wigs to wishes.org.uk

The “Dawn Hughes Wigs to Wishes Fund” has been set up to enable me to receive further treatment at an Oncology Clinic in Germany where they have had a high success rate in stopping the spread of Cancer in patients and giving them the best possible chance of remission. The Berkshire Cancer Centre have informed me that there is little chance of my Cancer going into remission with the treatment available in this country.

Thanks for taking the time to visit my website. I'd like to tell you a little bit about myself. I'm a wife and mother of 3 young children, Matthew 13, Ellie 10 and Freddie 6. I was first diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2001 at the age of 36. Following Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy, I was in remission until a chance MRI scan in Feb 2005 for an unrelated problem, detected that the Cancer had returned. I was then diagnosed with Secondary Breast Cancer. The likely prognosis given in February was 18 months to 5 years. I then had to undergo aggressive Chemotherapy, but following the results of a recent bone scan, it was found that the Cancer is still spreading. The treatment in Germany will cost thousands of pounds and for most people like myself, the opportunity for this is a dream. Many of my Family and Friends want to make this dream a reality and are making tremendous fund raising efforts, because without them, I would not be able to seek the treatment that I so obviously need and which is not being offered in this country.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Extreme Muscle pain in back

Since leaving the hospital a couple of weeks ago (and since the change of pain medication), I've been suffering with a really painful back (yet again). It is on the right hand side and appears to be muscle pain which I think is made worse when I drive, especially changing gears. I have tried to avoid driving for the last week or two because of the pain in my back but there are times when this is difficult and needs must.

The pain has reached unbearable heights in the last few days and I just don't know what to do. The pain medication I'm currently taking is helping with any bone pain but it is not touching the muscle pain in my back. I suppose the pain level is slightly better in the late afternoon but once I've slept I can barely move in bed. I worried Ellie and Freddie this morning because I asked Ellie to help me get up out of bed and I screamed out in pain and started crying. Freddie said he felt sick last night and this morning and it would be so easy to let him stay off school but fortunately Annie was picking him up for me. It's not fair on the kids to see me suffering like this as it really does upset them. I'm not sure what to do about it at the moment but I'm seeing the District Nurse this morning as usual for my dressing change on my armpit which seems to be healing very slowly but going in the right direction. I've also got to speak with Sue Ryder this morning about arranging transport for tomorrow so hopefully I'll get some attention to the pain.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wound still weeping during the night

Although I'm having the dressings changed twice a day at the moment the wound is still managing to leak out during the night which means I'm constantly changing my clothes which is a nuisance. My back is still hurting a great deal, especially over night. When I spoke to the MacMillan Nurse yesterday she said it was probably because we had stopped the Diclofenec. The new pain medications are really helping with the hip pain, of which I haven't really got any but they are not doing anything for the back ache and they are also giving me constipation so I'm not having a good time with it at the moment. I'm also feeling quite sick so have to take the anti-sickness tablets regularly too.

The District Nurse came to clean my wound and reapply new dressing. She said she noticed that the wound had started hardening a little. This afternoon she rang to say that she had spoken to the Doctor and they had advised to start me on a course of antibiotics just in case anything is brewing. The only pain is that they do give me a very bad stomach but I need to keep the wound clean and free of infection otherwise it really won't heal very quickly.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Onc appointment with Dr Barrett

Saw Dr Barrett today so that she could keep an eye on me after my admission to hospital last week. She said that we wouldn't be considering any chemo until the infection in my armpit had settled if not totally healed. She did however say that there is a slim chance that it may not heal if it is not definitely an infection and is related to the cancer spreading in the nodes. Although this cannot be ruled out at this stage she said that she wouldn't get any biopsy's done as she needs to give the wound time to heal. If it is cancer related then there may be some radiotherapy in the pipeline.

My platelets were very low today at 60 and my white blood count is very high at 11.23 which is expected and a good thing as my body is fighting the infection.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Discharged from Adelaide

My temperature behaved itself over the weekend so I rang to completely discharge myself from Adelaide Ward today.

Apart from not feeling very well last week my stay on Adelaide Ward was a really pleasant experience. Certainly much nicer than 4 years ago when I was on the old Adelaide Ward. The new Adelaide had plenty of nurses and the ward was clean and bright.

I had an appointment with Dr Maeve McKeogh at Sue Ryder today and we discussed my change of pain medication. Dr Maeve was a little concerned that they'd stopped the diclofenec especially as I said that my back was really hurting. It is more muscular than bone pain but since stopping the diclofenec it has got really bad, especially when I've been sleeping. I'm now taking Oxycontin and Oxynorm which are helping with the bone pain but not doing much for my muscle problems.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Semi-Discharge from Adelaide Ward

I've had a high temperature in the last 24 hours so although the Dr on Adelaide Ward said I could go home, he said he wasn't happy to completely discharge me as he wanted to save my bed until Monday in case my temperature was not settling, then at least I would be able to come straight back to the Ward rather than going through the GP and CDU (Critical Decision Unit) route.

Dr Draczynski called from the Leonardis Klinik, I had informed them earlier in the week that I was being admitted due to the boils under my armpit. It was comforting to speak with him and it made me feel reassured that everything that could be done had been done. He had some advice on what extra supplements to take to help with the healing process.

Like the Berks, Dr D said there could have been a number of reasons why I got the infection but first and foremost is because my immune system is compromised due to all the treatments I've had and my body obviously couldn't cope. As the Dr's have said at the Berks the wound will heal from the inside out and will take quite a long time, anything from 6-8 weeks (if not more!!!).

So, I've come home feeling really tired and weak with a bad back (too much lying around in bed!).

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Not allowed home just yet

I thought I might be going home today but in light of the hallucinations and not being able to form sentences properly they decided to keep me in a little longer plus more importantly they're concerned about my kidney function and high calcium levels.

Dr Barrett did her rounds on the Ward today and thought I looked a lot better than the last time I saw her on Monday. She said we can stop the IV antibiotics which is a relief as my stomach is in need of a break! They've been running blood tests everyday and the results have indicated deterioration of my renal function so diclofenec has been stopped as has Tramadol which they think is the reason for the high calcium levels and also the recent hallucinations.

My Haemoglobin levels have dropped to 8.9 since being admitted so I'm having 2 units of blood, Pamidronate to help with the Calcium levels and now they're also giving me saline by the bag. Loads of it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I started off with a fairly good nights sleep but soon got woken by the wound leaking, so I had another dressing. Unfortunately I hadn't brought many clothes into the hospital as I didn't know what to expect and that I would be getting in a bit of a mess! In the end I had to start wearing the hospital gown which was better than keep spoiling my clothes but someone pointed out that I looked like a dinner lady!!

Following the start of the IV antibiotics by stomach has gone mad (if you know what I mean). It's horrible.

The wound leaked again at lunchtime, so another dressing change. The doctors have also changed my medication slightly as I was complaining that my back was beginning to hurt more. I thought maybe from lying in the bed the majority of the day. They've upped the Tramadol at night.

During the afternoon and evening I started having funny visions and slurring my words. I was seeing images in front of me that actually weren't there. A balloon had been left from a previous patient and I kept seeing things on it when it was a plain balloon. Something obviously wasn't right. I tried sending people txt messages and it was a nightmare. If I did manage to send one, it was either one word because somehow I'd lost the rest of it or I was sending out old messages. I was all over the place and couldn't understand it. I'd had quite a few visitors and I think they must have thought I was going mad (or maybe it's just normal for me!!).

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Admitted to Adelaide Ward

I rang up the RBH this morning and a bed is available. I decided to email the Leonardis before going in just to let them know what was going on. Christine rang me from the Leonardis to check that I was okay and she said that Dr Draczynski would be in touch to chat over what is going on at the moment.

Went in around midday and was booked in by a doctor and a nurse. I had a bed by a window so it was nice and bright. Such a difference to the old Adelaide Ward. The doctor took a look at the boils and said that they would start me on IV antibiotics straightaway and that a surgeon would probably come and see me later on to discuss the surgery tomorrow. They said that I would have to have a general aneasthetic so it was going to be nil by mouth from midnight. No midnight feasts for me then!! Actually, appetite completely out the window anyway.

Around 6pm a surgeon came to see me and check over the boils. He felt he didn't want to make the decision himself as to whether I should be taken down for surgery tomorrow morning or attempt to withdraw the fluid using a needle and syringe as they did on Friday in Ultrasound. He decided to call upon his senior colleague who would be doing the minor operation. They came back an hour or so later and decided to do it all at my bedside. No anaesthetic!! Well, as I said on Friday, it is very numb in my armpit so I said I'd let them try.

They managed to get more of the fluid out using the needle aspiration method but not very much so with my permission they asked if they could cut the hole open more with scissors where the needle went in. I just said carry on as it still wasn't really hurting and they did say that this would save me having the aneasthetic which was a positive move (I know I'm always sick with anaesthetics so I was quite relieved). A closed pair of scissors were put in the hole and twisted around to make the hole bigger and then the fluid just started gushing out. There was loads of it. Chocolate milkshake coloured. It was still fairly painless at this point. It did start getting a little more painful when the surgeon was putting pressure from left to right of the armpit to encourage as much of the fluid/pus to come out. As there were two boils (one either side of the armpit) it does look like they were connected as all the fluid came out of the first incision.

The surgeons then packed the deep hole with some kind of seaweed gauze (which helps the healing process), covered it with more gauze and then a massive plaster. Job done. Unfortunately they did say that it could take 6-8 weeks to heal! NOOOO!!! What about my swimming and showering. Pain in the you know what!!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Finally have an appointment with Dr Barrett

Saw Dr Barrett this afternoon and was finally able to show her the boils under my armpit. She initially said that she wanted me to continue on the antibiotics (which I had been taking for the last 10 days and hadn't really done anything) and she would like to see me on Wednesday before making a decision on whether to admit me and start me on IV antibiotics before considering surgery if the antibiotics hadn't done anything. I started feeling quite dizzy and sick at this point and had to sit down. Steve said that I hadn't been feeling well for weeks and was very lethargic and tired. Dr Barrett said that I could be admitted today but if a bed wasn't available on Adelaide ward, I would have to wait in the CDU unit (clinical decision unit) or I could go home and wait for a bed to be available, hopefully tomorrow. This was the better option. Dr Barrett felt that it could either be an infection or more disease spread which was a bit of a surprise.

Friday, June 05, 2009

At my Wits End

Having seen Dr George twice this week about the lumps/boils under my armpit and her attempts to communicate/speak with Dr Barrett's secretary, I made one more attempt to speak with Dr B's secretary myself this morning and again had to leave a voicemail message, so under my own initiative I went up to the Berkshire Cancer Unit at midday and asked to see someone about my lumps. Luckily as it was the end of clinic it wasn't very busy and I managed to see a new Consultant called Dr Fong. He was really nice, chatted about my history and then examined the lumps. He firstly decided to change the antibiotics I was on and gave me a card to send me for an ultrasound to see what was going on. Then he asked Barbara Gray (the clinical nurse in clinic) to contact Dr B's secretary to get me seen in Dr B's clinic on Monday.

Amazingly, Dr B's secretary answers her internal phone calls! When asked if I could be added to the end of the list she said that it was already full and that this wasn't possible. At this point Dr Fong piped up that this woman must be seen on Monday and that if there was any problems with adding me to the end of the list then he would speak with Dr Barrett. Yippee. At last, some action. I was happy with that because my next clinic appointment with Dr B was on Monday 15th and I didn't want to wait another week before my armpit was thoroughly looked at.

I went off to the ultrasound dept and was lucky to be seen within an hour (everything just seemed to go perfectly once Dr Fong had got involved). The radiologist said she could see a lot of fluid and decided to try and draw some off with a needle and syringe. It didn't hurt when the needle went in because the area is already numb. Unfortunately the fluid was very thick and so the radiologist only managed withdraw 15ml. It looked like chocolate milkshake! She said the images would be sent off to Dr Barrett and she would be able to discuss more with me on Monday.

When I got home there was a message on my ansaphone from Dr B's secretary saying that she had received the fax and two voicemail messages from my GP, Dr George and my voicemail message this morning. She went on to say that Dr Barrett felt it wasn't necessary to move my appointment forward and would see me on the 15th!! Unbelievable. Luckily this has been superceded by Dr Fong's request but what am I supposed to do to be seen and get some action. Today has only happened because I went up to the cancer clinic.