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Head / Neck Cancer Survivor asking a question for those who have been dx with brain cancer

Tim6003's picture
Posts: 1513
Joined: Nov 2011

Hello all.


I am usually a regular on the Head & Neck forum.  I was dx with base of tongue cancer October 2011, finished rads and chemo in January 2012 and I have been NED ever since. 

Almost 100% of my followup has focused on the lungs and neck area, but not the brain.  One time during a regulary CT w/ contrast follup up they caught some suspicious spots on the top of my lung, but turned out to be infection. 
So my follow up has always been on neck and chest.

However as of this past fall (I'd say around September 2013) while out hunting I noticed I was having a bit more problems with an irregular heartbeat than usual.  I am prone to PVC's (premature ventricular contractions and have been all my life).  Those PVC's usually come when they want and of course can occur with too much caffeine, lack of sleep or rest.  These PVC's were coming in an unusual manner, they were coming with exertion mostly, and quite frequently.  I've noticed my left are (I am left handed) seems shakey when I write and I have a weak feeling in my upper body (arms, neck) almost like a person has when they have low blood sugar. I'm dizzy and light headed just walking and especially when I bend and lift.  Not always bad, but certainly noticable and even more so with exertion.  I get what feels like a littel vibration in my chest at times, though it feels funny, it does not seem to relate to the PVC"s and PAC's I am having.

When I hunt I carry a 30lb pack, climb steep terrain and carry a rifle and shotgun (I live in central Idaho next to the Frank Church Wilderness area). I'm 5'11 and weigh 218lbs.  So I feel I'm healthy but certainly no athlete. 

This  past week I had a full workup on my heart.  Echocardiagram, running stress test and they actually caught quite few of those PVC's and PAC's (premature atrial contractions) on the screen, yeah!  Doc says my heart looks great!  No issues whatsoever.  He simply said something is aggravting your heart rythm so he prescribed Digoxin very low dose.  I've been laying off nearly ALL caffeine for more than 2 weeks (I don't drink coffee).

So this week I set up an appt with an Electrophysis (Cardiologist who specializes in the electrical makeup of the heart)

All that to ask...can anyone share their symptoms before they were dx with a brain tumor / cancer?

I know X-rays don't show much in this area, but I did ask for and plan on just starting off with an X-ray of the head so if there is something large / solid, it might can be spotted.

I don't want to self dx here, but I have been under a tremendous amount of stress as of late due to caring for and securing guardianship of my mother who was dx with moderate dementia, a physical move from one home to the other (and all the stresst that goes with that) as well as I have a high stress job.  Could all of this truly be stress enduced??  I' ve been in the same business for 14 years and have never had all these symptoms before.

Thank you all.



a.k.a.  Tim6003 on the CSN forum.

Posts: 1104
Joined: Jan 2011

Remember what we say.  It's not cancer until there is a biopsy to confirm.  With H & N, I have heard that it is not a matter of if but when our thyroid will go.  My last go around was 'c' invasion on nerves in my cheek and a tumor at the base of my neck.  I had headaches.  My right side of my face is pretty much numb since surgeries, so I don't know if I had pain.  I have been having some strange symptoms lately.  I looked up thyroid symptoms and I think that I am headed that way.  I know I need to have blood work done, but having a follow up MRI next week and then I will see primary about bloodwork.  You have been through more than survival, you might need to try to take time to smell the roses or listen to music.

Posts: 15
Joined: Jun 2012

Hi Tim,

Sorry to hear about your concerns. I was dx with SCC base of tongue April 2012. 35 rads and 3 days of cisplatin. Treatment ended August 2012. Pet/ct scan November 2012 showed 11mm lesion left lung lower lobe. Resulted in Left Lower Lobectomy. PET/CT scan November showed all clear!! Out to celebrate! However, January 27 2014 the wife insisted i go to see doctor beacuse she noticed a change in my behaviour and a sagging lower lip. I thought nothing of it but the doctor was concerned enough to send me to Hospital immediately for CT and MRI. I also felt a little weak on the left side of my body. Mri detected 2.5cm lesion in roght frontal lobe of brain. I was terrified!!! After 3 opinions i opted for stereotactic radio surgery via cyberknife, carried out 28 February 2014. Mri 28 March showd shrinkage to 1 cm. Next MRI scheduled for enf of May. I wake and go to sleep praying that this will go away completely and never come back!! I can understand your concerns. It seems that 30-40% of us will get mets to the brain, but you have to keep fighting.

I really dion't know if any of the above is helpful, but all I would say is that IF IN DOUBT CHECK IT OUT !!!!! And do so as soon as possible. There have been major advances in treatment over the past few years so NEVER GIVE UP.

I wish you all the best.

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