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Colin Schools

My journey started in July 2017 when a routine visit to my dentist showed a growth in the soft palate at the back of my mouth. I had dismissed this as an ulcer, but thanks to the tenacity of my dentist this was photographed, and within a week I was in the hands of a professor locally at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Professor Crean arranged for a CT scan, an MRI, an Ultra Sound scan and a Biopsy. Within a fortnight the results were in and I was diagnosed with grade 2-3 squamous cell carcinoma in the soft palate of the mouth.

Naturally I was devastated and couldn’t see beyond my next appointment, of which there were many to come.

A cousin of mine, who had had throat cancer 4-5 years previously suggested I contact Chris Curtis at the Swallows as they had both had similar journeys and Chris now was involved in a lot of work for the charity.

I rang Chris and within hours he met me within the local Solaris centre. Over a coffee he was able to answer many questions that a very frightened, newly diagnosed “little boy” had.  Anything he couldn’t tell me he was able to signpost me to get the information.

I had to have all my teeth out to prepare me for the 6 weeks of Radiotherapy and once a week I also had Chemotherapy which my rock (my wife) arranged time off work to attend with me. This treatment was administered at the Rosemere centre in nearby Preston.

I was very lucky as I was able to continue to drive myself there and back everyday for my treatment. I didn’t have a feeding tube in my stomach, nor a rescue tube through my nose into my stomach. I never lost my ability to taste or swallow and I didn’t lose any skin on my neck through continuous burning from the radiotherapy. Nor did I have any painkillers throughout. Apart from stinging ulcers on my tongue post treatment and a bout of sepsis which needed a course of antibiotics, hydration necessitating a day in hospital, and being a serious claustrophobia sufferer, (which I had to find a way through) not good when you are bolted down for radiotherapy in a mask everyday, nor for MRI scans. Thanks to all my family and friends and professional help, including continued support from the Swallows, I am now out the other side and back to work full time. Soon to be provided with a full set of dentures by the NHS.

I have booked a couple of cruises to help us both (my wife and me) to look forward to.

Now in April 2018, I AM A H&N CANCER SURVIVOR