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enlightened denial

ooo's picture
ooo
Posts: 107
Joined: Mar 2012

Hello friends!

Even though I'm not reading posts daily, I think of you guys every single day, really.

After finishing treatment I fell in a beautiful oblivion. I've been following up regularly with my docs and exploring my mouth and neck once a week to make sure that everything is alright, but apart from that I'm living as if cancer never happened. And I do have that luxury, since most of the side effects from surgery and radiation are gone.

Positive messages from people who were done with treatment have always been very encouraging to me, so these are my 2 cents for the newbies.

I was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue (stage I) in February 2012, age 30. I had surgery to remove the tumor and a partial neck dissection. The pathologist found some perineural invasion and I proceeded with 5 weeks of IMRT, a 10-day break and then 5 sessions of brachytherapy. End of treatment in June 2012. At the end of brachytherapy I couldn't taste sweet for 2 or 3 weeks. Taste is now back to normal. I never lost my saliva, even though I noticed some decrease in salivation which still persists (especially when I have to talk for a long time.. sip sip). During treatment I focused on eating as much as I could and I gained 10+ lbs which I'm now slowly loosing as I'm getting more and more physically active. Speechwise I'm doing really well; people can't really tell that anything happened to my tongue, apparently I'm the only one who can hear the difference. I've been back to work full-time for almost two months now: I work in a lab doing research which might be vaguely related to cancer. Even this small connection is a source of great joy. I'll have my first scan in a couple of months and hopefully NED will befriend me.

Much love.

Dre.

Billie67's picture
Billie67
Posts: 834
Joined: Jul 2012

I love the picture Dre! When I was done with treatment I told them to burn the mask, never watned to see it again but I do love what you have done with yours, thats awesome.

Sounds like you've been thru a lot and are doing much better now. So happy for you.

I am hoping you will hear NED too on your upcoming scan results. Keep us posted.
I get my first scan in a few weeks and I'm biting my nails.

Billie

Mikemetz's picture
Mikemetz
Posts: 353
Joined: Nov 2011

You are "Living like cancer never happened." That's the best revenge against this disease!

Mike

ditto1
Posts: 634
Joined: Mar 2012

glad you are doing so well and getting on with life. Im not a newbie but I feel when someone with more time in this cancer world speaks its worth listening to. Im a little over 2 weeks out so I to am looking forward to more normal and putting this cancer father into my review mirror. So Good a Job a you.

hwt's picture
hwt
Posts: 1990
Joined: Jun 2012

thanks for sharing life after cancer :-)

tommyodavey's picture
tommyodavey
Posts: 376
Joined: Nov 2011

The day will come when I too will be able to live in denial of my previous cancer. Your attitude is so awesome dude it puts a smile on my face to read it.

Billie, my Onc techs told me not to burn my mask because the plastic is toxic so I doubt they did it. No bother, you'll never see it again. I put mine up in the garage with some sunglasses so I'll always be reminded of my second gift of life given to me.

Tom

Billie67's picture
Billie67
Posts: 834
Joined: Jul 2012

I am not quite sure what they did with the mask. The tech did say something about melting it down but I'm not sure.
Hanging it in the garage is a cool idea. My husband wanted me to keep it, so did the kids but I was this emotional, not feeling good whimp and I just didn't want any reminders of it. I do have pictures of me "modeling" it tho. Every once in a while I look at it and I am grateful to not have to wear in for 23 mins a day!
I wonder if I'll every wish I'd kept it? Oh well, whats done is done.

Billie

CivilMatt's picture
CivilMatt
Posts: 3061
Joined: May 2012

Hi Dre,

Great recovery and so fast both mentally and physically. Treatment kicked me a little harder, but things (taste & stamina) are looking up, it is just a slow road.

I think I need to move my mask out to the shop; it is sitting behind me, right where I dropped it on March 23rd. It is a conversation generator.

Keep healing and feeling better

Best,

Matt

amy_h414's picture
amy_h414
Posts: 98
Joined: May 2012

My husband did not keep his mask. I read in the paper recently about an exhibit coming to American University of art made from radiation masks. It's sponsored by a group raising money to offer financial support to H/N cancer patients. I'm pretty sure my husband would not have thought to turn his mask into a piece of art, he wanted that thing destroyed!

The mask exhibit: http://courageunmasked.org/courage-unmasked-event/

phrannie51's picture
phrannie51
Posts: 3819
Joined: Mar 2012

hearing from you again....I missed you! You sound like you're doing fantastic, already have some spit...and you can taste again...(you're so lucky :)!)...You're attitude is top notch, too....that serves you very well...Can hardly believe you've been back to work for almost two months....damn!

I also will be getting my first scan in a couple of months, so I guess we're still on the bus together, just some of us have to keep riding it everyday....still the same bus.

It was really good hearing from you....you recovery has perked me up!

p

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8100
Joined: Sep 2009

LOL, hey Dre,

I'm glad to see all is well and coming along as planned.... More than likely, most of the saliva will return.

It took nearly two years for me to completely get my taste back, and around 95% of my saliva....hopefully you'll get there as well, and sooner...

Billie

I hear ya on that damned mask...., I told them to burn it, I never wanna see that thing again.

John

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