bcoll's Journey:

Patient: Head & Neck/Throat Cancer > Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Cancer > Squamous Cell Carcinoma > Invasive

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: almost 8 years ago, Male, Age: 64, Stage IV

  1. 1
    • bcoll
    • Experience with Invasive, Squamous Cell ...
    almost 6 years ago
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    Misdiagnosed

    Oh No

    Two weeks of increasing sore throat on left rear of tongue/throat. Family practitioner unable to diagnose sore-throat symptoms as anything other than cold/flu. Throat culture negative.

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  2. 2
    • bcoll
    • Experience with Invasive, Squamous Cell ...
    almost 6 years ago
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    Problem with doctor

    Oh No

    Doctor could not see or understand source and degree of pain. Felt I was over-reacting a bit. Suggested I gargle with salt water. He did not recommend specialist.

    0 Comments
  3. 3
    • bcoll
    • Experience with Invasive, Squamous Cell ...
    almost 6 years ago
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    Decision Point

    Took it upon myself to seek ENT (ear, nose & throat) specialist.

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  4. 4
    • bcoll
    • Experience with Invasive, Squamous Cell ...
    almost 6 years ago
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    Misdiagnosed

    Oh No

    Amazingly, after scope and other non-evasive exams, nothing was seen (found). Due to my on-going complaints of pain ENT decides to get second opinion from peer at hospital give - University of Penn.

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  5. 5
    • bcoll
    • Experience with Invasive, Squamous Cell ...
    almost 6 years ago
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    Breakthrough

    Celebration

    Dr. Kelly Malloy at the University of Penn diagnosed symtoms right away after a few questions, touches, and viewing with scope.

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  6. 6
    • bcoll
    • Experience with Invasive, Squamous Cell ...
    almost 6 years ago
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    Biopsy

    Procedure or Surgery

    Tests were scheduled at the hospital same day and following day. Third day biopsy was performed.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  7. 7
    • bcoll
    • Experience with Invasive, Squamous Cell ...
    almost 6 years ago
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    Decision Point

    Biopsy and other tests revealed squamous cell carcinoma at base of tongue, cancer stage 4. Tumor considered too large for immediate surgery, therefore radiation and chemo were considered to shrink tumor.

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  8. 8
    • bcoll
    • Experience with Invasive, Squamous Cell ...
    almost 6 years ago
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    External radiation

    Radiation

    Initially, the radiation was painless and appeared harmless. Soon, the five day a week radiation contact for several weeks started to take its toll. Tearing, scaring, and burning of mouth tissue. Hair-loss and severe sunburn-like symtoms on face and neck. Blistering, sores and open wounds throughout oral cavity.

    Painless Experience: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  9. 9
    • bcoll
    • Experience with Invasive, Squamous Cell ...
    almost 6 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    The chemo injection seemed harmless but after a few hours the effects of this medicine started to release its poisonous effects. It is literally a poison, and a strong one at that. It is difficult to describe - horrible!

    Easy to Do: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  10. 10
    • bcoll
    • Experience with Invasive, Squamous Cell ...
    almost 6 years ago
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    All

    Side Effects

    Diarrhea, nausea, delirium, memory loss, dizziness, loss of appetite

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  11. 11
    • bcoll
    • Experience with Invasive, Squamous Cell ...
    almost 6 years ago
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    Surgery

    Procedure or Surgery

    After completing weeks of radiation and chemo a PET scan was performed. It revealed that the tumor was approx. 35% smaller. It was then that surgery was recommended and performed. It required removing lymph nodes and part of tongue using forearm and thigh as replacements. Twelve-hour surgery with 10-days in ICU.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  12. 12
    • bcoll
    • Experience with Invasive, Squamous Cell ...
    almost 6 years ago
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    Job

    Loss

    40-years as a self-employed performing singer, songwriter, author, and voice-over artist - now jobless and careerless. Quality of life struggle... career path ends at a steep and sudden cliff. Speech seriously affected by surgery of tongue and jaw.

    3 Comments