"how the queen elizabeth hospital saved my life..."

About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Birmingham)

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Today the first of January 2014. Oh my god another year that I shouldn't be here. It seems right today to tell you my story. Like any story , it has a beginning, a middle and hopefully an end. It began on the 12th of April 2012. I was spring cleaning.I thought I had a bit of dust in my eye but there was nothing there. The doctor said I needed to get to the eye hospital.I went 3 times over the next 3 weeks. I was in terrible pain, They did what they could but finally refered me to an E.N.T. specialist as they thought it was possibly an abscess on my sinuses. One week later my husband and I decided to pay for private catscans and m.r.i. scans as my eye was protruding that much I couldn't get my glasses on to watch the telly!! You cannot imagine our shock when the scans showed a tumour as big as an orange behind my left eye and the tumour had eroded the bone.Finally I discovered it was cancer. I was 66 years old. I was sent an appointment to see the E.N.T. specialists at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, They saved my life and this story is dedicated to them. Several weeks later, after being treated with dignity, compassion and kindness a team of 7 brilliant doctors sat me and my husband down to discuss how they could save my life, The whole left side of my face had to be reconstructed. My hipbone would replace my jaw. My eye had to be removed, All my teeth had to come out. But the good news was , I would get dental inplants when I felt better!! hurrah. To be honest, I felt like I was in the middle of a horror story. I was so scared.This is me, scared of blood tests and I have needlephobia!! The operation was due on the 10th July 2012. By the end of June I was so ill I had to be admitted and I just wanted to die I was in so much pain.The nurses were so lovely and did what they could but in the end the doctors came in and told me that the tumour had spread to my brain and the operation would probably kill me as I was too weak .Chemotherapy was not possible. I could hear my husband and my daughter sobbing. Shut up I shouted I am not dead yet!! I was told I could go home with them holding my hand, but maybe as a last chance they could try radiotherapy but didn't hold out much hope!!.I decided what the hell, I had nothing to lose, but I was too ill to get off the bed for my first session. How scary it is when they mould something around your head that resembles a chip pan basket. I came home and went to the funeral directors. I wanted nice hyms people would sing to and I even chose a coffin, cheap enough it was going to get burnt anyway!! So my story carries on. I didn't die, but its no fun with lumps out of your tongue and sores inside and outside of your mouth. Guess what I stopped biting my nails after 60 years, Lost 30 pounds and had a fabulous wig. I also had a loving caring younger husband, that kept me going.!!My family and friends have been so supportive and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. My story doesn't end there, watch this space

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Response from Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to share your story about your experience at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. It is clear from your story that you have been through an extremely difficult and emotional time and we are very grateful to you for sharing it with us. We are pleased to hear that doctors and nurses at the hospital have been able to support you during this time and that their kindness and compassion has meant so much to you. Your comments have been passed onto the senior staff responsible for Cancer Services; they will ensure your feedback is shared with their team members. It is very satisfying for staff to hear they have made such a difference to patients and made sure your experience under our care has been positive. We hope that we are able to continue to offer the care and support you need during the next stage of your journey and wish you well for the future. At University Hospitals Birmingham we are always keen to receive feedback from our patients and visitors as it helps us to ensure we are delivering the best in care. Please continue to tell us if things went well so that we can share this with the teams who cared for you. If we don’t get it right please let us know so that we can take action to make sure we get it right in the future. There are a number of ways you can do this, some of which are listed below; ? Fill out our patient experience surveys; we have them for day case or short stay patients, inpatients, and those who attend the Emergency Department. There are general surveys asking about all aspects of your experience as well as others relating to specific aspects of your stay e.g. the operating theatre and food. You may also be contacted by post and given the opportunity to complete a survey relating to your discharge from hospital or your outpatient attendance. ? Fill in a Trust feedback leaflet, displayed in all patient and public areas – please ask staff if they are not easily visible. ? Become a ‘mystery patient’ and tell us about your experience, you can do this just once or each time you attend the hospital. For further information on these and other ways you can give us your feedback please contact patientexperience@uhb.nhs.uk or telephone us on 0121 371 4491/2

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