Total Pageviews

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Big C

Today I had a CAT scan and a PET scan. I drank barium and had iodine put into my veins. This is to see how far the cancer that has sprung up on my tongue has spread.

It started the middle of November with a raw spot on my tongue. As I was under considerable stress at the time, and have had raw spots before when stressed out, I didn't think anything of it until it not only lasted a week but got bigger. Then I thought, well, I've had warts on my tongue before (twice. I know that's gross) I figured it was going to happen again. Instead, I got what at first looked like a canker sore on my tongue. That didn't go away either. One day I looked closely at it in my magnifying mirror and saw it was a deep hole. So I went to urgent care, and they gave me antibiotics.

Didn't help. I figured I needed an oral specialist, so first I had to make an appointment with a dentist to get a referral. So wait 2 weeks for the dentist appointment, then get the referral and wait another 2 weeks for the oral surgeon. Meantime this thing on my tongue is getting bigger and terribly sore. It hurts to talk and hurts to eat, and I'm losing weight and feeling like I'm starving to death. I'm shaky.

Well, I have no risk factors for oral cancer, so the oral surgeon gives me different antibiotics and sends me home, to come back in a week. When I go back, it's no better, so he does the biopsy.

It's cancer.

I have never smoked, never chewed (gag) and have always been a social drinker. The biopsy oddly showed no trace of human papillomavirus, so it's not even related to the warts as I would have thought likely.

Now I face surgery, reconstruction, speech therapy, radiation, and maybe losing some teeth. As the hospital I'm using is a teaching and research hospital, I've agreed to let them have the tumor for medical research. Since due to the complete lack of risk factors I shouldn't have cancer at all, my cells could help them figure out why people get cancer. I'm glad to do it. It's not like I'm going to keep them! They'll be removed while I'm under anesthetic so I'll never notice.

I'll take any chance of something positive coming out of this.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Life can turn on a dime

People think they understand how fragile life is, but I don't think they really get it until it's pushed into their face. I sure didn't.

My husband just went to having a pain in his shoulder that we both assumed was a pulled muscle (had that before) to fighting for his life because the abscess that was causing the pain had sent bacteria and toxins throughout his entire body. He was in ICU for a week, and will probably be in a regular room for at least another one.

I went from having a raw patch on my tongue that I assumed was from stress (had that before)to a diagnosis of oral cancer. As it's related to human papilloma virus and not tobacco, I've got a pretty good prognosis. I'll know more when I see the oncologist next week.

When my father died, it was a long, drawn-out process. But I have a friend who was sitting in the living room talking to her mom, who suddenly put her hand over her heart, said "Oh, my," and was gone.

It's impossible to seriously live each moment as if it were your last. We have jobs to go to, bills to pay, and every couple and family has disagreements. I'd rather be lying on a beach drinking Pacifico with lime than going to work most days. Even though I nearly lost my husband, he still has habits that grate on my nerves. Some people have a brush with death and are completely different people, others of us just carry on in the same old way.

But maybe just a bit more aware that our lives are like soap bubbles.