Jain found out she had cancer of the tongue on the same day she heard she was expecting her second child. Two years later she discovered a lump in her neck.
I found out I had cancer of the tongue in June 2000 aged 39, on the same day that I found out I was pregnant with my second child. I was working full-time as a personnel manager in a large London law firm when I started getting mouth ulcers in November 1999. One in particular would not go away and started to become very troublesome. The firm's doctor recommended mouth washes, trying to reduce stress etc. but it was still there after a couple of months and getting worse. Eventually, my dentist advised me to get it seen by a specialist as soon as possible as he didn't think it looked at all right. He referred me to an Oral surgeon who performed a biopsy under local anaesthetic. The phone call came a few days later to give me the bad news that the ulcer was in fact a cancerous tumour.
In early July a surgeon performed a partial glossectomy (removal of part of the left hand side of the tongue): the operation would be quite long and miscarriage was one of the risks involved. My partner, Tony, proposed to me just before I was taken down for the operation! I recovered well although it does take a while to regain speech and to be able to eat properly. Neither chemotherapy nor radiotherapy was considered, mainly because I was pregnant. Less than 3 months later my partner, Tony, and I were married. I gave birth to a healthy baby girl (our miracle baby!) in March 2001. Nearly 2 years to the day after having the tumour removed from my tongue I felt a lump in the left hand side of my neck. Following a biopsy which confirmed that, unfortunately, the lump was malignant a left radical neck dissection was performed. This involved the removal of most of the lymph nodes in the left side of my neck. Luckily, only one of the nodes contained a tumour. The recovery from this operation took longer and I have a scar down the centre of my neck, although it is now barely visible. It is nearly 5 years since I had the operation on my neck and I continue to be grateful for my quality of life. I have periodic scans and check-ups and I practise yoga twice a week and run to keep fit. I also take selenium which apparently helps to support the immune system. I am lucky enough to sing in a band and perform about 10 gigs a year. My daughters, now aged 6 and 9, are healthy, beautiful and an endless source of joy and I have two lovely stepchildren. Having cancer has been an experience which has been, at times, frightening and painful and I would not wish to go back or experience it again but in a strange way it has enriched my life. It is a cliché but I have learned that life is precious and that there are some marvellous people to meet and some wonderful moments to treasure along the way.