Wednesday, August 17, 2011
DAY 1321 - Day 1079 in Recovery Paradise
Just had my 3 year post treatment update. All is OK for now. I have been dealing with a sore throat in the same part of my throat as 3 years ago for the past month and was dreading the visit. Note- it still has not gone away, so not always psychosomatic....
I have been assigned a new regimen of daily (up to 8 times a day in the beginning) saline nasal wash, heavy salt throat gargle and Vaseline in the nasal passages. I am to use a humidifier and put 'Biotene' moisturizing gel in my mouth at night and use a 'Biotene' mouth spray.
Also got some sobering news from my Head & Neck oncologist:
Although at 5 years, post treatment, I can say I am a survivor of this type of Cancer, I am now 10 times more likely (vs. people that haven't had Cancer) to get another Cancer.
She also said that in her experience (30 years), most new cancers (not a recurrence of first cancer) that occur, come in the 7-10 year post treatment time frame. Tick, Tick, Tick...
She does not advocate CT and Pet scans on a regular (every 6 months etc.} basis. She says the additional exposure to radiation could be a significant factor in a new-cancer-later possibilities.
A person that has had 5 CT scans has been exposed to the same amount of radiation as survivors of Hiroshima in WWII (survivors of the atomic bomb attacks at Nagasaki and Hiroshima who had significantly higher cancer risk were exposed to about 100 millisieverts of radiation. A CT scan delivers approximately 20 millisieverts – and since radiation accumulates in the body, a person who has had five CT scans in their life would have the same radiation exposure as an atomic bomb survivor.)
I have had 5 now, 2 in the beginning of 2008 and 3 more (1 week apart) last year when they thought the Cancer had spread to my liver. It is like the good news now is the bad news.
Also in the news today: There is now a 'cure for certain types of 'Leukemia' tumors. Go here: http://www.voanews.com/english/news/health/Serial-Killer-Cells-Demolish-Leukemia-Tumors-127727628.html
When I asked my oncologist what I could do to make myself less at risk for a recurrence of Cancer, after the obvious (no smoking, drinking, diets high in fat, poor health behaviors, etc.), she said that there is very little knowledge of why people generally get cancer and her advice was to live a happy life, drink lots of water, and enjoy occasional comfort foods (vs. living on berries, etc.) as a happy, stress-free person is about as immune as a person can get in today's world. She said that as we are organic beings like plants and animals, we are mortal and have a limited life cycle. She said there is nothing she could advise me that would absolutely prevent me from getting Cancer again.
Dying from Oral Cancer is 45th on the list of major causes of death worldwide, with violence, measles, diarrhea, suicide and traffic accidents way ahead as possibilities.
Live as healthy of a lifestyle as you can, do the things that make you happy, try not to have any regrets.
The number one cause of death, worldwide, is due to cardiovascular issues. I have had issues for an irregular heartbeat for awhile and the meds have stopped doing their job, so in about 7.5 hours, I go in for my second Cardioversion (cardioversion uses a therapeutic dose of electric current to the heart, at a specific moment in the cardiac cycle.) in about six months. So, why am I still more concerned about Cancer recurrence than my heart issues?
I have an appointment the day after tomorrow with my ophthalmologist for a recurring eye infection and oh, yeah....my left hearing aid stopped working yesterday..wtf... ha...
.................so, I just got back from a 7 day cruise in Alaska, taking the time I do have and spending money I don't really have, to take a helicopter ride out to the fast receding, not so eternal, glacier for a trek...the one remaining thing on my list...note: I scheduled the Cardioversion for after the glacier walk, just in case...
"The years seem to rush by now, and I think of death as a fast approaching end of a journey - double and treble the reason for loving as well as working while it is day. - George Eliot
Just about have this song down for my next performance...no puns intentionally intended...