Daughter of Les & Joan Allan and sister to Chris, Katie originated from Belfast and settled in Fradley, Staffordshire with husband, Stuart, and two children, Sam and Sophie.

Katie wrote this blog to share her story, improve awareness and spread inspiration & positivity amongst families, friends and others 'battling cancer - one day at a time'

Katie Scarbrough
04 March 1981 - 02 May 2013

What A Hectic Week!!!

Since my last blog, I have managed to pick myself up, dust myself down and gain a little bit more of a perspective and clarity on things. I think I needed to have a complete melt down to bring me out the other side. To be honest it is good to have a good cry!! But I don’t want to relive that ‘hospital room moment’ I explained in my last blog any time soon. So I am taking control!!

The week after my last blog we had hoped that I would start Cetuximab but my White Blood Cell count was too low as it hadn’t recovered from my previous Chemo two weeks prior. On the safe side, my Oncology Consultant put it off, as they didn’t want to risk me getting an infection. I was a bit annoyed as I had gone in all guns blazing and ready to start this new treatment. I knew it was for the best though, but I selfishly didn’t want to waste any more time.  It had been about 10 days since I had had the 6 litres of fluid drained from my tummy and I could already start feeling it build up again. I spoke to my CNS about it and my consultant and explained to them that I can’t take control of the Cancer inside of me but I can take control of the symptoms which come from it. As long as I can eat, breathe and not be sick then that helps towards keeping me in a more ‘normal’ state, as I didn’t want to leave it and end up the way I did before. That would then be a vicious circle downhill. So it was planned that I would come in to get a drain put in the following Monday and I would start Cetuximab plus Irinotecan on Wednesday.

The Irinotecan was a new proposal from my Consultant, after she had spoken to a colleague at Birmingham City Hospital. I  will do and try anything, so of course I wasn’t going to turn it down. The side effects of the Cetuximab can be skin rashes, itching and a feeling of swelling on the tongue. The side effects of the Irinotecan are increased sweating, stomach cramps and diarrhoea.  To see how I would tolerate the Irinotecan I would have a 50% dosage of it to begin with.

On Monday, I went into hospital to have my tummy drained and I felt positive about having it done even though I hate the local anaesthetic cause it bloody hurts!! The drain is a tube inserted using ultrasound images and I have had the same Doctor do it a few time already. The thing with the Doctor is he has never been overly enthusiastic about draining my fluid in the past as he always says its all tumour. This time was no different and I don’t know why I expected it to be. I ended up in tears as he pushed the screen and pointed out my tumour and said, ‘see its all tumour I don’t think it will get much out but its up to you’? I felt my positivity drain from me and I didn’t need to hear this and started crying. I told him that I was starting to struggle to eat again over the weekend and we can’t just do nothing. He then said, so you want me to do it and of course I said yes. I didn’t look at him through the whole thing, as the tears came down my face. When he was done I even said ‘thank you’ as that’s the type of person I am. When I came out of the room and saw Stuart I just burst into tears again and I felt so deflated. The nurses back on the ward know me and saw how upset I was and made a note on the system and it’s now been taken further. In the end I had 4 litres drained off and felt soo much better for it. It just goes to show that the doctor was wrong, and to be honest it doesn’t matter how much is taken off its all part of managing my symptoms.

Tuesday we had a break from the hospital and Wednesday it was back up at 10am for Chemo. You end up getting into a routine when you go blood tests, wait for blood tests results, MRSA swab, anti sickness an hour before and then needle in the hand.  I don’t mind needles and bloods, I think by now I could actually do it myself..lol

Whilst the chemo was dripping through my veins, I was sat with my daughters tablet on Twitter and Facebook. Can I say OMG I became a big time Social Media Junkie, I blame the chemo!! It all started with a RT (Retweet) from Dr Christian off Embarrassing Bodies and it all snowballed from there. I am completely blown away by the comments and Tweets I am receiving. It is made even more overwhelming by the fact these people don’t know me and believe me I am trying to respond to as many as possible. At one point I was struggling to keep up. Twitter is still relatively new to me. I have now brought a lot of my friends and family to what they call the ‘darkside’ (they prefer Facebook) and they have joined Twitter too. A friend of mine Tweeted Matt Lucas and he tweeted that the only person he was following this week was me @katiescarb….how cool is that!! I also noticed that Davina McCall is following me too..wowzers!!

After my Chemo on Wednesday we left the hospital at about 5.30pm, so it had been a very tiring day. On the way home I felt like I was slurring my words and found it uncomfortable to swallow. By the time we got to the house, Stuart asked me if I was ok and I shook my head, I didn’t want to speak. I went into the house and Stuart got me a drink and I tried not to freak out about it as I didn’t want to make it worse. But I felt my tongue was swollen slightly at the back f my throat. I was a tad selfish at this point, yes I should have called the hospital, but I kept thinking they may stop this drug and this drug may be the one that helps me. I kept an eye on it and luckily it went down a couple of hours later and I managed to eat some food. Next time I promise I will ring the hospital, it’s better being safe than sorry.

On Thursday, It was back to the hospital again as my 7 yr old son, Sam was having a hernia removed. He was soo brave and I am soo proud of him. It’s not a nice thing to see your child go through and even though I had only had Chemo the day before, nothing was going to stop me from being there to hold his hand and stroke his head. It was only supposed to be a day case however he was sick when we were trying to get him up and dressed, probably from the anaesthetic, he was kept in overnight. Stuart stayed with him and my Dad came and brought me home, so I could be with Sophie. Sam is fine now, at home, a little sore, which is to be expected but he is happy not to be at school for a few days and to play his Xbox.

On Friday, It was my mother in laws turn she had to go in to get her Gallbladder removed and I’m happy to say she is back home this morning a little sore but OK. Honestly, you couldn’t write a book about all this and this is real life. The Scarbroughs’ are going to have their own private wing at Burton Hospital soon!!

Using Twitter this week, has made me want to use it to my advantage to help spread the word about such a horrible disease.  I am only 31 and I have been in the situation where a Doctor takes one look at you and says, ‘You are only 31, I think its a red herring, if it’s anything else I will eat my hat’. And now look at the position I’m in. Doctors need to stop using statistics so much and realise Cancer can happen to anyone at any age. This isn’t to scare monger anyone but if you have any symptoms go to your Doctor get them checked out, it may be nothing but the earlier a potential problem is found, it can be treated.

On a top note to finish the week, Stuart and I are off to Elstree Studios tomorrow to watch Dancing On Ice the TV Show being filmed live to the nation!! How #amazeballs is that!! I am soo excited as I used to be a competitive Ice Skater quite a few years ago.  My plan is to wear a pink wig so I stand out in audience!! UPDATE it has to be a purple wig as the shop doesn’t have a nice pink one!! Lol 🙂

Thank you to everyone on here, Twitter and Facebook for all the support you are giving me, it really helps to keep me going and I will try and respond to you all as best I can. #positivity #hope #cancersucks

To my Family and Friends, who I am incredibly blessed with..I love you more than words can say and together we will fight this until the end!!




  • susan gilmour Says

    katie–yet again, you have come out smiling! I know that we have said it many times, but you are , as the Americans say-“awesome !” You are dealing with whatever is thrown at you–in one week alone you have had so much going on –I will be watching for you on TV at Dancing on Ice !! Wishing you a fabulous time!! P.S–Thanks so much for taking the time to post Happy Birthday on our Facebook for mine and David’s birthday yesterday ! Yes, we share the same birthday!! xxx

  • Natalie Says

    That’s a week you will be glad to put behind you.
    As always you are standing strong and tackling this head on. Your determination and positivity alone is enough to get you through this, it’s amazing, it doesn’t matter what gets thrown at you, you just seem to have a little wobble(who wouldn’t) dust yourself down and then get on with it.

    Twitter….what can I say. You have converted me, a little, but if anything it’s good to be there to help raise awareness with you and get as many people reading this blog and supporting you…..that’s my excuse for being on there anyway!

    Regarding your friends and family, I think it is us that are blessed to have you really, I think one way or another you have helped change us all as people and see things in different light, put things into perspective maybe. Whatever it is, it’s an honour to call you a friend.

    I hope you and Stuart have a fab time at Dancing on Ice tomorrow, and whist I don’t usually watch it, I will be this week!

    You are doing an amazing job Katie x x x

    • Natalie, As always you know what to say. You will get used to the fast and furious world of Twitter in no time. I am still learning!! Thank you for the inspirational words and making me cry ‘happy tears’. xxxx

  • Claire Armstrong Says

    Hi Katie

    I work with Chris and have been following your blog, hope you are keeping well and looking forward to Dancing on Ice, must say im well jel lol, will look out for you in the audience.
    I think you are doing such an amazing job, keep up the positivity 🙂 xxx

  • Eve Reid Says

    Katie, you are totally amazing!!! I have been emailing Kerry to see how you have been keeping.
    Sorry u had such an awful experience when getting your abdominal tap, but next time before ur chemo get some Iv drugs to prevent another reaction. They won’t stop ur treatment, just prevent another reaction.
    I’m not surprised you have a “fan” club of celebs following you, I don’t think you realise what an incredible lady you are, such an inspiration. You have incredible courage and your friends and family are very fortunate to have you in their lives. I will definitely be telling my patients about your blog!!
    Have a fantastic night at Dancing on Ice!! You will be able to have your own professional opinion!! I will watch out for the purple wig!!
    Take care,
    Eve xx

    • HI Eve, Thank you for the advice on the chemo. I have spoken to the nurses on the chemo ward and they will slow the infusion down and keep an eye on me. Hopefully that will help. I should have known better to be honest. Thank you for your kind words as they mean so much especially coming from someone who does’nt know me. Hopefully the purple wig stands out later…lol xxx

  • tim sellens Says

    Katie, I know Stuart through B&D FA and always thought he was a decent bloke, but should have known behind him was an even better woman.! You are a shining example to us all for the way in which you have such positiveness and such honesty. Keep fighting, keep being positive. You will be in our prayers.

  • Lucy Says

    I’m sort of on twitter but don’t actually look at it very often as i got a bit overwhelmed with it! Will try to more now! It’s fab that you are getting so many celebrity tweets etc. Very exciting!!

    And, like others, don’t usually watch DOI but will def be watching tomorrow and keep a close eye out for you! Hope you have such a wonderful time. I hope you aren’t sitting too near the front or you might be tempted to jump the barrier onto the ice yourself!! Ha!

    Looking forward to hearing all about it.


    • Hey Lucy, Thanks for the message on here. I can’t believe you don’t watch Dancing On Ice…lol Twitter is very fast and furious compared to facebook but I think I’m getting the hang of it. xx

  • elizabeth WARD Says

    Hi Katie your such a strong lady.will watch out for purple haired spectator as i wouldnt think many will have purple,if you keep getting all these celeb tweets,you will be more famous than scott,enjoy show and give us all a wave.take care liz.xx

  • Emma Hadley Says

    Katie you are a true inspiration – fighting all the way, holding your head high and showing the Universe how strong you are xxx lots & lots of love xxx

  • fiona Says

    Katie – what an inspiration.You’ve dealt with more in this week than many people deal with in years. Certainly puts all our little moans and niggles into perspective. Not surprised that all the celebs are following you on Twitter. I still haven’t quite worked out how it works but my eldest is niggling me to set up an account so you may well be the catalyst to get me started.Have fantastic night at DOI – we have to go through a bit of a palaver out here to get UK TV but I’ll endeavour to see if i can watch a repeat later in the week. I think about you often and send positive thoughts your way. I’d just asked Natalie yesterday how you were doing and hey presto your blog pops up a few hours later. xxx

    • Hi Fiona, Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, for me it all goes towards raising awareness of a horrible disease. The blog is the best thing I’ve done since being diagnosed as it keeps me going. It is all thanks to my brother in law :). Where do you live? Dancing on Ice was great!! I will be doing a blog about it when my head stops spinning..lol xx

  • Joanne Doherty Says

    Hi Katie, I don’t know if you’ll remember me from the skating days! Just wanted to say you are an inspiration. To be able to write so eloquently about what you are going to is amazing in itself. You are doing so much for others as well by raising awareness and showing people how to fight! I’m sure your beautiful children are a blessing to you. So impressed that you got to go to DOI because despite the fall-ins and fall-outs at that ice bowl, we were all just kids who fell in love with the ice!!
    Love to you and your family and stay strong. X

    • Hi Joanne, Like I said in my tweet thank you for taking the time to read my blog and commenting on here. All the strong and positive words are what keeps me going. I hope you are well. And of course I remember you!! I always think our skating days was like being in a little bubble. You are definitely right in saying, ‘we were all just kids who fell in love with the ice!!’ Take Care xxx

  • fiona Says

    Hi Katie,
    I’m currently living in Dubai. I knew Natalie from athletics and still stay in touch with her. I love your photo from DOI. We have to use something called a VPN out here to access UK TV. It’s fine when it works but invariably when I’m all set to watch something it buffers out. I regularly think about you and wonder how you’re all doing. Just inspired at how you deal with everything and bounce back up.xxxxx

  • Niamh Says

    Hey Katie – I think your blog is fantastic. I can’t believe what a week you have had – you certainly deserved a great night at the Dancing on Ice. I loved the purple hair.

    I was incensed by your experience with the doctor who was doing your drain. I hope you never have to have him again – but if you would like me to go into the hospital to sort him out just let me know.

    I’m thinking of you, Stuart and the kids and sending all my love

    Time to dust down my twitter account!

    Niamh x

    • Thank you Niamh, The purple wig did get a little annoying as it kept moving, but at least I stood out..lol We have taken it further with the hospital about the doctor, so that’s in hand, but thank you for the offer…lol xx

  • Cathy Harrison Says

    Hey missus woman, the entire old crew from D.I.I.B are 110% behind you and willing you on…you are an inspiration for every single one of us and I am so proud and honoured to be your friend.

    Love Ya Always

    Cathy xxx

  • Elaine Hooper Says

    Hi Katie

    You will not remember me but we did meet when you were skating.

    I read your blog with tears rolling down my cheeks but your determination and positivity are truly an inspiration

    I hope the Ice show makes raised lots of money. I will encourage everyone to donate at the Adult Champinships in Sheffield next week.

    You are really amazing and look fantastic in the purple wig


    (NISA Historian)

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