Dec 10, 2009 - 11:33 am
I was diagnosed 8 days ago, Base of Tongue cancer spread to lymph node. Cancer has not crossed the baseline, but it is big. T2-4,N2b. I am 60 years old. As a young man I was an infantryman in the 101st Airborne division facing violent death everyday. I am more afraid now than I was then, which is saying a lot.
I live outside the USA in Bangkok, Thailand. There is a GOLD Standard hospital with USA trained Thai doctors. There is one well qualified ENT Head and Neck surgeon. There are well qualified Oncologist and Radiology Departments with rooms full of current technology. When I went to the diagnosis appointment I went with my wife, and two friends, an American Psychiatrist and an American Anesthesiologist. Many questions were asked and answered. In one day I met and consulted with my Oncologist, A cancer radiation doctor, a surgical ENT and for good measure had a molar extracted. (Some have told me that this is virtually impossible in a big American hospital). I backed up all the questions and answers with hours of internet time and mind calming meditation. I am still struggling with deciding what to do, because I haven't consulted with real survivors, only references to "patients" from doctors.
Please help me. I fear the base tongue surgery that will remove half my tongue and the attendant radical neck dissection. I am good with the prescribed concurrent Radiation and Chemo (35 rad, 3 chemo) but am told that it is not a cure. If any people who had the surgery are reading this, please tell me what your experiences are/were with surgical recovery and how much the surgery has affected your speech function and swallowing. Experience with results of speech therapy would also be appreciated Also, I can't find info on the number of surgical complications and what they might be.
Finding this website was a sort of salvation for me. I read many discussions and praise the people who have taken the time to participate giving valuable time and information. I hope that during whatever time I have I can live up to your example.