It's been 10 years since I was diagnosed with Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma... cancer. I started this blog to share the many emotions, fears, experiences and, hopefully, triumphs that I will face throughout this journey. I have two goals for this blog, 1. To gain some degree of personal therapeutic benefit and, 2. To help others who may one day face a similar struggle by detailing the process of diagnosis, treatment and recovery so that they may know what to expect.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Still Kickin

September 2, 2009 - So thanks to the encouragement (cojoling, really) of a number of readers, I am posting to hereby declare that I am, in fact, still alive and well.  Its really hard for me to believe that its been a full year since I posted last but I guess I can understand the concern on the part of some about such a protracted absence after the nature of my last post. 

This past year has been uneventful, at least in terms of my health.  Just to put a postscript on my last post, I never did get that follow up PET scan.  I have seen all of my doctors at least once since then and all assure me that if there were something to be concerned with, we would see it by now.  They have all stated that PET scans can be very problematic when it comes to post treatment monitoring because after a certain period of time, anything that shows up on one is much more likely to be a false positive than an indication of cancer.  But even false positives come with the same fear and anxiety as an initial diagnosis so at this point, the recommended follow up is a periodic chest x-ray and an appointment with one of my doctors every three months for a physical exam. 

Other than that, I still feel fine and things are still completely back to normal.  The only lingering effect from my treatment is still a bit of dry mouth but it is easily managed.  Its really difficult for me to imagine that three years ago at this time I was knee deep in the misery of radiation treatment. 

I am encouraged to know that for this type of cancer, 3 years post treatment is generally viewed as the 'all clear' milestone.  Technically it's 5 years but statistically speaking, I should be ready to celebrate in about a month from now.  I think I will probably bite the bullet and have that last PET scan at the three year mark just to make sure but at this point, I'm expecting the best. 

Just to prove life does return to normal, here are a couple of pics from this year's ski vacation -