On March 25, 2010, my life changed. The lymph nodes in my neck were swollen due to squamous cell carcinoma.
On that day, the otolaryngologist (head and neck surgeon) used an endoscope to view my nasal passages, mouth, tongue, and throat areas. The doctor discovered a tumor at the very base of my tongue. You could not see the tumor by looking through my open mouth. I could not feel it and it was not causing any problems with my swallowing, eating, or drinking. But the tumor was there. The doctor ordered a needle biopsy of the lymph nodes and the test results were back within 45 minutes – squamous cell carcinoma.
As the initial shock was sinking in, our first question was, “Is this curable?”
Well, first more tests were required to confirm what was going on with my tongue. Also, since there were cancer cells in the lymph node, tests were ordered to check the rest of my body to see if cancer was lurking elsewhere. The following week I had a CT scan, PET scan, and surgery to biopsy the tongue tumor.
The good news is that the tests did not find cancer anywhere except in the tongue and neck lymph nodes. Also good news, the prognosis is very good especially considering that I’m a life-long non-smoker and in generally good health.
On April 5, we met my oncologist to discuss the situation and the recommended treatment regimen. First, Dr. Barbara, my oncologist, recommended that an IV port be surgically implanted in my chest to make treatment easier. That surgery was scheduled for 4 days later, and chemotherapy was scheduled to start on April 12, 2010.
Even though the CT scan did not find cancer elsewhere in my body, it may be there since it had spread to my lymph system. Dr. Barbara explained that they have a very high success rate of eliminating this kind of cancer, especially with an aggressive treatment regimen. I will be receiving chemotherapy over 9 weeks with treatment on weeks 1, 4, and 7. That allows two weeks to recover between chemotherapy treatments. Then I will receive 35 radiation treatments on my head and neck over a 7 week period.
Following all that treatment, I expect to be cancer-free.
“The secret of life is not what happens to you, but what you do with what happens to you.”
Norman Vincent Peale
I am committed to being cured and I’d like to share my journey with you and others via this website. I will update the blog regularly and add other information along the way. My wife Mary will also be contributing to the site. Click on the various links in the two ribbons at the top of the page to explore other areas of the site.
Yes, my life has changed. I expect that getting through this challenge will result in a positive change in my life – physically, mentally, and spiritually.
We welcome your support, thoughts, and prayers as I achieve my goal of curing the cancer in my body. Feel free to reply to any of my blogs also.