Well, its now been over 2 and a half years since I was diagnosed with a SCC on one of my tonsils and a secondary in some of the lymph nodes in my neck. Visited Lifehouse (RPA) for a regular check and all still good and "nothing to see here". So how am I feeling now? I fel good as weight is back on and normality has returned. I count my blessings as I know I have had it easy compared to others. That said, I'm reminded that something went on in my throat as I still have periodic changes in my mouth chemistary (radiation side effect on producing saliver), and swallowing some foods isn't as easy as it was pre-SSC as the structure of my throat feels narrower or al least changed. But I am extrememly thankful for the devotion, attention and care I recieved at Lifehouse to realise this outcome.
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In continuation from my blog in December, here is an update:
Diagnosed in November with a SCC in my throat (+ 3 lymph nodes) and had robotic surgery and neck section in December. While the surgery went very well and we hoped to limit addition therapy to "reduced radiation", the biopsy sent me down the route of a combination radiation/chemo.
The 6 week treatment completed in March. While I was given all the caveats regards impact and side effects and that everyone is different, here is what I experienced:
First 5 weeks relatively low level of side effects that included loss of some of my facial hair, redness and minor skin dryness around the target area. While there were short periods of throat discomfort and mouth irritation/ulcer, they would pass quite quickly. It all changed late in the final week (6), where my throat became very sore and contributed to low/no food consumption.
We planned for 3 drops of chemo (wk 1, 3 & 7). First drop was OK and only experienced nausea for 2 days. Second drop of chemo saw significantly more side effects, including: 7-9 days of significant nausea, tingling in extremities of right arm & leg, tinnitus in both ears. As a result we decided not to progress with 3rd chemo drop.
Through the surgery and the therapy, I experienced a variable reduction in appetite and periods where eating was difficult. I dropped weight from 92kg to 78kg, most of which occured during the 6 weeks of radiation/chemo. I was also very tired, especially in week 2-3.
A week after radiation/chemo finished. I developed a fever (39.6deg). As per the process, I was admitted to hospital to ensure my immune systems was capable of dealing with the indicated infection. As it turned out, my immune system was not (white blood cell count of zero) and I was also dehydrated. Five days in hospital with rest, antibiotics and IV, turned this around. This was 2 weeks ago and I now believe I am out the other side with eating is getting back to normal and energy levels returning.
Now I look forward to learning if the journey has cleared me of the cancer. That should be in about 2 months.
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About 3 weeks ago, after getting a biopsy of a swallen lymph node, I was informed that I had a SCC in my throat. The initial guidence was that Radiation would be the most likely therapy. In the last week, we looked at all the options and have decided to go down the robotic surgical route (TORS). Booked in for this Thursday, and I will try to keep this blog regular, brief but informative. Let the games begin.....
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Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.