keggers' Journey with Head & Neck/Throat Cancer

Survivor: Head & Neck/Throat Cancer

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: over 5 years ago, Male, Age: 53, Stage IV

  1. 1
    • keggers
    • Experience with Head & Neck/Throat Cancer
    almost 5 years ago
    keggers' Avatar

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    Had a sore throat for about 10 days, went to ENT who gave me antibiotics. After 2 weeks no change and a lump on my neck developed. Dr ordered CT scan and he found cancer. Great ENT told me what kind of treatment was possible. Had radical tonsillectomy removing SCC That was HPV positive (a good thing).

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  2. 2
    • keggers
    • Experience with Head & Neck/Throat Cancer
    almost 5 years ago
    keggers' Avatar

    Surgery

    Procedure or Surgery

    So surgery went well but I had a rough time recovering. About 3 days after radical tonsillectomy, scabs came off surgery site and I began to bleed. I lost a lot of blood. Went to ER was readmitted to hospital. Stayed a couple days and went home. 2 days later repeated problem. Was readmitted to Hospital, then next day had site cartorized to stop bleeding. Rough start on beating cancer!

    Went as Expected: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  3. 3
    • keggers
    • Experience with Head & Neck/Throat Cancer
    almost 5 years ago
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    Where to get treatment

    Decision Point

    Decided I would seek treatment from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at Bethesda, MD. They are military's medical center and have the best care in the world. I saw the Dept Head of ENT. He offered a treatment plan and suggested I go get second, third opinions. I went to oncology and surgical radiology, all three provided same treatment plan. This was to be a coordinated care plan with three disceplines working together as a care team. It was awesome to see how well they comminicated my treatment plan. I had all the confidence I would be getting the best care available. They explained everything. I read a lot and prepared for the journey. My surgical radiologist told me he would cure me of cancer! I would begin treatment for Stage 4 Squamouis Cell Carcinoma of the Tonsil. Treatment would be radiation and chemotherapy for 7 weeks. Treatment would begin after I had a number of testsn had four teeth removed and fully recovered from tooth removal. Started about 20 May 2012.

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  4. 4
    • keggers
    • Experience with Head & Neck/Throat Cancer
    almost 5 years ago
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    Internal radiation

    Radiation

    had a mask created to hold me in place on the table while they beemed radiation at me. First 2 weeks were a walk in the park. After week 2 it goes down-hill. Throat hurts from both radiation and surgery. Swallowing is very difficult. I was able to drinlk lots of water, a good thing. It was hard to eat. After 2nd round of chemo foof tasted like cardboard and I lost my desire to eat. I did learn to like Ensure or Boost and drank 2-3 per day (only half of what I was supposed to drink). I completed 35 treatments. Radiation is the gift that keeps on giving even after your finish treatment. For about 45 day following last treatment had terrible time. Lost 50 poinds even though I had a PEG (stomach tube for feeding). Had a lot of pain in the throat. My docs gave me hoigh dose of narcotics which took care of pain. Drugs had their own side-effects such as appetite suppression. In Oct 2012 after a PET scan with no cancer my surgical radiologist cure me of cancer just like he said he would!!

    Painless Experience: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  5. 5
    • keggers
    • Experience with Head & Neck/Throat Cancer
    almost 5 years ago
    keggers' Avatar

    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Had three rounds of cisplatin. I experienced most of the side effects. Hearing loss, numb extremities have continued. Anti-nausa medicine worked very well. I went to treament room twice a week during radiation and between rounds for fluids to keep me hydrated. I had a port installed in my chest for all procedures. Works very well. Strongly recommend to save your veins. Oncologist team was awesome!

    Easy to Do: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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