I was first diagnosed with tongue cancer in September of 2015 at age 30 (squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity). It was very early stage, and so while initially I was scared to death, the totality of my treatment was about two weeks out of the office while recovering from surgery on my tongue and neck. Not a big deal. Woohoo – I was a “cancer survivor”.
In November of 2016 I was diagnosed with a recurrence of tongue cancer which will require a much more aggressive treatment plan. In January of 2017 I will have 35-40% of my tongue removed along with the soft tissue on the floor of my mouth. The excised area will be reconstructed with a “free flap” of tissue and arteries from my left arm. Following surgery I will undergo 6 weeks of radiation therapy on my mouth and throat area.
In diagnosing the recurrence of tongue cancer, my doctors did full body PET / CT scan which revealed some abnormalities in my left hip. Biopsy results showed that I also have Hodgkin’s Lymphoma of the bone. It is an entirely different cancer that is unrelated to my tongue cancer and has a different treatment protocol. After finishing the radiation on my mouth, I will undergo chemotherapy treatments to address the lymphoma. So I am getting the full service — surgery, radiation, chemotherapy. This will feel a lot more like a true “cancer survivor” experience compared to my first run in with The Monster. Maybe I can wear a LIVESTRONG bracelet now without feeling like a phony.
The purpose of this blog is two-fold: 1) to share an account of my progress through treatment with family and friends that have asked for regular updates, and 2) to hopefully have a positive impact on others that are going through similar treatments.
I can’t believe I’m going to lose my hair.