Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Still (throat) cancer free!

I wish I could find the time to update this thing properly.

I remind you if you want to keep up with me then follow me on Twitter:


I took the afternoon off today as I knew I had my semi-annual appointment with my ENT (ORL in French) doctor. I took my Xanax an hour beforehand, as usual, and was ready for my appointment at 17:30. I took the métro as I knew I would be drowsy afterwards.

The appointment went very well in all aspects of the term. Even though he numbs my nostrils with some sort of local anesthesia the procedure is still rather horrific as he shoves a camera tube up each nostril and down my throat. But it's actually worse when he does his manual checks in my mouth and throat by shoving his gloved finger down my throat and pulling on my tongue. All of this actually went better than usual and I only gagged a couple of times. I still don't look at the images of the inside of my throat which he projects on a big screen. But it was all definitely easier.

He is very happy with the insides of my throat, my mouth, my tongue, my chest and so forth. Obviously the happier he is the happier I am. Everything's healed quite well and there is nothing to worry about.

He checked out my blood test results and everything was normal there as well.

We talked a bit about my intermitten neck pain and he recommended swimming and stretching, again, and this time gave me a prescription to see a kiné for some massage sessions. I'm probably more likely to see the kiné than I am to actually take the time to swim.

As he was so pleased with all my exam results the rest of the news was all good. My next semi-annual visit (in 6 months) will be my last semi-annual visit. After that I will see him one year later which will mark the 5 year anniversary of my surgery and treatment. I will be going for a PET scan within the next couple of months and he and I will both get the results. If all goes well then my 5-year anniversary visit should actually be my last internal throat checkup. This gives me something to hope for and work towards. No more throat checkup visits? I couldn't hope for more!

For those of you who may be interested here are my previous visits up to now:

1 comment:

John M. Kelly said...

Derek - my wife found your blog and shared it with me. Your story will help me get through my own story, and for that I thank you.

I also have tonsil cancer that has spread to a lymph node in my neck. The primary tumor in my right tonsil was removed leaving no cancer behind. My treatment team has decided not to do a radical neck dissection before I start chemo and radiation therapy in October.

The treatment is going to be difficult for me as it comes in the middle of harvest. I am a winegrower in Sonoma, California. I make Pinot Noir, Syrah, a blend of Mourvedre, Grenache, Counoise and Syrah with a splash of Tannat (much of the budwood came from the owners of Ch. de Beaucastel), and a dry Rose which is a saignee de cuve.

Your story has given me hope. Thanks. - John

BTW - it has been 30 years since I smoked regularly, and even then I was not a heavy smoker. I am not a heavy drinker. Sounds like you? It turns out my tumor is associated with human papilloma virus (HPV). Perhaps yours was too. I am going to have my daughter AND my son inoculated with the HPV vaccine series when the time comes.