It has been 10 years since I totally finished treatment for oral, head & neck cancer. I am thankful it is gone!
This is the last time I'm going to mention it (at least not for another 10 years!) because frankly, I don't think about it often, and I don't want to think about it again...but I think it's noteworthy that 10 years have gone by since those scary, uncertain, painful times.
My son was just starting 1st grade and my daughter just beginning high school when it was diagnosed. I feel so fortunate to have had these past 10 years to watch them grow into the young adults that they are now.
The type of cancer was salivary gland cancer of the hard/soft palate...on the roof of my mouth. I was not prepared for the extent of surgeries and treatment but I had a lot of support as well as skilled surgeons. I think I became stronger in many ways because of it.
I don't even remember the exact dates of diagnoses and surgeries, only the months. I threw out the mask that went over my face and head that they bolted down daily to direct the radiation rays into specific points. I threw out the prosthesis I had to wear to cover the hole in order to eat, drink and talk. I threw out the calendars with dates of various procedures. I just don't want to be too connected to it. But I do want to remember, just in part, so I can always remain thankful.
*August, 2003: Diagnosis and 1st surgery to remove tumor (Partial Palatectomy).
*September, 2003: 2nd surgery to remove tumor, as margins were not clear and it had grown into my nasal passages (Partial Maxillectomy).
*October, 2003: 3rd surgery to repair large hole in palate (Forearm-Freeflap Transplant).
*November, 2003 - January, 2004: 35 Radiation sessions.
A few years ago I wrote a tiny bit more about it at this link.
I often put my foot in my mouth and say things I regret...but how many people can say they have their arm in their mouth?! Me...and I'm proud to have it :)
The only thing I regret is, after losing 35 pounds during treatment, I've gained all that back and more! But, life is good for me and I am thankful to be alive.
Words and photos ©Thanks for today.™, by Jan Huston Doble @ http://www.thanksfor2day.blogspot.com/
Not to be reproduced or re-blogged without express permission of the author.