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For first time readers...my journey begins here: THE VERY FIRST BLOG POST (CC1)

Meaning of life

"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." ~ Pablo Picasso

Saturday, August 4, 2007

The Cancer Chronicles

In September of 2006 I noticed a pain on my tongue. Sort of like I had bitten it but I could barely see a mark. By October I noticed a small pin head size sore on the left lateral side of my tongue. I figured it to be some type of canker sore that would go away. I began to use salt rinses hoping they would help.

Early December the sore had grown slightly but was very painful. Many foods made the pain worse. I went to my primary care physician who sent me to a Dental Specialist at UCSF in San Francisco. The following updates were sent to family and friends as the saga continued:

January 2007

I had a Tongue Punch Biopsy today at UCSF Oral Medical Facility in SF. Now I'm part of a research study for oral cancer studies...yippie! The Doc took a 5mm chunk out of my tongue with a device that looked like a paper punch.. 3 stitches and I'm in MAJOR pain. I will take Extra Strength Vicodin for several days. Then back to my normal dosage. It helps but I still have a pounding in my head and in some discomfort.

Isabel has been a great friend on this trip. She booked a hotel room for 2 days near the hospital so I can recover in peace and near the hospital and has been by my side the whole time. One of the Little Caesar stores was robbed while we were in the waiting room and she still stuck by my side. She has really made me very comfortable and I greatly appreciate it.

I will know more next week when I get my results of the biopsy, until then pain and rest.


One Week Later

Greetings from freezing California!

Well the news it's not bright...today I went back to UCSF for a review of my biopsy. The short of it.."poorly differentiated squamous cell carcinoma." BOTTOM LINE: TONGUE CANCER!!! Appears to be in it's early stages.

Well if that don't beat all. They are suggesting one third of the tongue be removed....for those of you that say I talk too much anyway, go ahead and laugh now.

Dr. Brian Schmidt, at UCSF tried to book an MRI and could not fit me in til February. With some connections I was able to arrange the 90 minute day at Disney tomorrow at 2:45. This will apparently show if it has spread to the lymph nodes in the neck and head area.

After the X-rays and MRI, the information will be presented to the board at UCSF for review. Remember I'm a case study for them. I will also be looking for a second opinion as to the best way to go about this. I don't doubt the cancer, but I do not understand why so much of the tongue needs to go. So we learn.

If you research this cancer you will find some awful pictures of nasty tongues. Mine does not appear as bad as any I've seen. It's about a 7mm circular dent on the underside of my tongue. That is until they took a 5mm punch out of my tongue for the biopsy..now it looks a bit worse, but nothing like I've found on any of the web sites so far. More research needed!

It should be interesting to see how my other health problems complicate the issue. The doctor told me the surgery needed to be done or the cancer would grow and take my life. Well 12 years ago I was given 3 months to live and I'm still here! When I calmly told him I was ready for that (to die), he looked at me with great surprise. I was serious. Then he said, "I have great respect for a man who is ready to face his own mortality, but I humbly disagree."

OK I'm tired... it's been a struggle the last few years and I was ready 12 years ago damit!!!!! Yes I will try to find the best care with the best options...but we all know ..."thy will, will be done."

If you find anything interesting to share please do.




Anonymous said...

Stacy again.
I know your positive attitude has what helped carry you through all the hard times. Over and over the nurses, doctors, and other patients have told me just that.
Please continue to write. I feel some connection and relief reading your writing. I know it has been years but I really do think of you often. Auntie can give you my email if you wish. If not I will still continue to follow your blogs.

tutudebi said...

Happy (Blog) Anniversary, Brian! This is kind of ironic because today is also my 28th wedding anniversary. So... we have the anniversary in common + we both live in the Bay Area (I'm in San Jose) + love Hawaii + have had cancer.

I stumbled in here yesterday (trying to find out what happened to the mahogany bar that used to be at Ernie's of all things) and enjoyed everything I read. You're an excellent writer!

Have you ever thought of publishing? The e-reader revolution makes it relatively easy; it'd be something you could do on your own schedule and maybe it'd give you a renewed sense of purpose.

Anyhoo, I just wanted to drop in and share a bit of aloha with you and wish you well. Peace, Debi

Words To Live By:

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service to others." -Mahatma Gandhi