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I had cancer

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Eranda posted 5/12/2013 20:25 PM

Well, one week ago tomorrow morning, the oral surgeon told me that at the age of 49, the white spot he removed from the bottom of my tongue was cancer.

Luckily, it was only on the surface, and they got all of it when he did the biopsy. I do not have to do chemo or radation at this point, but as he said, "I will now become your best friend for the next 5 years" LOL. I will have to see him every 3 months for 3 years and then every 6 months for the next 2 years. He said the chance of recurrance isn't hugely high- but we will have my regular doc, the oral surgeon, and my dentist checking constantly just in case.

I feel extremely lucky that it wasn't worse, and that surgery was able to remove it all right away. In fact the surgery was for a biopsy, so I didn't even know it was cancer until AFTER it was removed.

Telling my parents and my children was the hardest thing, but they all handled it exceptionally well and were very supportive. With any luck at all, in 5 years this will have been a narrow escape, and nothing more.

I'm sure everyone reading this is thinking "was she a smoker?" and the answer is yes- yes I was. I feel REALLY stupid now, for ever having thought it wouldn't happen to me. I feel stupid for not having listened to the people who tried to convince me to quit. I feel especially stupid having had to tell my children that I had a scary disease that I brought on myself by being STUPID.

But the good news is... I haven't had a regular cig since the day the doc said "cancer".

I've been using an e-cig to keep me from smoking, and it's working well. Both my regular doc and the oral surgeon recommended it, and I'm a real "ritual" smoker, so I thought it couldn't hurt to give it a try. There have been a few adjustments to make, but after a week I'm getting used to it and it's finally beginning to feel good enough that I rarely crave a real one anymore. I will admit that I had some cranky moments, but overall it's kept me from being miserable and from climbing the walls as I am quitting smoking.

I've tried to explain it to others this way: it's like someone took away my best friend, and replaced her with a robot that looks and acts like her- but just isn't the same. That doesn't mean that I want my old friend back, it just means I have to get used to the new one until I am Ok to give her up completely too. (both docs told me that I am OK to use the e-cig as long as I need to to stay off the regular ones). I a cautionary tale? You bet. Am I lucky as hell to have escaped something worse? Hell yes. Have I finally FINALLY learned my lesson about smoking? Holy crap did I ever. Am I committed to never making that mistake ever again? 100%.

It's some good news, wrapped in some bad news. And I'm ok with that.

nowiknow23 posted 5/12/2013 20:30 PM

((((Eranda)))) I'm so glad it was caught early and was easily treated. Don't you DARE miss a single follow up appointment, ok?

Thank you for sharing your story here. It's sobering to read such a story and remember that cancer strikes everywhere and when we least expect it.

Sending you plenty of "stay healthy" mojo.

jo2love posted 5/12/2013 20:36 PM


I'm glad they caught it. Sounds like you are in good hands. Sending you mojo.

Eranda posted 5/12/2013 20:55 PM

It's sobering to read such a story and remember that cancer strikes everywhere and when we least expect it.

Totally true. I kept thinking that "I'm only 49, how could I have cancer?" but I DID. Apparently it doesn't matter.

And no, I will NEVER miss a follow-up. For the woman who hadn't been to a doctor in 8 years- I will make up for it in the next 8 years The oral surgeon told that if I moved, or had to change docs because of insurance or whatever... that I am supposed to tell him right away, so we could arrange follow-up care somewhere else. "Just don't disappear on me, OK??" is what he said. And no, I won't. I figure these docs (and the dentist) are my first line of defense now and I NEED them, so I will go as often as they want.

amitheow posted 5/13/2013 10:45 AM

My grandmother died a week ago from lung cancer and it was NOT pretty ... she couldn't breathe and could only walk 25 feet away from her oxygen machine becuase that's how long the cord was. She had to go everywhere with this little portable oxygen thing and was miserable.

It was a terrible thing to watch and I wonder why it was not a lesson to my husband and all our other family members who smoked. She literally smothered herself to death. Horrible.

She was 69. WAY too young to go.

I'm glad you stopped.

ajsmom posted 5/13/2013 13:41 PM

Glad to hear you're ok and even happier that you've quit smoking.

Having lost both parents who were heavy smokers to lung cancer, I can only tell you that you've made a great choice.



Eranda posted 5/13/2013 19:24 PM

I am one week completely smoke free I NEVER thought I would be able to do it... but I am!!


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