Once again our health care is dominated by Covid, this month with what we hope is peak Omicron. It’s hard to see over the other side of the mountain but others have gone before us and seem to be living with the virus with case numbers and hospitalisations way down.

Thanks to the head and neck cancer staff who have treated us and checked us up through these difficult times. Commiserations to the many people with less urgent concerns who have had medical treatment delayed. Some so-called lower priority ailments have huge impacts on quality of life. Let’s hope our hospitals are back to something near normality in the next weeks or months.

We have managed to keep going through Delta and Omicron. We’ve extended our patient packs to Dunedin Hospital, we’re surveying other hospitals where head and neck cancer is treated and we’ve donated a supply of fans and petrol vouchers to Auckland Hospital. Ward 74 is very warm and for a post-op patient heat can be uncomfortable.

I remain grateful to the Ward 74 staff who treated me during November last year: big surgery with a thigh flap to replace part of my throat. After initial struggles I was pleased with my recovery. The photo below shows me on the right two months afterwards. I’m on my first day back with my walking group at Army Bay with the mask a useful device to cover my mouth while I wait for dental reconstruction in a few months.

During my time in hospital I was impressed by the support I received from our Facebook forum, especially when I failed the first swallow test. https://www.facebook.com/groups/HNCSupport.Aotearoa

And don’t forget to donate to us if you can. We know these are tough times but any donation from $2 to $2 million is of great help.

Below are the bank account number and our Givealittle link.

Account Number:  03-1502-0025544-000

Account Name: Head & Neck Cancer Support Aot