Cancer

Never Give Up! Cancer Does Not Rule You. National Cancer Survivors Day

No matter what, stay positive and never give up. 

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A few years ago I was at the number one cancer hospital in the United States. I was to be placed on an experimental drug but after running some test, they removed me from the study and informed my wife and I that my cancer was back.

The study drug specialist looked at the scans and said my cancer had returned, this time in my throat.

My doctor examined the results and ran a scope down my throat and confirmed the cancer was present.

My surgeon followed next with the same results.

Later in the day, we met with the radiologists and he agreed with the others. The news was grim. It was inoperable and would need extensive treatments.

We were sent home to make arrangements for a stay in Houston. My family and friends got behind me with plenty of prayer and support. A few days later, we returned to the hospital and I was to have my wisdom teeth removed, preparing me for radiation. It was during this procedure that the doctors would do multiple biopsies to determine the extent and type of cancer.

When I woke from the surgery I noticed my doctor had a surprised look on her face. “You don’t have cancer,” she said.

Had the experts at the best cancer hospital in the United States been wrong? I doubt it.

Never Give Up. Stay Positive!

My story is included in an anthology coming out this year by Nancy Kennedy.

UnknownBook cover with IPPY AwardAnd be sure to check out my award-winning novel, The Devil’s Backbone

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Five Years – Cancer Free!

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5 Ways To Have A Fun Fishing Trip

5.  Plan to leave the house at 7am, but actually leave at 9am.

4. Forget to bring the bug spray.

3. Be sure to include all your friends, even the hairy ones!

fish

2. Drive far away from home, the more secluded the better.

1. Make sure you have a jack and spare tire!!!

fish2

The best fishing(or any other) trips are the imperfect ones. That is where good memories are made. You never hear someone say, “Remember that time we went fishing, caught a few fish, and nothing else happened?”

Life is much the same. Mine has not been perfect. Bad things happen, that’s just the way it is. We should still enjoy life through it all. From my mouth you’ll never hear, “Remember when nothing ever happened in my life?”

The good, the bad, that’s what makes memories. Everything in-between is forgotten.

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Cancer Neck Dissection Scar Before – After Pictures

I thought I should update my blog with pictures of how a neck dissection scar looks a few years after surgery.
If it’s a typical neck dissection, you will not be left with a hideous scar.

My neck dissection

My neck dissection

neck

 

And be sure to check out my award-winning novel, The Devil’s Backbone

Book cover with IPPY Award

 

 

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Donated Her Hair To Someone With Cancer

You Can Beat Cancer

My wonderful daughter donated her long hair.

It’s not always the parents who inspire the children.

baye short hair

So… I cut my hair! And here’s why. My dad, as most of you know, had surgery to see if his cancer had come back. He is CANCER FREE!! And we are super excited! But I began to think of all the people who were not as lucky, and especially kids my age and younger. My hair is going to young kids who have none through Locks of Love. Thank you so much for supporting me in this endeavor!

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Laughing At Cancer

You Can Beat Cancer

md Stay upbeat and

look for the humor in

every situation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And make sure the doctors mark the correct side to operate on!

yesAnd ‘yes’ they do write ‘yes’ on your body

to make sure there are no mistakes.

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Can Cancer Be Beaten?

You Can Beat Cancer

Absolutely, beyond any shadow of doubt, people diagnosed with cancer today have a better chance of survival than at any time in our history.

 

Cancer has been with us as far back as the Egyptians. An ancient textbook from Egypt that dates to 3000 B.C. describes tumors and ulcers, and the attempted cauterization treatment. It goes on to say ‘there is no cure.’

The word “Cancer” was derived from the Greek word “Carcinos” (word for Crab) and was translated to the Latin word “Cancer” (Latin word for Crab).

In the 19th century the modern microscope came into use for studying diseased tissues.  It allowed the pathologist to tell the surgeon whether the operation had completely removed the cancer. Most doctors at the time agreed that once removed, the cancer would return.

Antique surgeon's tools

To have cancer in the eighteen hundreds and early nineteen hundreds meant a death sentence. That idea was then passed down from generation to generation, and the belief that cancer could not be cured persisted into the very recent past. Some, even today, believe that seeing a doctor will not increase their chances of survival.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Fiber-optic technology and miniature cameras allow doctors to see inside the body. Special instruments can be inserted through small incisions and into tubes, allowing surgeons to remove tumors. Endoscopic surgery is common and a much less intrusive procedure than our ancestors endured. Cryosurgery, lasers, and radio waves are only a few of the treatments available.

Antique exam table

            In the nineteen seventies, about one of every two people diagnosed with cancer survived at least five years, only fifty percent. Now, that number has risen to more than seventy-five percent. In the United States, there are over eleven million cancer survivors. More people are beating cancer than ever before. Being told you have cancer is no longer the death sentence from the eighteen hundreds.

            When the doctor says the dreaded “C” word to you, don’t let yourself get too far down.  It’s normal to get depressed, mad, worried, and panicked (not in any particular order) but don’t give up!

            So many good things can be said about advances in medicine, but even the best treatments in the world pale in comparison to the human will-to-live.

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Cancer/Neck Dissection

First let me tell you what a neck dissection is:

The neck dissection is a procedure for control of (SCC) cancer of the head and neck. The aim of the procedure is to remove lymph nodes from one side of the neck into which cancer cells may have migrated. Metastasis of squamous cell carcinoma into the lymph nodes of the neck reduce survival and is the most important factor in the spread of the disease.

Now let me tell you how its done:

The procedure is performed under general anesthesia through an incision that runs along a skin crease in the neck. Radical and modified radical neck dissections often requires a vertical incision toward the collarbone in addition to the incision in the skin crease. These incisions heal well with minimal scarring and provide safe access to the structures in the neck. Beneath the skin, underlying fat, and a thin layer of muscle, the dissection proceeds to identify and remove the envelope of tissue containing the lymph nodes and surrounding tissues. Except for the sternocleidomastoid muscle, no major muscles are removed and there is no risk of long-term neck weakness.

Neck dissections take 2-4 hours to complete, depending on the type. The incision is usually closed with nylon sutures or skin staples that are removed 6-10 days after surgery. If radiation has been given to the neck previously, sutures remain longer than if no previous radiation has been used. Two drains are also placed which exit the skin of the neck. These are removed 2-6 days after surgery when drainage has ceased.

Now for the personal info:

Neck dissection does hurt. I hate to tell you that, but it does. Take the pain killers they give you. Also keep your wound clean. The neck is a terrible place to get an infection.

It will change the way you speak, for a while. The right side of my mouth wouldn’t work correctly for a few months. Basically, I looked and spoke as if I had suffered a stroke.

Other things to expect are: There will be a tight feeling in your neck. You can help it by doing neck exercises after you are completely healed. Depending on how many nodes they removed, there can also be a strange sensation when eating. After the surgery you may experience a strong pressure in your head and face when you eat. It is caused by fluids that your nodes used to process. My doctor says that these fluids are triggered when you eat. Over time, your body will find ways to disperse this fluid more quickly. I rarely feel the pressure when I eat now, almost two years since my surgery.

The side of your face will be numb. This could also include your ear. Your skin could also feel super-sensitive. You may touch one part of your cheek and have the weird sensation that you are touching a slightly different part of your face, say an inch or two away from the actual place you are touching.

Overall, you will get through it and have little side effects in the long run.

This blog is for those who are, or have loved ones who are facing a neck dissection. I wish I would have been told some of these things before my surgery. It’s a surprise to find out you can’t feel your ear anymore.

Please leave comments if you have gone through, or may be facing a neck dissection and be sure to check out my award winning, adventure novel The Devil’s Backbone

Book cover with IPPY Award

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