South Shields nurse who lost eye battling rare facial tumour hopes for decision in new year on new life-changing operation
After years in and out of hospital herself, a nurse who battled a rare facial tumour, is hoping she can finally return to her own patients in 2020.
Janet Ullah, 59, thought she had hay fever when she went to the chemist in May 2016.
Two weeks later, she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in the sinuses and underwent life-changing surgery, during which doctors removed the left side of her face, including her left eye and jaw.
Janet, an auxiliary nurse on Ward 20 at South Tyneside District Hospital, now has a prosthetic eye, but despite initially returning to the ward, complications with her recovery mean she has been unable to work for more than eight months.
“I would love nothing more than to get it sorted,” said the mum-of-one.
“My main goal more than anything is just to go back to work, to get a bit of normality back.
“I love my job so much. The day they say I can go back to work it will be a dream come true.”
At a meeting in January consultants at the RVI in Newcastle will decide whether it is safe to operate again and remove a piece of bone to stop leaking from where the implant is in the left side of her face.
But while Janet is hopeful that this is the year she can return to the job she loves, she is still apprehensive.
“I am a bit worried in case it can’t be put right. There’s a lot of things I don’t do, such as going on holiday, things that I have always taken for granted,” she continued.
“I’m so lucky that the Ward 20 staff are fantastic, they are like my family.”
Over the last two years Janet’s colleagues, friends and family have been helping to raise £10,000 to fund life-changing equipment for the Maxillo Facial Surgery unit at the RVI.
Having raised around £7,000, she is confident 2020 will be the year they reach the target.
“On this journey I have met some of the nicest people,” she added.
“I can’t thank everybody enough, but this feels as though I’m giving a little bit back.”