Hi Friends, I'm sorry it's been such a while since I've been here, apart from clicking 'like' on a post or two! A lot has happened but I'll give you just a brief summary, if I can.

On 11/2/19 we went to Spain for just over 3 weeks, as we have been doing for the last 16 years or so. The weather there suits us as the temperature is between 15-20 but can sometimes go as high as 24! Around 17/18 is hot enough for me! We had a lovely restful holiday and returned home on 4/3/19. On 20th March I had to go in for spinal surgery. I had 2 discs out of place and this was causing the spinal cords to compress (as some of you know) Apart from the Aneasthatist taking So long to find a vein which in turn, put me from first to third on the theatre list, all went well. The surgeon explained he did a spinal decompression, took off some bone spurs and thought the discs would then slot back into place but (there's always a but.) they kept jumping out so he had to fit a metal bracket to hold the discs in place. I got home quite quickly because I had my husband at home and I also have a stairlift. My District Nurse took the stitches out 10 days later but the dissolvable inside stitches did not dissolve and I took an allergic reaction to them. In the meantime I started to feel quite unwell, I thought it was just a urine infection but when the nurse sent away a sample plus some blood work it came back that I had contracted E-coli! I got very ill and it did cross my mind "this is the end" so I won't die from cancer after all, just a stupid infection because my immune system is shot. It took 3 intense courses of antibiotics and 9 weeks before I finally 'started' to feel a bit better, it's been a long haul but I'm still here! 

The back op has worked so I no longer have numb feet or problems controlling my bladder, so the surgery was a success!

So that's it in a nutshell, except the internal stitches are still surfacing through the wound and the nurse pulls them out. The surgeon told me this can last for up to six months.

Thanks again for your nice welcome and I will try to get back into the habit of checking the latest posts.

    • Hi again, I did mean to say in my post that while all this was going on with me, my husband was having gall bladder problems and after 4 bouts of severe pain and vomiting over less than 3 weeks, on the fourth episode the out of hours came in took one look at him and phoned an ambulance immediately! He was in hospital for eight days, he also was jaundiced. After scans, they did an endoscopy to clear gallstones from the duct between the g/b and the liver. Thankfully since then he has had no more problems! You know what they say, it never rains but it pours!  So as you can see the last three and a bit months have been quite eventful! Oh, and we've booked a holiday from 27 September for two weeks to Salou, where we will celebrate our 48th wedding anniversary! Can you believe, we even managed to get travel insurance which fully includes all medical problems! Great or what!!
  • Hi Annette,

    good to hear from you again and glad you survived all the problems.

    very good news they have cured your disc problem it will help the pain. Since my disc surgery I do not have th pain but still get some pins and needles mainly in my big toe.

    you did well to survive the E. coli so nearly could have died . A shame about the stitches as well.

    i had more RFA for my lung mets in April everything has got bigger and now have a lesion in my liver.

    i had a dexascan and they are disputing the fractures in my spine reported on my CT scans so have asked for a full spine MRI which I dread I will have it on July 25th.

    glad your husband has had his gall bladder sorted it is very painful too.

    my Mum died on June 1st which has been very difficult for me as she was a big part of my life and it feels strange for her not to be here any more. I looked after her all the time and was with her constantly at the end.  I now am the executor and have the job of clearing the house so a lot to do.

    so pleased you are back on the site.

    love Ruth x

  • Welcome back to you Annette, 

    What a long slog you've had to get back, but I'm very pleased you made it through everything! 

    Glad your husband finally had his surgery, though I'm sure you wish he'd had it at a more opportune time instead of cancelling. But it's done now so hopefully everyone is a lot happier. 

    Enjoy the upcoming holiday, and an early congrats on your anniversary! 

    Good to have you back! 



  • Well come back Annette,

    Wow thats a hideous 9 weeks! Pleased you are back on the site  and chatting.

    Enjoy the holiday xx

  • Hi Annette

    Oh you were so lucky that the ecoli didn't kill you although there are several strains, some worse than others. I remember that there was a bad outbreak in Scotland a few years ago and several people died. I googled it and it was a butcher in Wishaw in Lanarkshire (which I think is where John Higgins the snooker player is from, his nickname is the Wizard of Wishaw.) The butcher's steak pie was the culprit and it was part of a meal for a church lunch. It's a horrible bug that people who have underlying health problems do not want to catch. 

    Similar to you, I also have two discs out and the compression causes me a lot of pain. Unlike you though, I am not being offered the operation because my pain has shifted to across my back (when it's bad it really feels like my back is going to break!). I was offered a second, then a third opinion and they all said that people had been operated on whose pain had also moved across their back, and it didn't make a pick of difference. So no op, I have to go around on a wheelchair which is funnily a world where people are so kind and considerate, they sometimes would offer me to go in front of them in a queue but I kindly turn down their offer because they were before me. Doors are opened and people stand back to allow me to go through. I always smile and thank them and also drivers will stop to allow me to cross the road. Maybe it's a Northern Ireland trait of being friendly to each other, I don't know.

    What's the worst thing can happen to a cancer victim? It's that their partner takes ill. The one who cares most for us gets a serious illness. I'm so happy to hear that your husband is much better now. It must have been so worrying for you. 

    You're going away on the 27th September? That's our wedding anniversary. I don't mean yours and mine lol Joy. I mean my wife of course. Hope the family are working behind the scenes on a celebration. Maybe they'll give us a round the world cruise, ha ha. No chance! 

    Have a nice break Annette, and enjoy your wedding anniversary. Maybe you'll get a round the world cruise!

    Take care Annette, speak soon.

    Tvman xx 

  • Dear Annette,

    Just when experiencing a niggle of concern not having seen a post by you, there you are. Very relieved, though must say am very sorry you have had such a rotten experience post-surgery with the sutures and e-coli.

    We are fortunate to continue to have you with us.Infection is very dangerous for most of us. At times am much more scared of it than the CA.

    Hoping there will be much smoother sailing for you and husband from now onward. 48 years! May you have a lovely holiday.

  • Hi Ruth, Thanks for thinking about me! I thought a Dexiscan was to find out if you had osteoporosis or not, I didn't think they did this scan  to see if you had fractures in your spine! Maybe there are different types of these scans but I thought this was for bone density! Do you have osteoporosis? If I remember rightly, you are quite scared of the enclosed space for an MRI, am I right? When I get mine, I take my favourite CD, they play it through the earphones and I just close my eyes and concentrate on the music until it is finished. It usually takes longer than the CD lasts for, so I let them know before they start if the music finishes, just start it again. Maybe your GP could also give you something to take before you go to help you relax! At least at the end of the MRI you will be able to get a proper diagnosis and they can get a treatment plan in place for you.

    I am so sorry to hear the sad news about your mum. I know that even when you didn't feel well, you always put your mum's needs first. She was very lucky to have a loving daughter like you. ( I will pm you soon).

  • Hi Lass and thanks for your reply! I'll tell you one thing, if we hadn't managed on holiday at the beginning of the year, I really don't think I would have had the strength to come through it all smiling! Of course I knew I had the surgery to have when we got home but couldn't have imagined all the extra things we got thrown at us. Sometimes  it's just as well we don't know what's around the corner!

    Our anniversary and holiday are still quite a few months away yet but on 6th August our grandson will be five and starts school less than two weeks later! It is also my birthday and our son's birthday in August, so we have plenty of excuses to celebrate before the end of September!  What's happening with you these days? Are you keeping well and doing alright or.......?

  • Hi TVman, Nice to hear from you and thanks for the welcome back. I can honestly say someone up there must have other plans for me because I thought I was a goner! It was very scary! When I read "what's the worst thing that can happen to a cancer victim" in your post, I expected to read on for it to say "catch a bad infection" but then when I read " for their partner to become ill"! You were spot on! I'm not used to my husband being ill, except the once when we went away for the weekend and he ended up in Ninewells Hospital in Dundee! That also was due to gallstones and the time before that was over 5 years ago, so when he took these bouts of vomiting and pain in such a short space of time, I was at my wits end with worry! My son & daughter took me to the hospital to see him and I went every day in the afternoon and the one who didn't drive me, went up at night to see him! He kept saying for me to stay at home because I looked so tired but I wouldn't have settled until I saw him myself!

    I met him when I was 16, he is my soulmate! We had a longish engagement because I promised my mum, I wouldn't get married until I was 21! I kept my promise but unfortunately my mum died when I was 19, so wasn't at our wedding. I often wished I had got married at 18 instead of waiting but I know she was only looking out for me.

    Sorry, I'm rambling now and that's a whole other story!! As you will see from another reply, we have lots to look forward to before September when we go to Salou! You never know, maybe your family will get you a surprise cruise for your anniversary on 27th Sept! Would you really want that? Our anniversary is on 2nd Oct and we have been very lucky to have seen lots of countries up til now but from now on, we won't be going too far! It doesn't matter where you go but who you're with!!

    I know what you mean about the wheelchair, people are very kind. I have found that not only in Scotland but everywhere we go!

    I hope you are enjoying the nice weather. Take Care 

  • Lin, Thank you also for your kind reply! To be honest, I think I've written more tonight, replying to all your lovely posts than I have in the past year!!! You are so right about infections being dangerous for us cancer patients, I know of at least two people who used to go to the local Marie Curie Hospice who didn't recover after having serious infections. I think our immune systems are weak or non existent because of the cancer drugs but I suppose it's a chance we are willing to take, to keep the cancer at bay! Believe me, I do know just how lucky I have been! 

    Meantime, how are you doing? Have you been well enough to have a break yet, or do you have anything booked to look forward to?   Thanks again!

  • Hi Annette, Thank you for inquiring. 12 days post-surgery and still await notification of biopsy results. Also awaiting results of an spep. Fatique keeps me down. Daytrips may be possible soon. There is beauty in each day, for which am deeply grateful. Thank you.

  • Hi Lin, Twelve days after surgery is very early days, so I'm not surprised you still feel fatigued! Waiting for biopsy results is something we can all relate to and they never come quick enough! Sometimes they can take up to three or four weeks or more depending on what they are testing for. I'm afraid there's nothing you can do about that except just try to be patient and it's not easy. I hope you get stronger with each passing day and when you do get the results, they are all good!

  • Hi Anndanv, nice to see you back and good to hear you had a nice holiday and that your surgery was succsessful, I was one of 35 people in Leeds that contracted E-coli some years ago and it knocked me off my feet for 3 months or so. It was traced back to pork pies from a deli who was supplied by a local butcher who had been in trouble for hygene failings previously, if i had known it was one of their pies i wouldnt have bought it. Lynn 2.xx

  • My wife almost died after catching meningitis cause by the e-coli virus after an operation to reduce a non malignant tumour on her spinal cord - spent 5 days in ICU and a total of 6 months in hospital. Still suffering health problems some 4 years later from this. I work in the food industry so was obviously aware of how serious e-coli can be, but never imagined something like this would happen.


  • Hi John, I was sorry to hear about your wife but glad she got through it. What sort of problems have lingered, if you don't mind me asking? So your wife was also in hospital for a spinal op too! You don't expect to go in for an op and then after you come out, feel worse!      I was allergic to the internal stitches so when I started to feel unwell, it was put down to that until I just got worse and worse, then they decided to take urine & blood samples and that's when E-coli was confirmed. They wanted to take me back to the same hospital but I said I'd rather not, so they decided to treat me at home. The District Nurses were amazing! I must say, I know the infection has cleared now but I still don't feel 'right'!  I'm wondering if your wife has had any other treatment o is she just dealing with it herself? 

  • Hi John, I was sorry to hear about your wife but glad she got through it. What sort of problems have lingered, if you don't mind me asking? So your wife was also in hospital for a spinal op!  You don't expect to go in for an op and then after you come out, feel worse!      I was allergic to the internal stitches so when I started to feel unwell, it was put down to that until I just got worse and worse, then they decided to take urine & blood samples and that's when E-coli was confirmed. They wanted to take me back to the 'same' hospital but I said I'd rather not, so they decided to treat me at home. The District Nurses were amazing! I must say, I know the infection has cleared now but I still don't feel 'right'!  I'm wondering if your wife has had any other treatment o is she just dealing with it herself? 

  • Thanks for your reply Lynn. A pork pie eh!! I've never liked them! I wonder if the butcher was charged when he failed a hygiene inspection? I'm surprised the deli you went to actually bought them from that butcher. I hope he has since been closed down now! How are you doing Lynn? 

  • She came through but has lost some hearing (known side effect of meningitis) and has never recovered full mobility. Gets around the house with a Zimmer, but needs a wheelchair when we go out. Unfortunately had a couple of falls indoors which resulted in her fracturing her left and, and two fractures to the right leg. She has been in hospital for just over 6 weeks now so not getting much downtime at the moment. I pick up next batch of meds tomorrow, with a 3 month scan planned for beginning of August

  • That should of been left LEG. Currently she has both legs in plaster and, luckily, has been moved to the local "cottage" hospital for recuperation so can visit daily after work on my way home.

  • Hi John, I was so sorry to read that your wife has been in hospital for such a long time. It's good she has been moved to a cottage hospital when it makes visiting easier for you but hospital visiting is so exhausting! I also have very limited mobility and use elbow crutches at home or for a short distance but have to use a wheelchair when going a bit further. My goodness, that's a lot of broken bones, poor thing, has she been tested for osteoporosis? Do you know when they are taking off the plasters? I'm assuming she will need a lot of physiotherapy once they do come off! It seems that most people "living with cancer" also have lots of other things to cope with as well, as they say it never rains but it pours! I hope your wife is comfortable and will soon be on the mend!