jem8583's Journey with Head & Neck/Throat Cancer

Spouse/Partner: Head & Neck/Throat Cancer

Patient Info: Currently in active treatment (initial surgery, receiving chemo rounds/radiation), Diagnosed: about 7 years ago, Male, Age: 32, Stage III

  1. 1
    • jem8583
    • Experience with Head & Neck/Throat Cancer
    almost 5 years ago
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    Wide Excision of the Chin

    Procedure or Surgery

    01/2010 Wide excision of the chin confirmed Colin's diagnosis of Stage III Merkel Cell Carcinoma, which originated in the chin, spread throughout the deep tissue and muscle of his face and neck, and spread to the surrounding lymph nodes. No evidence disease has spread to other parts of the body.

    Went as Expected: Not Specified
    Minimal Recovery: Not Specified
    Minimal Side Effects: Not Specified
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Not Specified
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  2. 2
    • jem8583
    • Experience with Head & Neck/Throat Cancer
    almost 5 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Four rounds of chemo (carboplatin and etoposide) concurrent with 30 radiation treatments of the head and neck. The chemo caused nausea and loss of hair, but it was the radiation that was hard to deal with.

    Easy to Do: Not Specified
    Minimal Side Effects: Not Specified
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Not Specified
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  3. 3
    • jem8583
    • Experience with Head & Neck/Throat Cancer
    almost 5 years ago
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    External radiation

    Radiation

    Colin underwent chemo and radiation at the same time. Before knowing anything about cancer we thought for sure chemo would be the challenge. WRONG! The esophagus is extremely sensitive to radiation. He was unable to eat, drink, or breath without being in excruciating pain. After the 10th radiation session he could no longer eat. A feeding tub was inserted so he wouldn't become malnourished. It looked like someone held a torch to the back of his neck.

    Painless Experience: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  4. 4
    • jem8583
    • Experience with Head & Neck/Throat Cancer
    almost 5 years ago
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    Many

    Side Effects

    Colin experienced weight loss (60 pounds), terrible constipation, fatigue, neutropenic fever, hair loss, staff infection (from the port), mouth sores, trismus, muscle spasms of the jaw, nausea/vomiting, taste change/loss, swallowing problems, skin changes, saliva changes, pain, mouth dryness, and of course mood changes.

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  5. 5
    • jem8583
    • Experience with Head & Neck/Throat Cancer
    almost 5 years ago
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    Remission

    Celebration

    07/2010 PET and CAT showed NED. Remission began but healing was a continuous battle. The family could not be more excited. Colin on the other hand, could not enjoy the news like the rest of us. Even though the cancer was "gone" he was still going through the effects.

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  6. 6
    • jem8583
    • Experience with Head & Neck/Throat Cancer
    almost 5 years ago
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    Cancer is back/Recurred

    Oh No

    03/30/2012 The PET came back with abnormal results in the lung. We were preparing for the worst (possibly lung cancer). However, the biopsy came back showing it was the Merkel Cell again. It did spread from his face and has been hiding in his lungs for years (even through the initial treatment). It was microscopic and undetectable until this point.

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  7. 7
    • jem8583
    • Experience with Head & Neck/Throat Cancer
    almost 5 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    04/2012 The doctors decided they did not want to bombard Colin with chemo and radiation at the same time again. It really wiped him out the first time. They decided to do another four rounds of chemo and we will reassess if radiation and/or surgery is needed after chemo.

    Easy to Do: Not Specified
    Minimal Side Effects: Not Specified
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Not Specified
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