The Heffalump

As most of you know by now, I have a lump. It’s a huge lump….on my neck which I now have named the Heffalump.


It looks like it might be with me for a while, so I decided the other night while sitting in bed feeling a tad lost about it all, to make friends with the Heffalump and perhaps it can be persuaded to leave me and go elsewhere. Mutual agreement, you know.

The lump appeared in no time at all, for no apparent reason just under my right ear. I was at the doctor’s on one of my very rare visits for a flu injection, when I asked her what she thought it might be. Well that led to all the usual stuff I try to avoid, such as ultrasounds, blood tests, CT scans and so on.

There are some of us who tend not to go to the doctors when we should. Mothers usually are convinced they can work their way through the illness, because apart from it being a case of having to, most of the time, it is the short term fix.

By the end of that week the lump had grown to about five times its original size and had stretched his legs down the side to the base of my neck and across to the windpipe area. Even I couldn’t ignore this fact. It was beginning to concern me a little.

These things only happen on weekends or close to weekends, so of course when I returned for the results, I was ordered to the emergency department of the Maryborough Hospital. Having been there before for my broken arm, I knew the care would be good. It’s an old hospital with its services seriously downgraded, but it’s still a good place in times of need. My sister was born there many years ago, and I remember my mother having nothing but praise for those who worked in the elegant red brick building adorned with Queenslander verandas.

maryborough hospital

However it was decided by the doctors there that my Heffalump was too big to handle for them and I was sent on to the Hervey Bay Hospital. Wow! New and shiny with every gadget you could imagine. The staff from the orderlies to the doctors are so friendly and helpful….and caring. I keep saying caring because I have seen so many nurses (especially) in recent years who don’t give a fig about how the patient is feeling or is going through.

There, Tim and I met the handsome Gareth. When I was nursing many moons ago, most of the doctors were old, and far from good looking, but these days each one I’ve met so far has been an absolute dish to look at, and so nice with it. After more scans and blood tests and many phone calls to specialists in Brisbane General Hospital, Gareth was hoping it may be just an infection that could be wiped out in time. Having said that though, it was decided I would be flown to the big smoke for further investigation, compliments of the RFDS.

If I ever have a spare million, I will donate a new jet to the Royal Flying Doctors’ Service…their jets need updating for the fantastic job they do for all Aussies who have a distance to travel for health care.


The combined effort of the RFDS and the Paramedics of Qld, got me safely to the Brisbane Women’s Hospital, which turns out to be for both males and females. A sign of the times I guess of lack of beds.

My ENT Specialist, Daniel, didn’t mince words at all and painted a grim picture for me. A biopsy was arranged for the Monday, so the waiting game began.

When the procedures are explained before the actual event, it is much easier to cope with and handle. The saying ‘Put on your big girl panties and deal with it’ doesn’t really cut it though, but it does make one smile.

The Radiologist, Fallon, took some fantastic samples for testing yesterday, and with her comprehensive description and explanation along the way, it wasn’t as scary as I had first thought it would be. Of course my BP went soaring to the roof as you would expect, and they had to give me a pill to get it back to as near as normal as possible.

So now the waiting begins again. When we know what it actually is, and where, we can start sorting out treatments that will get me back to the road of being squeaky clean again.

Till then, I’ll put those big girls’ panties on, and try to be brave.

Updates as they happen.





18 thoughts on “The Heffalump

  1. Robert Fray May 17, 2016 at 7:09 am Reply

    Those Big Girl’s Panties, you mention… the ones with the daisies that need watering on them, or the ones with the picture of Niagara Falls emblazoned proudly????

  2. joskehan May 17, 2016 at 7:28 am Reply

    hahahaha that would be telling, but any fancy ones I can find right now will do the trick. xxx

  3. caro lwarham May 17, 2016 at 7:52 am Reply

    Just came through from facebook. We have a mutual friend. A wonderfully written blog. Sending you all good wishes and lots of hugs. If I ever need big girl’s panties I’ll know whose to borrow! 🙂

    • joskehan May 18, 2016 at 1:47 am Reply

      I hope you never need to borrow those atrocious looking knickers Caro, but I will be only too happy to lend a hand. This will be interesting, although harrowing no doubt at times, but we are all here to learn as we go. This is my second fight with cancer, the last being in the 80s, so if I could beat it back then, I can beat it now! Your messages and support are much appreciated. xx

  4. Jane Risdon May 17, 2016 at 9:03 am Reply

    Feel better soon, sending positive vibes. xx

  5. Jan Brigden May 17, 2016 at 9:51 am Reply

    Jo, I’m sending you lots of love and a massive hug. Your post made me smile as its written with your usual wit and warmth. Keeping everything crossed for positive news 🙂 Xx

    • joskehan May 18, 2016 at 1:45 am Reply

      Thanks Jan. I’m glad you could see I am trying to keep my funny bone in action! I can’t say I’m not scared shitless but I will get there especially with the cheerful messages and support from my friends like yourself. Hugs. xxx

  6. Angela O'Callaghan May 17, 2016 at 10:59 am Reply

    thinking of you love from me and Keina xxxx

    • joskehan May 18, 2016 at 1:44 am Reply

      Thank you so much Ang. I hope I don’t bore you with my blogs, but I find it’s the best way of coping right now. Hugs. xxx

  7. Niamh Keany Pattison May 17, 2016 at 2:31 pm Reply

    crossing fingers and toes for a good result for you, in the meantime don’t waste one more minute and start chatting up all those good looking doctors…flirt flirt flirt….xxxx

    • joskehan May 18, 2016 at 1:43 am Reply

      Thanks Niamh….I told a male nurse today my face isn’t usually this puffy and I don’t have a toad’s neck usually either, and he laughed and said he could see I was a good lookin chick…..I think he was being kind, lol.

  8. Deborah Rickard Deborah Rickard May 17, 2016 at 5:04 pm Reply

    Sending good thoughts and positive vibes. Great blog! X

    • joskehan May 18, 2016 at 1:42 am Reply

      Thank you Deborah….all the good vibes are very welcome!! xx

  9. Gerri Bowen May 17, 2016 at 7:12 pm Reply

    Positive thoughts coming your way, Jo. 😀 Please keep us updated.

  10. joskehan May 18, 2016 at 1:40 am Reply

    Thank you Gerri. Writing my blog every other day about this new journey in my life, will keep me on an even keel I think. No doubt some will be bored with the blog, but too bad, lol. Thanks for your good wishes and support. xx

  11. Pauline Head May 18, 2016 at 3:47 am Reply

    Hi Jo we have a mutual friend in Suzie Tullett loved your blog, I have got my fingers crossed for you and wish you all the best. Keep us in touch love and hugs from Brittany in France

    • joskehan May 18, 2016 at 6:26 am Reply

      Thank you so much Pauline. I hope I don’t bore you rigid with forthcoming blogs. Your support and positive vibes are most welcome. xx

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