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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gut Punched...

So its been exactly a week since I got the news and it still feels like I've been gut punched. I wake up in the morning still wondering if I dreamed the whole thing. Then I look at my tongue in the mirror and realize that its real. We've told just about all of our closest friends and family now, but it still feels weird saying it. Cancer... Cancer of the tongue to be precise. I'm not even 40 yet, and I've never smoked or chewed tobacco. I always thought that Oral Cancer was limited to people who smoked or chewed. But I guess I'm wrong.

I'll be honest, I cried when I left the doctor's office. I got angry, I got depressed, I joked about it. The whole gamut of emotions. I'm not afraid of it killing me. What scares me more is that I'm not going to be able to speak again. I won't be able to tell my kids how proud of them I am when they get older. Or tell them how much I love them. That I'll be reduced to being mute and with that the assumption that I'm dumb as well. I've joked that its sort of ironic that I would get oral cancer since my job and livelihood entails me talking on the phone to customers day in and day out. I've also remarked that if I was going to get cancer why couldn't it have been a cancer that sounded cooler. I mean, c'mon, tongue cancer. That sounds like the prelude to a bad 'Your momma' joke.

My ENT doctor guessed that it was almost Stage 2 cancer. Still early enough that it shouldn't be life threatening. He said that I would lose a piece of my tongue but that there should be very little impact on my speech once it healed. The big question... Has it spread and how far has it spread? I'll most likely lose my lymph node in the left side of my neck, but if its spread into the tissue then I'll have to have radiation treatments. Chemo is also a possibility but only if its more severe than what they first believe.

So now I'm waiting. Waiting to have my CT scan done... waiting to hear the game plan from my oncologist... and then waiting just to see what happens next. Waiting sucks. Not knowing sucks. Because when you don't know, you're mind always thinks about the worst thing that could happen.

Last year Josie and I complained about the High deductible health insurance because we ended up paying a lot more for doctor's visits and never hit our maximum. This year we'll be praising it because between the surgery and medications we're going to hit our maximum this month/next month which means all of the rest of our visits this year will be taken care of.

Wish me luck... and if your religious maybe include us in your prayers...