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Hello Caregivers

depressed63's picture
Posts: 39
Joined: May 2011


I'm new to the site. My husband has stage 4a tonsil cancer. I think that's what it's called. He has a tumor on the left side of his neck. We found out about all of this a couple of weeks ago. It started as a lump in his throat. The family doctor gave him shot of antibiotics and a prescription but it didn't help. That was 6 weeks ago.

Some of the post here are heartbreaking. Your knowledge and faith is what is keeping me going. I'm praying for all of you and hopes that everyone beats this.

Donna in Ohio

DrMary's picture
Posts: 522
Joined: Nov 2010

I'm hoping you are also reading the Head and Neck cancer board - it's full of information specific to your husband's condition.

I don't know if your doctor has told you this, but tonsil cancer, even when it has spread, is one of the most curable ones. It is also a very rough treatment, because they really blast that area with radiation (which is why it is so curable - they can blast and not hit anything vital).

Our chemo guy put it best: this treatment challenges essential parts of your life. You will face painful/impossible swallowing, weight loss, mouth sores from hell, side effects from meds, dehydration, temporary or permanent loss of taste, saliva or even speech. Long term effects can include a dead thyroid, deafness and severe dental problems.

There - that's the really bad part. The good part is that you'll have help from experienced people throughout, and you will likely be posting here and on the H&N board in 8 months as an "expert" and giving folks great news about your husband.

About your "name" - you will likely find yourself clinically depressed at one point or another. Be ready for it and deal with it - you are critical to your husband's survival and you need to take care of yourself. This board is a great place to get help - if you read some of my old posts, for example, you'll see I had some dark days that these folks got me through. My husband always says he owes his life to me - I owe at least that plus my sanity to folks on the Caregivers board.

Last bit of advice - take one day at a time. It sounds so simple, but we all plan and try to control our futures and that will make you crazy right now. Get through today, kiss your husband (even when he gets to that cranky stage in treatment), thank your stars (or whomever you thank) that you still have him and then go to bed. Repeat tomorrow.

mswijiknyc's picture
Posts: 421
Joined: Oct 2010

Head and Neck is VERY TREATABLE. That said, it's also one of the hardest treatments to go through. But short term pain for long term gain is very worth it. And that includes you too - everything he goes through you will too.

Taking time for yourself is imperative. As primary caregiver, if you break down everything goes to he!!. Get that pedicure, massage, nightly glass of adult beverage, girl's night out, whatever works to relieve some of that stress.

Be good and hang in there. You now have A LOT of people pulling for you!

Loves and Hugs,

jim and i's picture
jim and i
Posts: 1788
Joined: May 2011

My husband recently diagnosed too and have found a lot of help reading old post as well as new. The head and neck board is really helpful because a lot of survivors write on it and support caregivers as well. That board helped me to prepare and me to prepare my husband for what to expect with the feeding tube and treatment which begins on Monday.

I already suffer from clinical depression and take meds for it daily. Let me suggest that if you feel depressed don't suffer, it is a horrible feeling and the meds make a difference. My biggest worry is that I will not be able to be the support for my husband that he has always been to me when I have face my medical and depression crisis. Keep up your spirits. I am praying for you and your husband.


mr steve
Posts: 286
Joined: Sep 2009


I've been a care giver for over 3 years now thru both good and bad times. When Jim needs help you will step up to the plate, and do what is needed. At times you will feel like running away but you won't. You'll get someone to help while you step out for a while, and come back stronger than ever. We are all praying for both you and Jim. Be a tuff cupcake.


Posts: 10
Joined: Aug 2011

My husband was also recently diagnosed with Stage 4a Tonsil cancer. I am on pins and needles between every doctor appointment and cannot wait until he can start his radiation. I too am gathering as much information as I can and reading all of the posts.

God Bless and Prayers to all.

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