dbaker331's Journey with Head & Neck/Throat Cancer

Survivor: Head & Neck/Throat Cancer

Patient Info: Finished active treatment more than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: almost 18 years ago, Male, Age: 50, Stage III

  1. 1
    • dbaker331
    • Experience with Head & Neck/Throat C...
    about 5 years ago
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    Surgery

    Procedure or Surgery

    Surgery and Radiation in the Head and Neck was very difficult, first was radiation for 6 weeks, whereby I was hospitalized 2.5 weeks in, due to loss of weight and nutrition. No ability to swallow without severe discomfort. Ended up on a feeding tube for 4-5 months and had to reintroduce food and liquids over time. Removed lymph nodes in right neck (neck disection). relatively uneventful, but severely limited mobility of arm/shoulder and neck movement for some time. doing this procedure at 31 years old allowed me to recover in a year and adjust to life with limited saliva glands, which limited types of food, quantity of food and need to use liquids to help promote the swallow, break down of foods.

    Went as Expected: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Recovery: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  2. 2
    • dbaker331
    • Experience with Head & Neck/Throat C...
    about 5 years ago
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    Mouth dryness

    Side Effects

    Side effects of radiation treatment over the years have gotten progressive over the last 4 years. Nerve degeneration in the neck has limited tongue movement (bi lateral paralysis of the tongue), in ability to swallow liquids without aspiration. Last year, made a life decision to put in a feeding tube , due to numerous episodes with aspiration based pneumonia for several years. This has made a HUGE difference, but lifestyle changes are lingering impacts of this (inability to eat any form or food, or drink anything, thus social aspects of meals and entertainment have changed. The paralysis in the neck has also paralyzed my vocal chord on the right side and this limits the ability to amplify, past a low voice and whisper. The lack of ability to swallow has also limited my ability to manage sinus congestion an drainage thus constant fluid on the vocal chords and in back of mouth. The paralysis of the tongue has impacted my ability to articulate words that require back of the tongue - top of the mouth sounds/words.

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  3. 3
    • dbaker331
    • Experience with Head & Neck/Throat C...
    about 5 years ago
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    Other

    Celebration

    While, I've gone through treatment, side effects, and dramatic life shifts I'm cancer Free. I lead a normal life, healthy, beautiful family, young daughters and have a thriving career in the Advertising industry. The limits of voice quality, have forced me to focus me to be a different type of leader that is NOT always out front. I listen better, watch dynamics of people and realize the simple things are important. This has had a profound impact on who I am and while it's tough - day-in and day-out, I'm happy with my life and the outcomes thus far.

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  4. 4
    • dbaker331
    • Experience with Head & Neck/Throat C...
    about 5 years ago
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    External radiation

    Radiation

    Radiation treatment was terrible.. loss of ability to swallow, loss of saliva, illness, weakness severe dehydration, forced onto feeding tube .... but it was virtually a blur....

    Painless Experience: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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