"I felt as though I was in a dream" - Janet's story

Today in Community news, we’re sharing Shaun’s story from his wife Janet’s perspective. If you missed Shaun talking about his experiences with head and neck cancer, click here to catch up.

 A photograph of a man and a woman, with Christmas lights in the background. The man has his arm around the woman, and they are both smiling at the camera and wearing warm winter clothes.

I always felt sad for anyone that had got any type of cancer, but nothing had prepared me for the long road to come.

When my husband found out he had cancer in his left tonsil and lymph nodes, we were devastated.

We came out of the hospital numb and in disbelief.

We both cried together, but Shaun was definitely the stronger of us.

I felt as though I was in a dream.

Everything that followed would take me probably a year to write, because I have never known a man be put through as much.

It broke my heart to see him so poorly.

"I felt as though I was in a dream"

After the diagnosis, there were appointments for his mask to be fitted for the radiotherapy, numerous appointments for radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

The first two weeks of treatment he managed ok, and then into his third week it was as if a brick wall had hit him.

He began to get ulcers in his mouth and on his tongue, and couldn't eat or drink. They fitted a feeding tube, so Shaun could feed and take his meds through the tube.

The six weeks of treatment were exhausting for Shaun.

The travelling alone was a trauma for him. Everywhere we travelled he had to take a plastic bag and tissues with him because he couldn't swallow, so he had to spit all of the gunge out.

He has had four chest infections and a couple of times in hospital, the last being for a clot on the lung.

He was really poorly but the hospital got him back on track, and now he has to be on meds for the rest of his life for the clot.

 A photograph of Shaun and Janet smiling in their home.

Fast forward to today, and he still can't eat or drink.

Everything still goes through the tube, but he is sleeping better on a night now, and we are both very positive that hopefully soon he can get the tube out.

His throat is still very sore, so we don't know how long it will be.

"Keep Positive"

I hope that if anyone wants to know a little from someone who didn't have a clue about head and neck cancer they can get a little bit of an insight out of this, and keep positive.

 A photograph of Shaun and Janet with their two grandchildren and a dog, sat on a sofa and smiling

We want to thank Shaun, Janet and their family for sharing their story with us. If you have a friend or family member affected by cancer, our Family and Friends group is a safe place to talk to others who might be able to understand how you’re feeling. 

Do you have a story to share? Let us know at community@macmillan.org.uk.