The story so far!

To my family and friends, this blog will be a way for you guys to follow my journey as I under go treatment for tumour in my neck. Hopefully this will help everyone follow my health progress and help you understand medically what’s going on and will help you know how to support Sue, Dan, Sophy, Amy and myself as we work through this time together.

I will try to update everyone as often as I can, but bare with me if there are gaps in time.

To explain what’s been going on I have decided to write this down in words as its of often easier in words rather than trying to explain the same thing to lots of different people, especially when your emotions can be all over the place, although it’s getting easier as the days go by. So here hopefully explains what’s been going on over the last 8 months during my many visits to the doctors and the hospitals.

The story all started last November, when the design agency I was working in decided to get involved in Movember. Six guys including myself started Movember clean shaven and grew our moustaches throughout the month to raise money.

Movember is responsible for the sprouting of millions of moustaches around the world. With their “Mo’s” men raise vital funds and awareness for prostate and testicular cancer and mental health. As an independent global charity, Movember’s vision is to have an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health.

During this month we took photos every day of all our progress. At the end of the month I was putting all these images together to make a slideshow of our progress. It was at this time that I noticed that the left side of my face was quite balanced with my right side. So I felt and checked my neck I realised there was something not even. This kick started my journey to the doctors and hospitals.

After many appointments, 4 ultrasound scans and 3 biopsies, an MRI scan, a PET scan and a CT scan, the doctors started understand what is going on and we was told a couple of weeks ago that the lump was a tumour and would need to be removed. I have since found out that the tumour has some malignant cells. I have been under the Princess Royal here in Farnborough, but have now been referred up to Guys and St Thomas hospitals who have carried out further investigations. From the point of view of the operation we are no worse off than we were earlier in the summer, it’s just that we now know the tumour contains some malignant cells and is pretty rare form of cancel which is called a Paraganglioma growing around my vegas nerve in my neck. There are positives from the PET scan in that nothing has spread any further than my neck, i.e. the rest of my body is clear.

After 5 appointments in 2 weeks we have now seen the 2 senior surgeons who will lead 2 different team for the operation at Guys and I also have a date for the operation which is Tuesday 17 September (my mums birthday). So after the initial shock of finding out what was going on, we are both happy that we are under 2 great surgeons who understand what needs to happen and they have both put us at peace about what lies ahead, eventhough it will be difficult. I will be in hospital for a week to 2 weeks and then off work for a further 3 weeks. By time I come out of hospital they will then be able to say whether I will need any further treatment such as radio therapy, in the weeks to come.

Sue and I are feeling positive that we are finally getting to see the light at the end of the tunnel as we have a operation date, even though we know then next few months are going be tough. We are very blessed to have the prayers and support of all our families and friends and our wider family at St Paul’s Crofton, all of whom have supported so far in this already difficult year, having lost Sue’s brother in March, Sue’s mum in August and with my dad’s ongoing treatment for bowel cancer. Our friends at St Paul’s are also supporting us practically in that they have arranged a rota to provide us with meals for Sue and kids for the first 2 weeks whilst I’m in hospital, this has also been a real blessing.

Please continue to pray for Sue, Dan, Sophy, Amy and myself that we will be strong for each other and that we will get through the remainder of the year. Please also pray that when I have the operation that God will skilfully guide the surgeons hands and that there might be minimum complications. The operation does have some elements of risk, such as the tumour is growing around my main facial (vegas) nerve and close to some main arteries.

The kids have been great so far and seem to be coping well with the endless stream of bad news. But please pray for them and the youth leaders too, for wisdom as they help us support them.

Hopefully this will help you all understand medically what’s going on and follow my progress and it might help you to know how to support Sue, Dan, Sophy, Amy and myself as we work through this time together.

I will try to update everyone as often as I can, but bare with me if there are gaps in time.


7 Responses to “The story so far!”

  1. Clauds September 16, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

    Hello Neil,

    I was sorry to learn about the unwelcomed lump in your neck, but pleased to hear you have been scanned, talked about, scanned some more, discussed with the top guys and a plan is in place for you to get rid of this and continue forward. Also you look totally well and the same as when we met in 1997 I think (apart from the new hair cut!).

    These things come a such a shock but the important things ring through, you have a wonderful wife and family and friends who will all support you and be praying for you as will I.

    I wish you lots of luck and positive vibes for this journey and I am sure in 6 months time this will be behind you. Thinking of you and sending my best wishes always, love CLauds x

  2. Neil Wells-West September 11, 2013 at 5:32 pm #

    Hi mate, wow I was so sorry to hear about this. Graham told us a couple of weeks back and then Faye pointed me to your blog site. What a shock it must have been. Just want you to know that we are all thinking/praying for you! x


  3. Becki Cobb September 11, 2013 at 7:40 am #

    Hi Neil,
    Was so shocked to read this news. It must have been really hard to write and I’m proud of you.
    Of course you and all your family will be in our prayers over the coming months. Your family has had such a horrible time recently and am praying that things will get better for you all quickly.
    Becki and Phil x

  4. Faye Wells-West September 10, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

    Neil, you are all in our thoughts and prayers and will continue to be leading up to and after your op. Just want you to know that we love you!
    Loads of love
    Faye,Neil & boys

  5. claire pattern September 10, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    Neil i am so proud of you, my little brother, you and sue and kids are so positive, we are all in this together as a family unit, holding in their, we are trusting God in all that you will be going through, that he will strengthen us, and take us through this rocky path, through our weekness God makes us strong, we are praying for you, sue and kids daily.

    I am so proud of you putting this together, you will need all the support, both spiritual and practical, do not be afraid to ask people to help you.

    God bless claire, your big sister xxxxxxx

  6. Christian September 10, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

    Neil, I’m in shock. Such dreadful news, the courage and positivity of you and your family is inspiring. I’m lost for words. You and your family are in our prayers. Keep strong mate, looking forward to seeing you when you’ve got through all this. Love to you all Christian

  7. Marlous September 10, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    Wow Neil, what a terrible thing to hear about. Wishing you all the luck, good health and strength over the coming weeks. My thoughts are with you!
    Lots of love, Marlous

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