'm confident everything will be OK!! Good luck for the 19th....
Lots of Love,

Clare Ian and family said...

Dear Katie and Giles
Since hearing your news you have both been in our thoughts so much.
You both have so much to fight for and we will all help you fight in anyway we can.
We are thinking of you all so much.
Clare Ian and Co xx

reena said...

hi katie

bronagh sent me your blog url. oh my gosh. i can hardly believe what i was reading. wishing you all the very best for 19th august. i'll be thinking of you, giles and your pretty girls.

reena said...

and you little boy!

Debbie said...

Dear Katie,
I'm very grateful that Bronagh called me yesterday to let me know about your illness so that I have the opportunity to tell you that I am thinking about you and your family and wishing you the very best in this battle which I know you can win. Take care Debsxxxxxxx

Paul said...

Dear Katie and Giles,

Wishing you strength and courage in these difficult times. If there were a dance to be danced, a drink to be drunk or a joke to be told that would help, we would do it. However, the most valuable thing we can do is to offer our love and support and to assure you that our thoughts are with you.

You can fight this.

With love,
Maj and Kate

karen said...


I experienced some of the best times of my life during my time at university and travelling with you.

You have always been the most beautiful person and no surgery can change that.

You are constantly in my thoughts. I'm sending positive healing chi through the earth's energy fields from Australia - if such a thing exists!

Yes, try and think positive but it's easier said than done as I hear from other cancer sufferers. It's also totally fine to break down in an emotional wreck from time to time.

All my love, Karen

azza elnusairi said...

Hi Katie
How are you doing my love?
I wanted to let you know that you, Giles, your beautiful children and family are in my thoughts and prayers. I hope you can take some strength from all the people who love you and think you are fab.

Sending you and your family lots and lots of love and good luck for the 19th - I'll be thinking of you.
Azza xxxx

Maggie said...

Dear Katie,
I am a friend of your Mum's from College days and I was devastated to hear of your melanoma. However, I have recently supported my husband through naseopharangeal cancer with secondary growths in the lymph glands in his neck. I therefore feel able to say how important positivity, reduced stress (as far as is humanly possible in the cicumstances) and prayer are in the fight against the cancer. My husband looks different too, a lot thinner, round shouldered (caused by the extensive radiotherapy) and bald but I love him even more for his bravery and his will to live. As your friends have said it is what is inside that counts and I am sure you will be an even stronger and more beautiful person inside as a result of this ordeal.

You have the most wonderful parents who I know will be very strong for you and totally supportive and I am sure that you are the same sort of "Magic Mum" as the lovely Marian!

On a lighter note, despite the feelings of some of your friends, Sara's suggestion of a jelly bath is great! My daughter sent me some as part of a Christmas present and it is really good added to a warm bath. It is like a soft, fluffy bath blanket with aroma therapeutic benefits designed to ease muscle tension, reduce swelling and relieve stress. It keeps the bath warm for ages so one can really have a relaxing soak. I think it is produced by an American company called Jell-E-Bath although my daughter bought it in this country.

Jonathan and I will keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers especially on the 19th and we hope that we shall receive a positive report in due course.

Love from Maggie and Jonathan Kinread

p.s. absolutely beautiful photo of your children - keep that in your mind and you can do anything!

Suzie said...

Thinking of you lots.
Lots of Love

Anonymous said...

Hi Katie,
Mic told me your news. Stay strong, you can beat this. You have a lot to fight for. I will keep updated via your blog which is inspiring.
Suzy (Bell) x

majmader said...

Dear Katie and Giles,

Paul has just informed us of Katie's illness. We trust and hope that the radical surgery on the 19th of August is succesful in eradicating the disease.

Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

Love and best wishes.

Barbara and Maj (Paul Majmader's parents)

Celia said...

Katie and Giles

My thoughts are with you all at this time. I will be thinking of you Katie next tues. As a mum you will have great reserves and a fighting spirit. You have a fab partner in Giles, whom I've known for a long time. (used to look after him and Dan for Ursula and Chris.) Your children are gorgeous. Ursula always keeps me up to date whenever I'm in Kent. Hang in there love from Celia

Ian & Andie said...


We just wanted to wish you the very best of luck and to let you know that you are all very much in our thoughts at this difficult time.

With love

Ian & Andie

Liz said...

Dear Katie
We are all still reeling from the news of your illness but you have shown such courage and resolve, and what wonderful supporting family and friends you have.We feel confident that you will win this battle.
All of us will be thinking of you on the 19th.

This comes with all our love to you,Giles,Sophie,Sam and Evie

From Liz,Laurie,Sue and all your work colleagues xx

Juliet said...

Dear Katie, your positivity, courage & inner strength will get you through your forthcoming treatment. You have massive support and an abundance of love from so many well-wishers including ourselves - Uncle Asa,Auntie Juliet,Asa,Anna and Danielle xxxxx

Anonymous said...

Dear Katie...this is Ursula's friend marie....just to let you know that james and i are routing for you... every step of the way and feelsure that you will beat this terrible disease. The only advice that I can give you is totake one day at a time so that you do not get overwhelmed by what might or might not happen. Then at the end of each day you can say...well that wasnt too bad..or that was a bad day but tomorrow will be better!!
..... We had a lovely walk with Ursula today and weoften talk about you and your fight ahead. We are all 100% supporting you. You are in our thoughts and prayers love Marie and james....ps i have not written ablog before... hopefully i wont mess up

Anonymous said...

Dear Katie and Giles
Chris and Ursula sent us your blog and we just wanted to tell you that you are constantly in our thoughts. Although we don't know you well we saw you both and your beautiful children at Ursula's 60th party, You have such a lot to fight for.
Be strong, everyone is routing for you , with our love
Liz & Richard Daw

Anonymous said...

Hi Katie, Already failing with blog - hope this Ok!! You are a fine young woman. You are much loved and your courage is proven. You can do this! please know that so many people are with you and really really care about you and your lovely family. Please feel the support through all the thoughts and prayers. Pam and Gary -we met at Ursula's 60th xx

Elaine said...

Hi Katie,
We are all thinking of you particularly over the next few weeks. We know you have a lot of courage and fighting spirit to help you.
The blog is a very good idea to support you and for writing about feelings and emotions for times when words and thoughts are difficult. It is encouraging to read and re-read messages form your friends and family.
The pictures of you and the children are beautiful and we will be thinking and praying for you.
Love Elaine & Chris

Anna said...

Dear Katie,
Mum passed on the news to me when she heard and although its difficult to take in, i have every confidence in you to fight this, as i know you are strong & can get through anything. You are beautiful too and this disease can never change that.I wasnt able to come over with mum, dad & danielle last week but i want you to know that my thoughts and prayers are with you. Lots of love Anna. xo

Anonymous said...

Hi to you all; just been reading the really lovely, supportive notes so far. All I can think of at this time is the really lovely afternoon our kids had together in the paddling pool at Ursula's the other week. It was great to see you all. Im gonna keep this thought in my mind cos its such a positive one!
You are obviously a very well thought of young woman Katie,(which I knew even without reading all these great comments!)
Good luck for the 19th - Go Girl !!! - show it what you are made of ! Love Louise, David, Austin and Amos.xxxxx

louise and david said...

hello sophie sam and evie
can you give your mummy a big kiss love from austin and amos
we had great fun in the paddling pool with you xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Mike said...

Dear Katie,

We met your Mum & Dad on holiday in Samos last year and have kept in touch since. We had many discussions and got on well - one thing came out how very proud they are off you and love your family very much. I have just heard from your Mum today and thought I would add a few words, although I'm not very good at it!
Although we have never met, we feel as if we do know you. Be strong and with all the support you are getting from family and friends you will come through this fighting!
We will be thinking of you, praying for you and hopefully you will get some positve from this short message.
Take care and keep on fighting
Love Mike & Sally

karen said...

Hi Katie,
All our best wishes to you and try very hard to keep your spirits up- we are thinking of you.
My facial nerve was damaged by polio but people see beyond it and love you for the person you are. However, you look great - lets hope the worst is over.
All our love, Chris and Barry
Karen's parents)

stuartgetlost said...

You are dailt in our prayers.
Stuart & Dorothy Turnbull.