Kevin's Dead Cat

After surgery sliced off an entire tumor and 1/3 of my tongue, plus six weeks of radiation therapy, I've been re-learning how to eat, drink, and talk with my newly re-constructed tongue and coping with side effects. But the cancer came back and I don't know what's going to happen next.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

I don't want life to imitate art. I want life to be art.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

I really should avoid the cold, hard facts

I stumbled on a news story on MSNBC on oral cancer today. The statistics in the news story and on Yahoo's Health section still wierd me out:

- About 30,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year, and more than 8,000 people will die from it.
- The death rate—about 50 percent over five years—hasn't changed much in the past few decades, in part because the cancer often isn't detected until it's visible to the naked eye.
- New data shows more Americans under 40—including many who are not regular drinkers or smokers—are developing the disease.

When I dwell too long on the fact that the tumor was diagnosed after a routine teeth cleaning appointment, I physically feel like I'm floating backward into a tunnel that gets narrower and narrower, and I have to snap myself out of it.

The Japanese market near my place sells fresh watercress, which is good for getting rid of carcinogens in the mouth. I've been eating plenty of it the past two weeks, along with flax seed oil, and sources of vitamin A, like I'm told I should. I'm exercising at least four days a week, and making sure I get enough sleep and avoiding stressful situations (my divorcing friends being the exception).

Despite the occasional coughing fit, I feel the healthiest I've ever been. I'm constantly being told that I look great. But it feels like I'm hearing it from the end of a very long, dark tunnel.

I don't know how I would feel if the cancer did come back despite everything I'm doing to stay healthy. We all want to believe that we're the exception to the rule. But sometimes, we're not.


Blogger Unknown said...

hi clowny, i would shower you with watercress to heal you've progressed very far on your road to recovery. let's see, watercress soup with miso and silken tofu, pureed watercress soup with ginger.. when you can chew better, watercress salad, sandwiches, guisado w/ bagoong..take care!

December 27, 2004 3:46 PM  
Blogger clowny said...

My chewing is pretty good these days. It's the swallowing I'm having some problems with now. But it's getting better each week.

I've already tried watercress in my tofu & miso soups, but mostly I have it in salads and sandwiches (now that I can eat them). Saw the Sauteed Watercress recipe on your blog. I will definitely try it!

Thank you, drstel.

December 27, 2004 9:33 PM  
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