Wednesday 10th August 2022

ONE Day…Before Half My (Cancerous) Mouth Was Removed. 5 July 2017. 43/2022.

ONE Day…Before Half My (Cancerous) Mouth Was Removed. 5 July 2017. 43/2022.

On the morning of Wednesday 5 July 2017 I was actually eager to get going….

On the long (2 hour) drive from our place in Gorokan, on NSW Central Coast, to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse in Camperdown, Sydney.

It Helped Distract Me to Share on Social Media


I had waited for 7 weeks for this day to arrive.

Mind you, there were many emotions expressed by me before this day:

  • fear
  • worry
  • life changing in many ways
  • sad
  • frightened
  • confident
  • determined

and they’re the ones I remember.

I knew I had to have this cancer removal surgery.

I knew it was the only way forward. I knew lotsĀ  but I felt lots too….

How might I ever eat again?

Would I be able to talk?

How might I look?

And more….

So, to commemorate that day (and the night) I am doing this post for ME!



“what is that about doing what you are scared of because there is no going backwards, only forwards…”

Before the 5th July, when I would be having my pre-op tests and more at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse:

  • I had already met with my two head and neck cancer surgeons,
  • had two planning appointments with my prosthodontist,
  • a big appointment with my psychologist,
  • lots of chats with my husband,
  • and a few extra confidence building GP visits…
  • then at COBLH they would be doing more tests on that day including blood tests, Xrays, ECG, chat with anaesthetist, booking into the hospital, and walking around for me to getĀ  semblance of where I was and what the place where I would spend at least 10 days be like.

I was treated with kindness and care all the way, with my surgeon’s practice manager popping down to ensure all was OK.

From Area In COBLH Where I Had My Pre-Admission Tests. I was not to know, that my view of Sydney would be similar when I was in my room on Level 9 later that week.

We had planned to stay in cheap residential accommodation 5 minutes from the hospital the night before, and my husband would stay there while I was in intensive care.

I admit when we arrived, and some readers may know of this place as its in Inner Sydney, it felt not like ‘us’ but we persevered until…I had a breakdown in tears and it was all of the emotions coming together and there was NO way I could see B being comfy here, facing a long and winding set of stairs to the relatively small room….so, here he is doing something that eased the feelings:

B speaking with our daughter, who lives in north western Sydney, an hour from the hospital and making plans to stay with her. Me, trying to calm myself!

And after the place’s caretaker was prepared to give us a refund, we settled, not really….but before dark, I went for a walk through Newtown, down towards Carillion Avenue and Sydney University, close to Missenden Road, Camperdown where Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is located.

It is quite close to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, (R.P.A.) and it is also a teaching hospital. My mind went back to the late 1960s when my then boyfriend (not B) was at Sydney Uni and we went to various balls and functions there, and I even played netball in the Uni grounds back in teachers’ college days. I guess I told myself, I could never have imagined being here, some 50 years later, and now living far away from my life back then, to be operated on, the very next day by a specialist head and neck cancer team….

I slowly walked back and noticed this lovely flower as I came back to the place where I would sleep (!) and get ready for the 6.a.m. arrival time on Thursday 6th July 2017.


I looked in the mirror that night as I got ready for sleep….and said “good bye” to this upper jaw that had cancer through it.

At 5.50 a.m. we walked down the many stairs, in the dark of a Sydney July Winter morning, to the car, where we had safely left my hospital bag, and got in to make the 5 minute drive to COBLH. We had a laugh (thankfully) though when instead of going on the dimly lit path to the exit, B managed to drive over the lawn..Ooops.

After parking the car outside Chris O’Brien Lifehouse before the carpark opened, B took me through the doors at the entrance (on the side of COBLH a design decision by the late Prof Chris O’Brien ) and we walked to the almost now familiar lift bank…after I went to the very familiar ladies loo first!

Then….there is no more to this story, except that tomorrow, on 6 July 2022, I have a second post coming about “getting back my voice and more”.

Thank you to any readers and I would be delighted if you made a comment!