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    burtgoldin wrote on Cherokee's wall

    Hello again and thanks for writing back. I had surgery called a radical neck dissection. The doctor, who is a great guy and a terrific doctor, cut me open from behind my ear down to my collarbone and removed 29 lymph nodes that were filled with squamous cell cancer cells. The odd thing is that even though I was in surgery for over 4 hours and he did 13 separate biopsies he never found a tumor. It's called having an unknown primary and he tells me that it's a positive thing because people with an unknown primary have a higher survival rate than when tumors are found. I've had 4 PT scans in the 6 years since the treatment and they've all been clean. My own belief is that God cured me and then the doctor just needed to go in and clean things up after i was cured. There were a lot of people praying for me and I know that it worked. The bottom line is that the last time i saw the doctor who did the surgery he told me I was cured-that's the word he used- and that I had no reason to see him any longer unless something changed. The doctor said that I was a miracle and I agree. He called me a graduate. I struggle with COPD every day-I was a smoker for 35 years- and I sometimes have pain that is unbearable without strong meds. But I work a 40 hour week and make the best of what I have. As you said, adjusting to the changes is my biggest problem. I lost all my teeth because of the treatment and eating has become a real hassle. And because of where I was cut open I have a constant buzz in my left ear that I sometimes think will drive me crazy. I try to be thankful for my life and what I have, but I miss my life the way it was. I'm sorry to go on so much but it's great to make contact with others who understand what this is like. Please stay strong, think about those grandkids. I will keep you in my prayers

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    burtgoldin wrote on Cherokee's wall

    Hello- I'm writing because I am a 6 year throat cancer survivor whose had surgery, chemo and radiation, so I know how hellish what you're going through is. I'm 56 now and when I was diagnosed I was also stage 4. The doctor said my chances were 50/50 at best. Willing my self to go to radiation and chemo 5 days a week was hard but I did it because of the people in my life who love me and needed me. My daughter was 16 at the time and I'd been married over 20 years so my wife was pretty used to having me around. Try to surround yourself with positive people who love you. Find reasons to do what has to be done. My life is proof that things do get better and everything you're going through now will pass. I learned to pray in earnest when I was at my lowest and it really helped. I found comfort in prayer and hope that you can too. You'll be in my prayers tonight

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    burtgoldin posted an update

    Hello and thanks for your message. After 6 years being cancer-free my issues are more mental than physical. I still have a lot of pain and discomfort, most of which is related more to the after effects of the surgery and treatment than to the disease. And I go through severe bouts of depression because the changes in my life still seem overwhelming. I've tried several antidepressant meds but they don't help and I find myself wondering if the course of action I took was the right one. Sometimes I wish I had just had the surgery and skipped the rest because the radiation did so much damage to my body. Six years later I'm still dealing with side effects caused by radiation. I am glad to be here and looking forward to learning how others are dealing with life after cancer. I'm having a tough time

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    User: GregP_WN

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    burtgoldin shared an experience

    Celebration (Finished treatment): July 3 2006 was the last day I took chemo and radiation treatment. I celebrate it as my personal independence day. On the occasion of the first anniversary I went back and visited all the doctors and techs involved which was an overwhelming emotional experience. When I got to the nuclear oncologist's office I cried like a baby as I embraced each of the people involved in my treatment. Reflecting on the experience I realized that the reason that I cried was because i could go o the doctor's office and leave and he could no longer cause me any pain

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    burtgoldin shared an experience

    Radiation (External radiation ): Radiation is the worst kind of torture I can Imagine. I was radiated from my sinus to my collarbone 5 days a week for 6 week, a total of 29 treatments. At one point all the skin peeled off my neck in sheets and my wife had to rub silvadene cream into the wound to help the blood coagulate and so I wouldn't ooze blood everywhere I went. A mesh mask was made for me so that my head would be in the same position for each treatment. There were 4 holes for bolt saround the edge of the mask and my head was bolted to the table for each treatment. Above me there was a fluorescent light fixture with a beach scene as it's cover. After 2 weeks I asked for it to be turned off so I could have the treatment in relative darkness and the techs allowed my request. Radiation was a horrible experience. 6 years later the back of my throat is still red as a result, I've lost all but 5 of my teeth due to chronic dry mouth and I still experience pain that keeps me from eating normally. But I'm still standing