There was a big omission in the first December News post. I forgot to thank the multitude of health professionals who helped me through my October 27 surgery 5 weeks ago. 

Since my last HNC surgery in 2014 there seems to have been an advance in technology (the Doppler wires attached to the neck) and a more data based approach. However, it is the people using the technology who get us through. 

I want to thank the surgeons, the CNS nurses, the ward nurses, the health care assistants, the Allied Health staff in speech language therapy, physiotherapy and in the dietary field, the friendly receptionists and nurses in Outpatients, the max fax and dental team over at Greenlane. There will be more but this is my attempt to cover all fields. It’s hard work getting someone through a major HNC surgery, especially a restless customer like me who finds being in hospital very uncomfortable. 

In a way this is a thanks to teams all over New Zealand and abroad who treat HNC patients. The treatments can be very harsh with some patients having all day surgeries and others having intense chemo-radiation with all the pain that entails. Some have both. But lives are saved, many of us get back to a good quality of life and it’s like having a baby. You tend to forget the worst parts once life returns to some sort of normal. 

As a charity we are also patient advocates interested in making the patient experience less onerous. Sometimes we will suggest improvements but it feels good to work with health professionals to ensure this. 

And in reference to the last news, I now have the NG tube out. Haircut ready.