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    On 02-17-2010 my wife Carla had a stroke prevention screening set up for her and I at her office. During the stroke prevention screening the young man conducting the test went across the right side of my neck across my thyroid. At which time he asked me if I had ever had any thyroid problems because the right side was enlarged. The young man took numerous scans of my thyroid and would have what was found analyzed by a health nurse at the stroke prevention location. After a few weeks from receiving these results and giving them to my doctor at Poplar Bluff Medical Partners I had a Ct Scan with contrast conducted on 04-07-2010 of my neck and thyroid.
    After my doctor had received my results I was sent to St Louis University Hospital. After visiting with my doctor in St Louis and numerous tests it was determined that I had a wall mass in between the party wall of my throat. This mass was located between the esophagus and trachea. Another test where a Biopsy was taken of the mass located in my throat was done by means of needle aspiration at the site. My doctor completed the needle aspiration and it was believed that there were no cancer cells present. I was then told by my doctor that the mass would have to be removed from the party wall in my throat. A surgery date was scheduled at which time I would have this mass removed. Also found during the scan was a large polup in my sinus cavity and it too would be removed during surgery.
    On the day of the surgery I arrived a 05:00am and began getting ready. I met with my doctors. I was made very comfortable while wearing a purple gown and purple socks with little white dog claws on them. At the time of my surgery I gave my wife Carla a kiss and told her it would be ok. I was then given a shot and don't remember anything until I woke up feeling groggy and Carla was standing beside me holding my hand. Something was wrong I was in another room and not the room the nurse had told me I would be in for recovery. I remember my wife Carla asking me if I was awake and could I understand her. I was still a little groggy but somewhat awake and really confused. My wife Carla began explaining to me what had taken place during my surgery. I believe Carla had began explaining everything to me and that the doctors had opened up my throat at which time they took a section of the mass to test before the complete removal of the mass. I could see it in Carla's eyes and I knew something worse had taken place. Carla told me that after removing a piece of the mass and testing it the mass in fact showed Cancer cells so it was not safe to remove. I was diagnosed with Anoid cystic Carcinoma on June 15th 2010.
    The mass was surrounding more parts of my throat than what was expected and possibly was up in my voice box. My doctors made the decision to close my incision for my safety and to get a better diagnosis of what type of cancer I had. It was determined that the type of cancer I had s called Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma a very rare type of cancer. After returning home my doctors continued to check on me periodically and a few weeks after my last surgery.
    I then went back to my doctors to figure out what the next step would be to beat this cancer. I met with my doctor at which time it was determined that I would need to have another surgery and a large portion of my throat and eshpogus would have to be removed. I was advised by my doctor that if the cancer was in my voice box it too would have to be removed. My doctor told me that he would not know the extent of the cancer and what all was involved until he would be able to conduct the surgery. My doctor told me he wanted me to have another MRI scan and several other tests done. My doctor told me that to repair my throat from the surgery a skin Graff from my right arm would be done. He then told me that the skin graph would include taking a good artery from my right arm and a large portion of the skin from my arm to fill in where my throat had been removed. He then told me that a skin graph of my leg would be done to fill in the graph where my arm had been graphed. He then told me in detail about the surgery and the different possibilities that could take place. He then told me that I would need to go have an ultrasound done of my right arm and surgery would only be two weeks away. My doctor told me that he had set up my ultra sound of my arm for the afternoon while I was still at the hospital. He looked at me and asked what I wanted to do and I told him," I want to live and I trust you and I know you will do what is best for me and my health."
    After walking out of my doctor’s office I was overwhelmed with what had just taken place. Nothing could have prepared me for what Carla and I had just been told or what my family had been going through the last few months. As my wife Carla and I was walking down the hall of the doctor’s office I don’t really remember walking or getting on the elevator to go downstairs to the exit all I remember Carla is holding my hand. I do however remember getting off the elevator and looking towards the exit trying to hold back my tears and emotions. After getting outside of the doctor’s office my wife Carla was beside me at which time I broke down and began crying and could no longer control what I was feeling. I just could not understand why this is happening to me I try to take good care of myself and never smoked and don’t drink and yet somehow I still get cancer. After collecting myself I sat down on a bench and closed my eyes and began to pray to the Lord. I know I am not supposed to ask for healing for myself. However I did ask the Lord to give me the strength, and support and the guidance for my wife Carla and my family. After a few seconds I felt the suns warmth and a different feeling I have never felt. I felt as though everything would be ok it will work out and the Lord has a plan for me and what my family and I have been going through. I know the Lord touched me this day and let me know that He is with me and my family and to have faith. After that day I have never looked back. I do have my bad days from time to time and all I have to do is pray and I feel so much better and my emotions are gone. All I do is talk to the Lord and I have no more worries. Well after collecting myself and kissing my wife and hugging her we then went and had my ultrasound of my arteries of my arm done and was told my veins where found to be good and would be used if necessary for the surgery.
    Another few weeks went by and I returned again to St Louis University to have my throat surgery done. I again kissed my wife Carla and not to worry and I was in good hands and I, would be fine. I was given a shot at which time I don’t remember much of anything even after my surgery. After a few days of sleeping I finally woke up enough where Carla began telling me what had taken place. Carla told me that every day she would tell me about my surgery and what the doctors had done during the surgery. It took me about four days to finally start remembering what Carla had told me the day before. Carla told me that I had been given some type of drug to help with not remembering surgery. After waking up and knowing what was going on around me I had tubes and IVs all around me and a feeding tube that went up into my nose so I could eat. Carla told me that the doctors did a complete Laryngectomy (removal of the voice box) and that the cancer went up in the throat a lot further than expected and to be safe the voice box was removed. I remember every day the doctors coming in and checking on my status and seeing how I was recovering. To this day I can’t really remember much about being in ICU. However I do remember sponge baths. After a few days in ICU I was then moved from there and had my own private room. After a weeklong recovery I was given a swallow test to see how my throat was healing. After the test was completed my feeding tube was removed at which time I was allowed to eat liquid foods and then moved to soft foods. After another day I was allowed to return home to recover from my surgery.
    The whole week was going well until I began to notice my throat started swelling and it was hard to the touch and was red. On Saturday part of my throat started giving me more problems and was beginning to hurt to swallow and I began to fill chilled and not feeling good at all so I knew there was a problem. On Sunday all I did was mostly lay around and feel worse. Carla called the St Louis University and spoke to the staff and we were told to come to the emergency room Monday to have my throat and stitches checked out.
    Monday came and we went to St Louis University emergency room and the staff from my doctor’s office came in and checked my throat. After a few minutes the doctor told me that I had a fistula and would need a feeding tube to eat and would be admitted into the hospital for a while. After getting moved to my room I began receiving IV of antibiotics for an infection that was causing all the problems I was having. After settling in my room another doctor came in and told me that the next morning I would be doing a Barionington swallow test to find out where the fistula was located. After a short time later I was taken down to x-ray where I would begin my swallow test. After completing this test I was moved back to my room at which time my doctor came by and told me that I would not be allowed to eat anything and would be getting a feeding tube inserted into my nose to allow my throat fistula to heal. After getting my feeding tube I was then given fluids through the feeding tube. After a few days in the hospital and antibiotics to help me fight infection I was discharged and allowed to return home to recover. I had been told that I would be on feeding tube for three weeks for enough time for throat to heal completely. I was showed while in the hospital how to pack my fistula with sterile strips to aid in healing with my neck. After getting home I began feeding myself with my feeding tube. I had dropped a lot of weight I went from 200 lbs at the beginning of this whole surgery ordeal and now was down to 175lbs. While I was on feeding tube I was unable to gain any weight however was able to maintain this weight. After my third week on feeding tube I returned to St Louis University hospital I again had swallow test with three Separate tests done on my throat. After completing these tests I went to the doctor’s office where I met with him. After a brief conversation my feeding tube was removed. I believe if my doctor would have gave me permission I would have removed that feeding tube myself. After meeting with several other doctors I left the hospital at which time I was cleared to eat and so I did. First stop Denny's for breakfast.

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    Kellislevon shared an experience

    Loss (Body part/function): Removal of vocal cords and reconstruction of throat. In December 23,2010 I had voice prosthesis put in and was able to speak that evening and have been able to speak ever since.

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    Kellislevon shared an experience

    Celebration (Finished treatment): On my last day of Radiation, I was told by my doctors that several of his patients told him I was an inspiration to them because every time I would come to treatment I always smiled and said good morning to every one there. The nurses on my last day gave me a orange rose due to all the bright orange shirts I would wear.