I will never take the little things for granted ever again.

I AM MORE THAN CANCER

Finally I made it to June 30th, 2020. I got to ring the bell! Finally this type of torture was done and I could move on to the next.

My name is Jamie and I am 37 years old. I am a mom to two little boys, and in March of 2020 I was diagnosed with Tongue Cancer.

I woke up one morning in December and thought I had bit my tongue in my sleep. I had a bump on the left side of my tongue towards the back. I waited a week or so for it to heal, and I felt like it wasn’t getting any better, in fact it started to hurt a bit. I had my scheduled cleaning at the dentist and asked him about it and he looked and said it was nothing to worry about. Something in my gut felt like he was wrong. Intuitively, I made and appointment with an Ear, Nose, and throat Doctor to see what they thought. Immediately she looked at my tongue and asked me if I was a smoker. I’ve never smoked a day in my life and my lifestyle is beyond healthy. She did a biopsy that day and said she would get back to me with the results. A week passed and I heard nothing, and the ol’ saying of “No news is good news” kept playing in my mind, so I was fairly optimistic it was an inflamed tastebud or something. Then I got the call.

I was told I had tongue Cancer on March 2, 2020, and that it was aggressive and we needed to move fast. I would need surgery to remove the bump on my tongue that was more than 2cm big, and I would be in the hospital for a week. This was also the same time COVID-19 was rearing its ugly head. Surgery was scheduled for March 23, 2020. I recorded messages to my boys with the fear and sadness that loomed inside me knowing that I may not be able to speak to them for a very long time. The day of surgery, my husband dropped me off curbside since he was not allowed in the hospital, and I knew I wouldn’t see him until he came back to take me home. It was extremely hard to go through this alone, but I knew I had to stay strong. They removed 1/2 of tongue along with my lymph nodes on my left side. I was determined to get home to heal so I had the nurses FaceTime my husband to teach him how to feed me through the feeding tube. In one week, I wowed the Doctors and nurses and proved I was ready to go home. I couldn’t talk still, but I just wanted to be home with my boys.

A month after surgery, I started to talk again. Learning to talk all over was frustrating. I will never take the little things for granted ever again. I was off the feeding tube, but I could not move my tongue to manipulate food so it was a liquid diet still. The cancer had infiltrated my nerves so I would begin radiation in May for a duration of 6 weeks. I thought I had made it over the hard part…boy was I wrong. I’d rather go through surgery a 100 times than have to do head & neck radiation again.

For 6 weeks, I went every day to radiation. I would wear my morbid mask and mouth pieces, climb on the cold table and let the techs strap me in to be zapped. I got side effects early. Mouth sores, loss of taste, severe burns. You name it… I had it. I stayed in bed all day and I prayed that I could make it through to the end of this treatment. Finally I made it to June 30th, 2020. I got to ring the bell! Finally this type of torture was done and I could move on to the next. I am recovering while doing speech therapy to work on my tendons in my throat. Radiation has made them quite tight. This fight was not one I was ready to lace up for, but I showed up every day to battle, not for myself, but for my family. I continue to do everything I can to allow myself to have more time on this earth with them.

ABOUT Jamie

Diagnosis

  • Tongue Cancer

Primary Treatment

  • Radiation Therapy

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