Burial Grounds Forums

My battle with cancer
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Author:  SPYDER [ Sat Aug 29, 2009 2:20 am ]
Post subject:  My battle with cancer

Some months ago, I was diagnosed with parotid gland cancer on the right side of my neck, under my jaw. This gland is one of many around the neck and throat that is responsible for the production of saliva.

Shortly after the biopsy results came back as positive for cancer, I contacted the Moffitt Cancer Center here in the Tampa area and chose their head and neck team of 15 doctors to help me try to recover from this condition. After many x-rays, cat scans, and a pet scan of my entire body from the nose down, it was concluded that my cancer had not spread anywhere else in my body, which was very good news.

On Aug. 12th, I underwent an operation, called a total neck dissection, performed by a team of surgeons led by the assistant professor of head and neck surgery for the University of South Tampa, to remove my right parotid gland and all affected surounding tissue, including many lymph nodes, two of which were positive for cancer. The total size of the tumor was slightly larger than a golf ball.
(to be continued-----)

Author:  SPYDER [ Sat Aug 29, 2009 3:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: My battle with cancer

I was told that there was a possibility that a major nerve in the region of the incisions might be damaged, which would have left the entire right side of my face paralyzed, and that I would have no control of my right eyelid, causing my right eye to remain open all of the time. Due to the expertise of the surgeons, this did not happen, although I do have some slight numbness of the right ear, and some loss of control of the right corner of my mouth, that affects opening my mouth wide enough on that side to properly eat a sub, for eaxmple. When I smile now, with my mouth open, it is uneven enough to frighten some small children, which was an unexpected side benefit - LOL.

The next step in the process to attempt to avoid the further spread of the cancer will be radiation treatment, possibly with the help of chemotherapy. This treatment is aimed at making sure that any possible left over cancer cells not removed by the surgery are destroyed. From what I have been told, this will be more uncomfortable than having the entire right side of my neck hacked on. Today, I had to have the four back teeth on my lower right jaw removed as a precaution, because any dental work for the next 5 years in that area would not have healed properly due to the radiation's side effects.

So, when this dental work that I had done today is totally healed, I will be starting the radiation treatments. The side effects of the treatments will not become serious for about two weeks into the treatments, so I will keep all of you updated on my condition for as long as I possibly can.

My thanks go out to all of the fine people who I have had the pleasure of talking to through this forum for all of these years, and here's hoping that I will have many more to come, but if it turns out that my time is limited, I want all of you to know that I have no regrets whatsoever. I could leave this earth tomorrow, satisfied that I have lived my life to it's fullest, and enjoyed my time here for the most part, and have done many things that I am sure others only dream about doing.

Author:  bunkeR [ Sat Aug 29, 2009 3:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: My battle with cancer

Sorry to hear about this! I hope you pull through man, you seem like a stand up guy!
Hang in there and fight. I know all too well the battle via family members and friends.
I'll keep you in my prayers and thoughts. When you are able to quake it again let us know, I miss shooting you!

Author:  skraggy [ Sat Aug 29, 2009 1:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My battle with cancer

Dammit Nick, This really couldnt have happened to a nicer guy. Unfortunatly, someone picks the best of us to distract our health. I wish you would have called me, and am asking you to if you need anything at all...anything. I am going to try to take a day next week at lunch time, or maybe after work to come up and visit you if that is ok with you. After work will probably be better,that way I will not be on a time limit. I have alot to say to you, too much to type, but know that I care for you, and wish you well.

On my end of sickness,I am all fk'd up again. They did manage to kill my thyroid...a little too much. I am super hypo now. I recieved a call from my specialist yesterday, and he asked me wtf I was doing. My TSH levels went through the roof. I could tell that something was wrong,I could feel it,and sure enough,the call yesterday proved it. I will be going in for more tests,and they will changing my treatment,probably tripling my synthroid intake.

I will call you when I get some time, and set up a day to come up and see you...dont worry ,you will not scare me.

As far as the chemo goe's. for some, it is not that bad, do not worry too much about it. It sounds scarier than it is. I have a couple of friends and family that are on it now, and they are managing ok with it.

Again, call me if you need anything, or if you just want to BS and talk.

Take care my friend, and I will talk to you soon.

Author:  BladeRunner [ Wed Sep 02, 2009 12:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: My battle with cancer

Holy crap! Hang in there man. 

I am seeing my doctor again because the left side of my neck is totally jacked up and 4 chiropractic visits did not resolve it.  I feel bones rubbing together and the area is painful, been this way for around 6 weeks.  Not sure if there is a bone spur or a tumor going on there.  Been so busy seeing GI guy ever since the massive ibuprofen for the all the torn leg/groin muscles tendons irritated my gut and got it bleeding again, had to get 1st pair of glasses, say regular Doc for painful lump in middle of back which he removed and stitched up however we forgot to setup an x-ray of my neck.

Seeing him Thursday and going to be aggressive about this as something is simply not right.

What were your symptoms ?  Anyway it sounds like you got competent care :)

Author:  SPYDER [ Wed Sep 02, 2009 4:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: My battle with cancer

The only symptom initially was a very small hard lump on the right side of my neck under the jawline about one to two inches in front of my ear, that didn't hurt at all.

My regular doctor diagnosed it as a swollen lymph node from some extensive dental work that I had recently had done, and put me on Amoxycillin for a month.

As it turned out, it just kept getting bigger and became painful, at which time I contacted an ear, nose and throat doctor who did the initial biopsy.

He wanted to treat me, but I made the decision to contact the Moffitt Cancer Center because of their team approach to my treatment, and because their sole purpose of existance is the treatment of cancer, and the associated research that they do to improve their methods.

Author:  NECROSIS [ Wed Sep 02, 2009 5:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: My battle with cancer

Spyder, sorry to hear about your situation. I only want to say that I admire anyone that goes through stuff like this, you are strong like bull and I'm sure this is all going to be a fun story you tell friends at the next LAN party ;)

Stay strong and stay positive brother!

Author:  Evil_Fester [ Thu Sep 03, 2009 7:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: My battle with cancer

Spyder, I sit here wiping the tears from my eyes reading this. I have been popping in and out just to see what has been going on around here. I have very little time for gaming as life is moving fast. I feel your pain as my wife just had a battle with cancer and seems to have won. You, my friend, are also going to win!! I am on my knees, palms to the sky , praying for you. I wish you the best.

Author:  StormShadow [ Wed Sep 09, 2009 11:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My battle with cancer

Really sorry to hear about this, Spyder.  Hopefully you have this thing beat.  I hear radiation is a bitch, but I know you will tough it out.

Ill be thinking about you.

Author:  +UB+_Rare Vos [ Thu Sep 17, 2009 12:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My battle with cancer

I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis with cancer Spyder. Your positive attitude, the good medical attention you are getting, and the thoughts and prayers of all of your family and friends (including us here) should carry you through this next difficult phase. If there is a silver lining in all of this, other than the "frieghtening of small children" part, it's that it appears as if they caught it in time and it had not spread.

skraggy, from reading your posts over the years I know you have been dealing with your health issues for a long time and I wish you continued success at "getting everything stabilized".

Festor, I glad to hear that your wife seems to have won her battle with cancer. Hearing about survivor stories is always uplifting for those who are still fighting the battle like Spyder is.

And Blade, your post made me chuckle in a "misery loves company" sort of way... aches, pains, and "had to get 1st pair of glasses". Face it, brother, we are all getting older here. Even you!  :D

I'm glad I happened to stop by the forums for a moment this morning to catch up on old vintage long-term friends, but I am saddened by some of the news here. Take care Spyder, and you will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Author:  BladeRunner [ Sat Sep 19, 2009 5:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: My battle with cancer

Well that got me thinking so the x-ray tech said I had a problem so I got another MRI, this one of my neck.  Last month I tore about 8 things in my leg now the nagging pain in my neck is due to inflammation and Rheumatoid  Arthritis apparently.  I notice I whip my head around a lot, need to stop that.  Saw a really good phys therapist.  Doc cancelled, wants to bring in the expert, still wanted MRI dvd so I exchanged it for the MRI report. 

+UB+_Rare Vos said we be getting old.  Yes this was I think the 4th doctor telling me problems are not from anything but age-related problems, some showing up early.  So I get RA is another autoimmune thing like UC.  Thats about enough of this stuff, going on the most anti-inflammatory diet I can, and focusing on stretching and stabilizing and will get back to heavy lifting when I feel better.  Gonna see a new guy Monday to do a panel on all my hormones.  I thinks some HGH would help out a lot.

Just wearing my motorcycle helmet is painful, lets face it I am 45 going on 55.  Can't imagine what a punch to the head would do to my neck after reading the report - bone marrrow edema?  It was a list of crap 1 page long, worn down facets etc.

Looking into hot yoga, 90 mins of 105 heat.  Thats probably my speed these days.

Apparently no sign of head/neck cancer from smoking.

Let us know how its going there on point Spyder, your in the lead, report back what we can expect ahead.

The body changes - it can get better, I am counting on some change to the better and I hope it happens for you as well.



Author:  SPYDER [ Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My battle with cancer

My thanks go out to all of you for the kind words and encouragement.

I start 6 weeks of radiation and chemotherapy on monday the 28th. (5 days a week).

The surgeon informed me that the first two weeks of radiation and chemo won't be bad at all.

The second two weeks will be very uncomfortable.

The last two weeks, according to him, I will be praying for death.

But, after another 6 weeks of recovery after the chemo and radiation treatments end, he is confident that I will feel good and be cancer free, so it will be worth the effort.

Author:  Hex [ Sat Sep 26, 2009 8:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My battle with cancer

Go Get 'em Spyder! 

My father in law just finished a similar sounding regimen for a "couple of lemon sized tumors" in his neck.  6 mos after the final radiation treatment he is cancer free! 

Our thoughts are with you, you CAN lick this thing.  :)

Author:  BGClOLDWARRIOR [ Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My battle with cancer

A positive attitude and a fighters outlook can do wonders, the mind is a powerful thing and I believe that to this day.
So I'm rooting for you and stay tough.
My Asthma was really bad, and this may sound weird but I looked up on the net a picture of a damaged lung, put that image in my head.
And every time I would have a bad Asthma attack I would see that image in my mind, and start repairing it.
My Asthma is under control and it's been so long since I have had an Asthma attack I can't recall when it was.

Author:  skraggy [ Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My battle with cancer

I meant to call you over the past weekend, knowing that you were starting your theropy this week. I was pretty lazy this past weekend, but did manage to get the old machine running with a little help from Mark. I am on it now actually. Your borrowed vid card is running great, and I am working on moving info and pics to the new machine. The pics I am actually burning onto CD's,instead of starting a new massive file on the new machine...not that it doesnt have the room for it,just don't want it on there.

Anyways, I will call you over the next weekend coming up, or you can call me if you want also, anytime, I am usually up late still.

Good luck bro, and I will see you again soon...

ps, Thanks RV, continuing my battles~looking forward as always.

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