Caitlin's family visited the Cotswolds in September 2023.
At the beginning of 2023, my daughter aged 13yrs was back and fourth to our local GP with lumps in her throat that they assumed were swollen throat glands.
The GPs told her it was tonsillitis and to go back after 2 weeks if no improvement. We took her back again and then they diagnosed her with mumps and again said to go back if no improvement. Eventually after many visits she was sent for an ultrasound scan on her neck which showed tumours.
A biopsy at the start of April was the first step in what has been a very long journey so far and at the end of April this year her world was turned upside down when she was given the diagnosis of stage 4 Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma cancer.
We can't describe how we felt at this time. Hearing the word 'cancer' for the first time is something we will never forget. Especially as we heard it over the phone not even hearing it face to face.
Caitlins 1st operation was in June at QMC Nottingham. We were told that this would remove all of her tumours, lymph nodes and thyroid but it was stopped half way through after 5hrs due to complications.
The surgeon said her thyroid was 'as hard as wood'. The tumours had attached to her vocal chords. The surgeon explained that if he were to carry on then a permanent tracheostomy would be fitted. He wanted to explore other options.
Caitlin was then referred to UCLH in London and a second procedure was carried out there on 5th September. Again the surgery was stopped, this time after 10hrs. The surgeons said that hers was the most extensive he had ever seen.
They have managed to only just save the right vocal nerve but now they need Caitlin to rest before performing surgery on the left side of her throat.
Caitlin is due back down in London again for her 3rd (and hopefully) her final surgery to remove the cancer in October.
She will then have to have several rounds of radio iodine treatment.
Throughout all of this Caitlin has remained positive and strong 💪 and at times has tried to comfort me by saying 'mummy it's OK, I'll be fine'.
She is an absolute inspiration, her determination is outstanding.
This wonderful charity and this holiday will give her some much needed time together with her little sister and us as a family. She can rest with a change of scenery before her next battle starts again.
I can't thank you enough for this gift you have given us, it means that absolute world to us and we are truly grateful.
Thank you xxx
The Fagan family