Well, here we are, 13 months post-near-total glossectomy. (It’s been 9 months since the completion of radiation/chemotherapy treatments)

Everything Looks Great

Dr. Monroe, the ENT doctor that removed Tony’s cancerous tongue, continues to be pleased with Tony’s progress. From a head and neck cancer perspective, everything looks great. (Recurrences usually happen within the first two years. So far, so good.)

Tony is still experiencing difficulty with exposed bone near the tooth line. He sometimes wakes up with blood clots in front of the tongue flap which the doctor says is not unusual. Tony found another small pocket of infection along the gum line between the teeth and flap about three weeks ago and was able to get it cleaned out and healing on his own.

Dr. Monroe calls radiation “the gift that keeps on giving.” (Not much of a gift if you ask me.) There is more radiation necrosis becoming evident inside Tony’s mouth. On his left side, the tissue has become taught, making it difficult for Tony to open his mouth wide. He is going to need to step up his mouth and neck exercises to keep things supple.

Future Appointments

Our next appointment with Dr. Monroe is in three months and will include a CT scan.

A month from now we will make another trip to see a doctor in the oncology department. (Because Tony is a three-time cancer champion, it’s important that we keep him in the VA system to make sure something doesn’t get overlooked.) Also on that day, Tony will see a dentist and have the crown put on that he was fitted for, but wasn’t ready before surgery.

Only One Without a Tongue

As we were eating our lunch at Pace’s Dairy Ann, Tony looked around and said, “I’m the only one in the restaurant without a tongue.”

I replied, “Honey, you’re the only one in 50 square miles.”

Debra Scoresby Palmer