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Throat Cancer Victory - Round One

Army_Guy's picture
Army_Guy
Posts: 53
Joined: Oct 2010

On April 30, 2010 I was diagnosed with a stage 3, non-metastasizing tumor (about 4cm) at the base of my tongue. A PET scan revealed the rest of my body to be cancer-free and no lymph nodes were affected. In May I underwent surgery for relocation of my opposite-side salivary gland (to under my chin), insertion of a PEG and the dreaded biopsy. It turns out that it was an HPV-based tumor as opposed to alcohol or tobacco induced (I smoked for more than 40 years and quit in 2004). On June 28th I began a treatment protocol of twice daily radiation therapy and weekly chemotherapy. This went on until August 12th (with a one week break in July). After roughly 9 treatment days my radiation oncologist told me the tumor was gone! Of course I completed all of the 28 days of radiation therapy and six chemo treatments, but this early victory kept me going.

I feel blessed because I'm no kid; I am 65 years old and I tolerated this treatment pretty well. After the first 2 grueling weeks of recovery, my side effects began turning around fairly quickly. By September 10th I was eating solid food regularly and quit using my PEG; on September 28th the PEG was removed. By mid-September I was able to begin working again (self employed consultant and realtor).

I am posting this NOT to brag but to let people know that I believe there are two very important factors that can contribute to the success of your treatment: A POSITIVE ATTITUDE and PRAYER (I never prayed before). I feel very lucky and very blessed. Recent follow ups with my surgeon, radiation oncologist, and medical oncologist have confirmed that the tumor is still gone. I am keeping my fingers crossed until my follow-up PET scan on November 1st. Wish I had found this discussion board while I was going through treatment as I am sure the additional support would have been very uplifting. I know that this "victory" doesn't yet put me completely out of the woods, but it is a great feeling anyway. Whatever time this bought me I am grateful. After 25 years in the Army, 3 combat tours in Vietnam, being twice wounded and successfully completing 214 parachute jumps (not to mention born and raised in Brooklyn, NY)I was pretty sure nothing scared me. The cancer diagnosis changed that and took me down about 100 points on the "cocky" scale.

I am here for anyone who wants to chat. No matter what point we are in during our cancer journey we have to support each other.

Kimba1505's picture
Kimba1505
Posts: 557
Joined: Apr 2010

We've got some other military folks here. :) I am the caretaker and partner of 6 years to the guy in the photo at the left (Mark). He was diagnosed SCC left tonsil Stage IV HPV+ on April 13th. Extensive surgeries in May, followed by radiation and chemo...last treatment day July 20th. PEG removed August 19th. Eats everything he wants today, does not have a taste for sweets and alcohol burns. Heading to a sushi buffet for dinner tonight. I think he faired pretty well through treatment...but that is not to say it was not hell for him.
First PET in November, we have been living life every day...but for me that worry still creeps around in my brain.
This sight has been amazing, and I jumped on as soon as Mark was diagnosed. It kept my head above water so I could hold him up when he needed it.
Happy to hear you are getting good news about your tumor being non-existent. We take all the good news and good energy we can get.
Again, welcome.
Kim

Fire34
Posts: 351
Joined: Feb 2010

You arent kidding about the positive atitude and prayer. But in my case and Marks's above I would not have made it without my wife. During my third week of concurrent chemo/rads when I couldn't talk and missed my family it was her that made me continue and finish treatment and cant figure out how to repay her for all that support.
I had stageIVa of right lymp nodes also HPV+, I am 10 months post with last scan NED. I am another that wishes I had found this site before and while going thru treatment.
Again some wishes & prayers on your recovery
Dave

Army_Guy's picture
Army_Guy
Posts: 53
Joined: Oct 2010

I should have mentioned this from the start but I too would not have made it through treatment or recovery without the loving, caring support of my wife. For the very first time that I can remember I wasn't the "Alpha Dog", but she really took charge and held it together for us. It is a 2nd marriage for both of us and coincidentally on the day I joined this site we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. And I ate a first steak that evening for the first time in 6 months! A little "something" missing but it tasted pretty darned good. Slowly getting my taste back: many things taste as I remember, some do not, but nothing tastes awful anymore. Besides, any food beats having a PEG.

Thanks to everyone on this site for their kind words of welcome! I hope EVERYONE beats their cancer.

Dave

Noellesmom
Posts: 1278
Joined: Aug 2010

I appreciate you sharing your success story, Army_Guy. That is just terrific!

Can't wait to share the news with my husband, who has completed his treatment for hypopharyngeal and base of tongue cancer and had one good PET scan. Looking forward to many more!

hawk711's picture
hawk711
Posts: 525
Joined: Jan 2010

We are all in this thing together and anyone who comes out the other end with such a good result is uplifting for us all !! We all all happy for your success. Maybe you are getting paid back for all the times you had to jump into combat.....I believe in the BIG BOOK and of someone keeping track of us....
All the best
Steve

MarineE5
Posts: 746
Joined: Dec 2005

Army,

First thing " Welcome Home " and Thank You for your Service to our Country. I did some time in RVN 68/69.

Second, glad to hear your good report and wise words. You are correct, we are here to support each other.

My Best to You and Everyone Here

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8058
Joined: Sep 2009

Welcome to the family....

Like you said, positive thinking....

Best,
John

Joel4's picture
Joel4
Posts: 209
Joined: May 2010

Welcome aboard and thanks for sharing your very encouraging story with us. I too am a big fan of both prayer and positive thinking.

Pam M's picture
Pam M
Posts: 2194
Joined: Nov 2009

Army_Guy,

Good to "meet" you. Glad to see you've got a winning attitude. Looking forward to hearing more good news from you in a couple of weeks.

Glenna M's picture
Glenna M
Posts: 1580
Joined: May 2009

Nice to meet you Army_Guy, just sorry that we have to meet because of cancer. It's encouraging to hear how well you did through treatment and recovery, it will encourage others who are just starting treatment or beginning their journey through recovery.

Stay well and stay strong,
Glenna

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5655
Joined: Apr 2009

Glad you have found our little family of CSN survivors, welcome and glad to have you here with us

Bigfuzzydoug's picture
Bigfuzzydoug
Posts: 154
Joined: Jul 2010

"Cancer free"
"Cured"
"Victory"
"All clean"

We'll take 'em all! Keep 'em coming! May we all enjoy announcing words like these one day!!!

Vivi C's picture
Vivi C
Posts: 70
Joined: Jul 2010

Great to hear your story and success and your positive attitude. Needed to hear that this morning as I am struggling with swallowing 7 weeks post rad treatment. So glad to hear that you are praying. Nothing else is as important. My faith in a faithful God that has promised to never leave us or forsake us is what kept me going during this ordeal. God bless you!

Viv

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

Just wanted to jump on the welcome wagon. :)

Glad you are doing so well.

delnative's picture
delnative
Posts: 452
Joined: Aug 2009

... though I wish you had no reason to join.
And thank you for your service to our country.

--Jim in Delaware

patricke's picture
patricke
Posts: 435
Joined: Aug 2006

Congratulations on your treatment success! Welcome to the neighborhood!

PATRICK

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