“The patient is the boss, not the doctor,” he said.
Those were the words of the surgeon who removed my diseased tonsil. Those words will stick with me for the rest of my life.
Getting a cancer diagnosis is a scary thing. Treatment can be brutal and life altering. The doctors are eager to get to work on your case. Maybe a little too eager?
For two years I’d had a bothersome, periodic soreness on the left side of my throat/neck. The annoying condition came and went. My doctor did the usual; he looked into the throat, did a strep test, couldn’t see anything. Nor could he feel any swollenness in my neck. In time, the annoyance would recede and I’d go on about my life.
The first record I have of this condition was in autumn of 2017. Thanks to the systems that store our medical records online, I was able to find the exact date of the first consultation. My symptoms were minor, but with the holidays approaching I wanted to make sure I didn’t have something I could pass on to others. The doctor did a strep test. Negative.
For two years my symptoms came and went. Two years before the issue manifested itself fully. In late summer 2019 (see part 1), my doctor referred me to a specialist. After diagnosis and surgery, I was ready to move onto the next step in my cancer journey.
Getting Ready for Radiation
While I was still undecided about chemotherapy, I was sure that radiation therapy would be in my treatment plan. The CT scan showed a few bright white spots beyond the area where my left tonsil had been, an indication that the cancer had invaded some adjacent lymph nodes. Still, the area was contained, which was good news.
I was to received five treatments a week, Monday through Friday, for seven weeks. But there was prep work to be done before the radiation could be administered.Continue reading “My Cancer Journey – Part 3”