On Tuesday, my life will take a new direction. I have been diagnosed with malignant neoplasm, floor of mouth. The best layman term I can come up with for that is cancer of the mouth.
It came as a surprise - there was little warning. I had noticed a lump in the throat/neck area and asked my family doctor about it. She said that they will just keep an eye on it.
It got worse and pain set in. Mostly periodic and often while eating, the pain grew worse. I went to the emergency room at the hospital and they diagnosed it as a stone in my salivary gland. They prescribed anti-inflammatory medication and suggested lemon drops to help release the stone.
After a reaction, later discovered as an allergic response to latex gloves, they told me that if the swelling and the pain does not ease, I should see an Ear, Nose, Throat specialist. I did this a couple of weeks later and they were concerned so they referred me to a surgical specialist that deals with this issue.
It was first decided that they schedule surgery to remove the tumor, however, CT Scan and fine needle biopsy was scheduled prior to the surgery. The day before the surgery was to take place, the surgeon called to cancel and asked that I come in to discuss the results.
I have extensive surgery Tuesday, March 11, to remove lymph nodes, the tumor, part of the tongue and much of the floor of the mouth.
They have estimated 10 hours of surgery, 3 days in ICU, then basic recovery so I can prepare to go home and an estimated 3 months recovery before I can return to work, including speech and physical therapy. I have no short or long term disability insurance, however, I thankfully have health insurance. It is not certain if chemo or radiation therapy will be required.
With all the things I need to prepare for this, the most important is that I maintain faith, hope and courage. Without these, I am not sure the journey will go smoothly. I am not sure I would have what it takes to be an “overcomer” and confront and accept the challenges ahead of me.
I am thankful for the support of my family, my personal friends, and scores of acquaintances on facebook, many of whom I have not met face to face, but feel I know quite well.
Working up until last Friday, I had little time to research or to get things ready. In some ways, this kept me busy and I was not able to let my mind wander in directions that could have proven to be unwise.
There are many in prayer for me and I appreciate and somehow sense their heart-felt efforts.
My journey is about to begin. I pray that I have the faith, the hope and the courage now and through-out this chapter of my life.