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    Celebration (Finished treatment): So, here I am, 6 years cancer free. I remember to take the time to smile when I awake, to spend my time doing what I want to do, loving life differently. I remain fearfull of cancer returning but realize that it is beyond my control. I now "let the fear go". I have had medical changes and some remain the same as I still have: dry throat, saliva changes, poor sleep patterns due to a couple of things including dry throat and saliva, depression remains a controlled issue, but my life continues. I look forward to living!

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    Side Effects (Depression/Anxiety): Side effects: depression, anxiety, exhaustion, fatigue,
    mouth constantly dry, lining of my throat gone, some hair loss/thinning, saliva
    changes

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    Radiation (External radiation ): The Decision: 7 weeks of radiation. Now we were in early April, radiation ended May 20, 2006. Before radiation began, I had to have a MASK created so radiation could be directed to a specific area marked on the mask. I had not been told about the mask, it was a horrid traumatic experience for me. I was nerve wracked when the mask was attached to the table so I would be unable to move. The first couple of weeks of radiation were tolerable, as the radiation continued it was not tolerable. Radiation to the throat area left me with an inability to eat without ingestion medication prior to eating, then my window to eat was about 10 minutes. My throat burned constantly and I was exhausted after treatment for a couple of months.

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    Procedure or Surgery (Surgery): First surgery removed the angry polyp from my vocal cord and off it went to the lab. Home I went, voiceless, told not to speak for two weeks. Off the cancerous polyp went to the lab. Two clinicians could not concur if it was or was not cancer. So off went the polyp to be checked at Standford Medical, they declared it was cancer and was invasive. Suggested laser surgery to be certain the cancer had not dropped cells elsewhere. Same procedure after surgery, home with no speaking. So exhausted, so unable to properly eat or drink, throat on fire some of the time.

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    Oh No (Diagnosed): My family history includes many members who had died from various cancers. 3 out of 4 grand parents, both my mom and dad, my younger brother, my aunt, and a couple of other relatives. I was petrified of cancer and knew I was destined to have cancer. Here I sat in my physician's office facing the biggest physical and mental concern I ever considered. I did not give up, did not shed a tear, instead after the fearfull words settled over and in me, I simply sad: what is next? What steps do I take and so my journey began.

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    User: GregP_WN