It was a long tough road but it seems as if I have won the battles so far.
Let me start this by saying I smoked from 1972 - 1977 and the Dr's do not think this was an issue. I am a extremely light drinker. I drink socially and only a beer or a glass of wine and never more than one. HPV could be a culprit as I dated more than a few women when I was dealing with my divorce in 1987-88. It's amazing that it took 20 years to present if that is indeed the cause. I read that an oncologist wrote we have cancer in our bodies all the time. It's just a matter of some trigger setting it off. Stress, sickness of another type, etc. I had tons of stress in July of 2007. My wife lost her Dad and 10 days later I lost my Mom. Her parents live in China and my Mom is in the US (as am I).
September of 2007 - lost taste of food. I tasted something but it was only half the flavour I expected. My family Dr said taste issues are in the brain so she ordered a CT of my brain. No abnormalities.
November 2007 - Still experiencing loss of taste but now have developed a nagging pain under my right ear. - Went to see a Ear, Nose, Throat Dr. He said it was TMJ and take Ibuprofin.
January 2008 - Went to another ENT Dr who said it could be a nerve in my ear. He ordered an MRI. The guy who read it said he thought he saw something on my tongue.
January 2008 - Another MRI of my head and neck this time. They found something but don't know what it is.
February 2008 - Biopsy confirmed the worst. Cancer of the tongue. Stage 3.
Feb 08 - saw a cancer surgeon - he said it was inoperable (too large) as he would have to remove my tongue and my quality of life wouldn't be there.
February 2008 - went to see an oncologist (1st opinion) who was too blunt. Said he was leaving to teach at University and had said if the cancr is in my lymphnodes I will be dead soon. Said I should see my dentist for review.
Feb 08 - Dentist, oral surgeon, gum Dr., all said my teeth should come out. All my teeth! So I went in to have them all removed surgically. (Insurance doesn't cover this I found out later).
Feb 08 - Surgery to put in the feeding tube and my 'Port-a-Cath' - makes delivery of Chemo easier. Ordered several cases of liquid food (Insurance doesn't cover the food either).
March - got to see 2nd oncologist they mapped out my course of treatment. 7,000 units of radiation over a 7 week period. They made my face mask (to hold my head still) and we started on Monday.
Three heavy doses of chemo (cisplatin). The chemo would be delivered on days 1&2 of weeks 1, 4, and 7. The dose is so strong they had to give me half at a time, so two days for one dose.
April 08 - we finished treatment. Now I just have to start feeling better.
August 08 - PET scan shows tongue and neck are clear but now there is a spot on my spine and my lung to be concerned about (turned out it was nothing)
December 12 - PET is clean from the top of my head to my knees. Yippie!!!!
Side effects - Good - I havn't had to shave my neck for four years now and it's as smooth as a babys bottom. Lost a bunch of weight. Kept it off until I had dental implants put in to hold my dentures in place better. Now I'm heavy again.
Side effects - Tolerable - When my weight was down I was cold most of the time. Because of the targeted radiation my neck cramps up when it is cold in the room. I can't whistle well at all and my singing voice isn't what it used to be.
Side effects - Bad - none. I'm still here.
There is so much more to this. feel free to ask questions.