Friday, 24 February 2012


New to this? Check out the First Post

Black Folder of Doom!
It's been a couple of days since I've updated this, mainly because I've been in a bit of a daze mooching round the house. I think it's the painkillers - they make you dozy.  Still they are taking the worst of the pain away so it is totally worth it. I have started rubbing Bio Oil into the scar - it is meant to be good for minimising the appearance of them.

I have a new appointment letter to put in my Black Folder of Doom. I have to go to the Radiotherapy Department on Tuesday morning at 9am to get measured up and fitted for my mask. This is specially made for me to wear while they direct the radio waves at me during my treatment. Oooh - I hope it's Classic FM that's so soothing :-)

Thanks for these Auntie Anne :-)
I haven't heard from Dr Gahir, so I guess she will see me when I go on Tuesday. So, no news yet about whether I need the chemotherapy or not.

I have to have 30 radiotherapy sessions over six weeks - so Monday to Friday then I get the weekends off!
Before that starts I have to have another CT scan wearing the mask so they can mark on it where they need to fire the lasers. It's better than tattooing it on my skin I guess.

In other news my mum tells me that there is a photo of me and Roy Walker in The Sentinel tonight - advertising the Weekend Magazine tomorrow. So that means I must be in! Must remember to get a copy :-) Hope the photos came out okay - or I'll be wearing my mask permanently!
In the meantime I need to rent out The Mask from Blockbusters to see what's involved. I vaguely remember when you put it on you turn green and say "Sssmokin'" quite a lot. Time to P A R T Y!! xx


  1. Hi Bernie,
    Just read the article in The Sentinel and realise we have quite a lot in common. My name is Mike Farryan and I am aged 69 living in Blythe Bridge. I first noticed a lump in the right hand side of my neck in April 2010. A visit to my doctor lead to an ultrasound test and needle biopsy (after a 5 week caravan holiday in France) the test results deduced that I had cancer. I underwent an operation to remove the tumour from my neck and following that Mr Hughes (presumably the same Robert Hughes) advised me that an histology test on the tumour determined that it was a malignant metastatic melanoma, but as the tumour was secondary, further tests were needed to find the primary. A CT scan could not establish the origin, nor could a visit to a dermatologist. A PET scan followed, which again proved negative in determining a primary cancer. I think the conclusion was that my immune system had revitalised and killed off the primary although it was only a supposition. The only treatment was an operation called an Upper Neck Dissection (sound familiar). This took place on 14th September 2010 and lasted 5 1/2 hours. I had tubes coming out of every part of my body and for about a couple of days I really felt sorry for myself. I, like you, have nothing but the utmost praise for the NHS Staff and in particular Robert Hughes the consultant who is one step down from God in my eyes. Straight after the operation he personally rang my wife to let her know all had gone well. A fortnight later I was told that 45 glands had been removed from my neck and fortunately non were cancerous. I did not require radiotherapy nor chemotherapy and 18 months on I am doing well. I still have quite a bit of pain from my neck, particularly in the evening, but that is better than the alternative. Bio Oil certainly helped. I am involved in a cancer drug trial (Avastin) and I am closely monitored by the doctors running the trial and also by Mr Hughes and his staff.It is certainly a life changing experience but positivity is the keyword.
    Good luck with the treatment and just to let you know you are not alone.

    1. Hi Mike
      Thanks so much for getting in touch. It is good to hear that I'm not the only one with this puzzling condition :-) It is good that they are keeping a close eye on you - Mr Hughes told me he would be seeing me for the next 5 years!
      It gives me hope that you are feeling so well 18 months on and have had no further problems.
      I am in a bit of pain as my neck just feels to hard as if the muscles on the right side and under my chin have seized up. It is better in a morning but tends to get worse in the evenings. If it happens to you then it must be normal!
      Hope you'll keep in touch occasionally to let me know how you are going on - and keep reading the blog!


    2. Hi Berni,
      It is good to know that the system works and that people in our position have a platform. I find it very easy to talk about my cancer and I have never lapsed into depression although I understand that it is very easy to do so. Don't let it happen!
      I had one scare about 8 months ago when Mr Hughes detected a further lump on the opposite side of my neck and he was quick to send me for an ultrasound and biopsy. This turned out to be fatty tissue and no sign of cancer. I was quite relieved as you can guess.
      Mr Hughes or one of his staff has seen me every 2 months and has now decided to extend this to every 3 months for a couple of visits and then it will be extended even further.
      Immediately following my big operation Mr Hughes visited and was very concerned to see that I was able to raise my arms above shoulder level. Although he did not directly say so, I think he was very close to a nerve and was concerned that all was still in working order. Apparently he had done the same operation on a gentleman who was not so lucky regarding his limb mobility. If there is anything that you wish to say or discuss which is perhaps not suitable for general consumption on your blog my e-mail address is

    3. Hi again:-)
      Yes - I was warned about not being able to lift my right arm up - and I was pretty worried as I am a librarian and need to shelve books! However - he managed to avoid the nerve in question and all is well. I love your positive attitude - it's how I try to be too. I'm not the type to be depressed - although I am sure this is about to get a bit more challenging, so who knows? Thanks for your email. I'll be in touch when I need some advice ;-)


  2. Hi Bernie, Just to say that I have managed to sign up as a follower now but have been reading your blog since the beginning, thinking of you and sending lots of positive vibes! I miss you on Thursday mornings but every week is a week towards you coming back :)

    Take care, Caroline

    1. Hi Caroline
      Lovely to hear from you - and thanks so much for the card. I loved the fruit motif :-) Tracy tells me that the hearing loop is in place so I'm sure you'll all be delighted on Thursday :-)
      I have to confine my poker playing to online games at the moment - but I can't wait to get back to the Tuesday night poker at the pub with the guys.
      Also, of course, I look forward to getting back to work! Lots of my customers have been so lovely - sending cards and phoning to see how I am. I am very lucky :-)
      Hope to see you in the not-too-distant future. If you fancy cheering me up with a few poems that your talented students have written - I would be delighted!