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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.

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