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My Mother #13279
04-09-2002 04:29 AM
04-09-2002 04:29 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 64
Syracuse, NY
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vb Offline OP
Supporting Member (50+ posts)
vb  Offline OP
Supporting Member (50+ posts)
V

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 64
Syracuse, NY
My mother was diagnosed with tongue cancer in april 2001.She is 79. Surgery recommend was neck dissection and removal of about 1/2 tongue on left side, followed by radiation. She opted for neck surgery and radiation without removal of tongue. Surgery went well. Only 1 night in hospital. Had feeding tube at same time. Radiation ran for 8 weeks through August.They put her through a couple of chemo treatments too, but they stopped when she developed an infection. Radiation was tough on her, but she recovered and went home from daughter's. Her saliva and eating were still a problem, but she managed between normal eating and the tube. Doctors told her everything was looking good until December. Another spot on her tongue. She had another biopsy and it was cancer.They sent her for all the tests including pet scan.The cancer had reached her jaw and floor of mouth and penetrating tongue. The ENT who did her neck surgery said she needed to go to a teaching hospital that could handle this kind of extensive surgery.She had surgery at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse on February 11 which is close by. She was in surgery for over 6 hours.They removed over 1/2 her tongue, a large part of her jaw on the right side and part of the floor of mouth. They put in a titanium plate to replace her jaw and tissue from her chest to rebuild the floor of mouth and trache for breathing. She was out of ICU late the following day, and never required a ventilator. Amazing for a 79 year old. Celebrated her 79th in hospital. They started her on liquids about a week after surgery, but she developed an infection and had to be packed for 2 weeks and was given antibiotics.The infection cleared, and she was put back on fluids and pureed diet. She was in the hospital for a month and is now home at daughter's. She can talk, but with a strong lisp.She is eating mostly pureed foods by mouth, but it is very messy for her. She tried speech therapy, but they admitted there was little they could do with the extent of the surgery. Her face is numb where the plate is, and she has no control of swallowing on the right side. Amazingly she remains in good spirits. Her first doctor appointment after being home was optimistic, but he did not poke too much. Said he will be much more extensive when she goes back later in April.She is in pretty good spirits, but eating and talking, 2 of her favorite things are no longer much fun for her. Hopefully everything will work out for her and she will have some good years without recurrence after what she has been through


Vince
Re: My Mother #13280
04-12-2002 05:09 AM
04-12-2002 05:09 AM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 4,744
Boise, ID and Portland, OR
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Brian Hill Offline

OCF Founder
Brian Hill  Offline

OCF Founder
Patient Advocate (old timer, 2000 posts)
B

Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 4,744
Boise, ID and Portland, OR
Quite a long journey, and difficult at her age, but it's wonderful that her attitude has remained so positive. I hear these stories of extremely invasive tumors all too frequently. One of the particularly sad things about oral cancer, is the lack of discomfort and overt symptoms that people have in its earliest stages. Without a sense that something is wrong, the disease has time, months even years, to prosper and spread deeper and more extensively into the structures of the mouth. Only when we get the American population to recognize that an oral cancer screening is an annual necessity, just like a PAP smear, PSA test etc, and the dental professionals routinely doing these exams, will we start catching this disease at the early stage one and two levels. When caught early, not only is the survival rate very high (80-90%) but those that do survive have much less morbidity, the damage as a result of the various treatments to rid themselves of the disease.

Your mom sounds like a real trooper to have gone through all this and emerged with her spirits intact. I applaud her, and wish her a speedy recovery.


Brian, stage 4 oral cancer survivor. OCF Founder and Director. The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.

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