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Introducing myself

Mom of 3
Posts: 7
Joined: Feb 2014

Hello to all, 

My name is Tammy, wife to Dale. We found this site 3 1/2 years ago, the night my husband was dx'd w/head and neck cancer. You all are incredible people and we have read several times a week and received all we needed to get us through those hard times. What a wealth of information! Dale had stage 4 B.O.T (HPV-16) Squamos cell cancer with 3 nodes involved. Robotic surgery in throat and radical neck dissection on right side. Cisplatin chemo and 7 weeks of radiation followed. Completed chemo and rads exactly 3 years ago. All bloodwork, x-rays, CT scans and pet scans have been clean. He had a CT scan about a week ago and there was 1 small node under the right side of his chin that was slightly enlarged. ENT said it might even be a salivatory gland?? Dale was sick with the flu when the scan was done. Just wondering if that could influence the node and/or scan? ENT is a great doctor, he is over the top about everything. He wants Dale to get a pet scan a couple weeks down the road after a round of antibiotics. We don't know how worried to be. Have any of you had similar circumstances? It's nice to finally engage with all of you. You have saved us so many times over these hurdles. Please write back and share your opinions. 

Thanks, Tammy

Posts: 1104
Joined: Jan 2011

I couldn't resist!  3 1/2 years!  It's about time you join the group.  Welcome, even though you already know us.  Don't worry for the time being.  (I had a friend last year tell me she wasn't worried yet and she would let me know when to worry--I'm the one with cancer).  Get the PET done and if anything is found they will probably want a fine needle biopsy.  Then you will know what road you will be taking.  If it's 'c' again, I am sure that he will want to fight one more time.  There are many of us on this site that have done the dance more than once.  Stay in touch.


j4mie's picture
Posts: 218
Joined: Sep 2013

Thanks for the introduction!

I just wanted to chime in and say that as hard as it is to not worry, at this point I would do my best to try not to. A lymph node wouldn't be doing it's job if it didn't swell a bit while trying to rid the body of infection. Being that Dale was just coming out of fighting a Flu bug, I would think that is exactly why it was a little enlarged. Of course it is always good to go the safe route and go ahead with the PET so that you know for sure that it is nothing! Keep us posted.


CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 4302
Joined: May 2012


Virtual H&N member for 3 ½ years, welcome, welcome.  Or should you be welcoming me?

I would guess based on all his good scans and his having a bout of flu, that the lymph node swelling is a response to the flu.  After a round of antibiotics and another scan you should be back to 3 ½ + clean and clear.

It sure is nice to have a proactive ENT on your side, he is watching out for you.  IF it is anything serious, you can cross that bridge when you come to it.

Try not to worry.


hwt's picture
Posts: 2330
Joined: Jun 2012

My money is on the flu but always better to be safe than sorry.  Prayers for good news.


phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4672
Joined: Mar 2012

twice as long as I have!  I'm so glad you decided to join us out loud Laughing.

The node could be enlarged due to his run in with the flu....your ENT is being careful and that's what I'd want my ENT to be....it would be hard to not be a little nervous (after all, we've been bit by the bad bug once before)....but for the time being, the anti-biotics might just shrink that pesky node down to nothing.   It's way different than the first time around, when we didn't have any history of disease.....but now your ENT is in the know, and he's not taking any chances.

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

Not much that I can add than my fellow warriors haven't covered already...

Once bitten by this disease, I don't think you can ever not be a little paranoid of various aches, pains, and abnormaility, not to be confused with my abi-normal humor.

I fell that the bug definitely could influence the scan, inflamation, etc... Actually even the PET for that matter... As we all know by now, a biopsy is the only definitive way for determining cancer.

So I applaud the MD for being pro-active, though not so sure the PET will give him much more than he has already gotten from the CT. Although I presume, if it's not lit up, that would rule out high cell activity.

But with a dose of antibiotics, hopefully that will kill off anything else going on prior to additional scans.

Thoughts and Prayers....

and don't be a stranger...


debbiejeanne's picture
Posts: 3095
Joined: Jan 2010

hi tammy and welcome to the family.  so glad you decided to participate.  i don't have anything to add really just wanted to say welcome and we're glad to have you.  praying for the node to be swollen from the flu and nothing more.  please let us know when you do.  we'll be here cheering for the best outcome possible  :0)

God bless,


wmc's picture
Posts: 1792
Joined: Jan 2014

Just chimming in to say welcome and sorry you feeel you need to be here. It's better to be safe and have it checked however it sounds like a lymph gland is just doing it's job.


Oct 2013

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

Just wanted to echo my friends. It aint cancer until they say it is; it is natural to worry; better safe than sorry; most important, I pray it is caused from flu.



Mom of 3
Posts: 7
Joined: Feb 2014

Thank you everyone for the warm welcome and the comforting reply! Still waiting on a call with his date for the pet scan. He really has done AMAZING through all of this and although we've been 'quiet'. Just coming here and reading has been sooo helpful! Thanks again and promise to not be so quiet. Smile 


Posts: 1846
Joined: Aug 2010

Since salivation becomes such an issue following radiation to the head and neck, it could be the saliva itself is the issue.  Salivary glands that aren't functioning well have issues all their own completely unrelated to cancer.

Antibiotics and scan are proactive and I'm relieved to see Dale wasn't just put off with a wait and see attitude.

Anxious to hear the results but hoping a stone or localized infection (from slowed or absent saliva production) is the real source of the problem.

Prayers lifted!

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