Wednesday, November 19, 2008

rest of the end of my story

The cancer I have began as a small ulcer on my tongue, I urge anyone who notices a spot of any sort in their mouth that has not healed in two weeks to consider mentioning it to your doctor or dentist. This website, The Oral Cancer Foundation is the best place I have found to learn more about this particular type of cancer. I was lucky, my cancer was discovered 7 years ago and was easily removed with minor surgery and very little damage to my tongue. The problem with this cancer is it is persitent, it reoccured on my tongue twice more, a grace period of 3 years between each reoccurance. The battle truly began once it metastasized to the lymph nodes in my neck. There is only a 50/50 survival rate once this occurs. So early detection is the best chance for a cure. The problem is that most doctors and dentists are uneducated about what this cancer looks like. They will often pass it off as something else. My doctor dismissed the possibility for 6 months, saying that only people who smoke or chew tobacco get this cancer. But, that's not true, anyone can get it! It was a great nurse who, alarmed at the doctor's dismissal of the problem, encouraged me to seek outside help. Only then was the cancer properly diagnosed. Again, the best place place to visit is the above links at the Oral Cancer Foundation.

tranfered out of Palliative Care Unit, first day in the New Hospital at MCV, quick sketch of a woman named Karen as she talked to my sister Betsy

memory drawing of tests

memory drawing of my sisters as they kept me company

sketching the private duty nurse staying with me, poor thing, she has two jobs and is taking care of her sick mother, she was very sleep deprived

my dear friend Anna Warmolts visiting me in the hospital, we did a portrait party exchange, here my sketch of her drawing me.

a memory drawing of the procedure, the cancer has damanged my throat, no longer able to swallow, a feeding tube inserted through my nose

finally food

last day in the hospital, waiting for discharge papers, my sister Wendy and I have a Portrait Party exchange.