I have a new appreciation for anyone going through the process of dealing with and healing from cancer...be it breast or lung or ....what I had...cancer on my tongue.
On June 7, 2018 I was in surgery to remove a squamous cell carcinoma from my tongue. I was under for 13 hours during which my head and neck surgeon (an amazing doctor and human!) removed the tumor, and two plastic surgeons (I love them both!) took tissue from my left wrist/forearm along with my radial artery, to use to rebuild my tongue and cover this donor site with a temporary reconstructive dressing.
I spent four days in ICU after this, because the treatment team needed to monitor my tongue reconstruction and make sure the tissue was viable. Everything went according to plan and I was transferred to a trauma recovery unit at the same hospital for another eight days. I had amazing, nurturing, attentive care, including a reiki session that I will remember for the rest of my life, during the remainder of my stay at Sharp Memorial Hospital. My doctors checked on me regularly. I had visitors and family with me constantly. I was always in good spirits...knowing I was in good hands and that I had the power to influence what was going on in my body. I had the good news during my hospital stay that all of the lymph nodes removed from the left side of my face and neck were clear of cancer, so I didn't need chemotherapy.
In follow up, on consultation with my oncologist and a tumor board who examined my case, it was determined that I did not need radiation therapy, either. Surgical removal had been the solution for me. I count myself extremely blessed and fortunate. I have since experienced the constant support of Sharp doctors along with occupational and speech therapists, and feel even more grateful to be back to work in all capacities, taking care of my family, and enjoying all my hobbies...
...including making cards for iHanna's swap this fall. It's extraordinary to me to think that I experienced all of this between Swaps!
Once you experience cancer, you have a sensitivity to it...and I've since learned about so many friends and acquaintances that have gone through breast cancer diagnoses or other cancer issues.... Sadly, I think we (my age group) will encounter this more often.
For me, it has been a transformative and positive experience. I value the important things more and easily let go of the little things. I'm a better mom, co-worker, human...because of this. I realize I am loved by many, when I assumed no one really gave me a second thought, before all of this...
...how (unnecessarily!) lonely and pathetic I was.
I want everyone to know that they are loved deeply...even by me...I may not even know you...I may just follow you on the internet...but your life has meaning and I value you...you are loved...you don't need to get cancer to understand this....please...know you are loved...by many...including me.
Thank you for visiting...I love you!