People don’t realise that mouth cancer affects everything
Generally, I don’t think people realise just how serious mouth cancer can be. We use our mouths all the time and for so many things that it has a massive impact on every aspect of daily life.
After the operation, I was fitted with a trachi tube; it was so uncomfortable and I hated it. My mouth was swollen and I couldn’t talk. Eating was a lot harder than I thought it would be; it was more than a week before I was able to try any real food (blended) and I cried my eyes out because I didn’t think I would ever be able to do it. In three weeks, I lost over a stone in weight.
This was a very tough time for me; I was away from my baby and I think the reality of it all just caught up with me.
Recovery has been much harder than I thought
A lot of things hit me more after the operation. I have had to learn how to talk again and had a lot of speech therapy. It has been a tough process but I feel that I have done well. Even though I was surrounded by lots of people, I felt very isolated. I was offered counselling and I am very glad I took it because it really helped.
Mouth cancer has affected my family, not just me
Financially, the past year has been incredibly tough. My husband, who has been amazing throughout this whole thing, had to take a lot of extra time off work because I could do very little. So he had to look after me as well as our son who requires extra care because of his heart condition.
I do think that my husband might have benefitted from talking to someone, just as I had counselling.
Know your body – if something is not right, get it checked
I had heard of mouth cancer before I was diagnosed, but I didn’t realise that an ulcer could be a sign of the disease. Campaigns like Mouth Cancer Action Month are great because it helps people to be aware of the disease. It is absolutely crucial for everyone to know that if something doesn’t look right, they have to get it checked out straight away. Don’t put it off because it could save your life.
You can follow Liz’s mouth cancer story on her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/lizmarsh1802