This might be premature, but I wanted to tap into the COTH wisdom before OT Day ends.
Back story: A very good friend of mine for 8 years called me the other night. This is odd because we haven't talked in about 2 months due to a falling out involving his fiancé. But when someone you care about calls you at 2:30 in the morning, you answer. Well he was basically telling me that he misses our friendship. And I find out this is because he has been doing "a lot of thinking" based on the fact that he has a "very bad" sore on his tongue and he believes it may be cancerous. This is a marine with more things wrong with him than I can count. So if he's worried, I'm worried. He is going to see a doctor tomorrow.
Question: does anyone have any experience with oral cancer? My only experience was a friends father in elementary school who passed away from it. But I feel like that's very different from an otherwise healthy 23 year old.
Any words of wisdom? What to expect if it is cancerous? I'm not going to get all worked up until I know for sure, since I'm hoping its nothing. But with our OT time limited, I would love to hear from some of you.
lots of jingles from here, too!
I know it's 10000000000000x easier said than done, and MrB says it to me every time i am waiting for test/biopsy results AND it doesn't help me much to hear it but even still, i gotta say it:
Worrying won't do anything good. it will get you all worked up, into a mess. Stay positive. Not knowing does not automatically make the 'bad result' a probability!!
Do try to stay calm and think positively. I know... it's hard. Every time a bad thought enters your mind, imagine a security guard guiding that thought by the elbow, out of your brain. Or as a balloon, floating to the sky. Or picture those thoughts as cobwebs in the rafters of your head and imagine dusting them away. Sweep, sweep, sweep.
(All of those things and other imaging exercises have helped me. Recently my best friend told me about the cobweb one, it's what she does. Helped me too!)
My dad was diagnosed almost one year ago with squamous cell. He had a lump right under his jaw, so not oral, but they did biopsies of his tongue, throat, etc and removed over 30 lymphnodes during surgery.
My dad underwent 6 weeks of radiation therapy. It was and still is hell for him. He has major pain in his neck and all down his right arm/shoulder (from surgery--nerve damage). He also lost his taste buds--he is unable to taste most things, or they taste like crap. He lost 60 lbs. His mouth no longer produces saliva, so he has major dry mouth. Other crappy side effects as well but I'm sure they dont happen to everyone.
The good news? My dad is cancer free!!! Radiation does work. My dads life might not be perfect, but he's alive!!!
Good luck with your friend, and jingles for him
Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)
See a dentist or more specifically an oral surgeon
Medical doctors unless they are ENT's are not that familiar with the mouth. With the oral surgeon, there may be a biopsy and this should be sent to an oral pathologist. That will determine what kind of oral cancer it is if it is cancer. Questions to ask oneself- how long has it been there, where is it located on the tongue, what kind of habits does the person have? What was seen as the risk factors 10-15-20 years ago are not the factors now. The biggest "new"factor is the HPV or the herpes virus that causes genital herpes. Of course smoking/tobacco use is a major one. Treatment can be surgery, or radiation. Radiation does have some significant effects on the mouth.
Good luck and lots of jingles.
An acquaintance of mine had oral cancer. It was a long and hard process, involving surgery and radiation. I know she also had hyperbaric chamber treatments. She is fine now but has a strict diet, has to eat foods almost "mush". She also had a sore and her husband, a dentist, sent her to a specialist.
It was tough for sure, but any cancer treatment is difficult; however, there is light at the end of the tunnel, the key being to not delay and wait.
Good luck to your friend and hoping it is not cancer!
If it is, make sure he asks for a referral to a speech pathologist before he starts chemo/radiation. They will work with him throughout his treatments with exercises to help keep his muscles from becoming too rigid from radiation and advise him on safe swallowing. I'm an SLP, but my caseload is pediatric so I've never treated head/neck cancer patients, but I know his swallow and muscles of the face/neck will be affected and it will be to his benefit to address those changes before and while they are occurring to give him the highest chance of success with range of motion and swallowing.
I wish your friend the best of luck and hope the news is better than he fears!
the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique
DH chews. Chews AND smokes, actually, though he gets yelled at for the smoking. Also iffy on his dental care, which is just nasty. I worked this weekend and he did not. I made a comment yesterday that he had not brushed his teeth, which he denied. I put something across his toothbrush before I went to work last night, and sure enough, still there when I came home this morning. He tried denying it.
Thankfully he's military and required to see a dentist on a regular basis, but still...scary. It is a real fear for me, and he just blows me off.
COTH's official mini-donk enabler
"I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl