Rewind to 2019
This is a quick meander through the recent past and up to the present day. Please bear with me...
A quick rewind.
June July 2019? I can't remember..... It started with a kiss......no, it started with something trying to drive a knitting needle through my Adam's apple. Or so it felt. A deep pain that would come and go, sometimes intense, sometimes not so bad. Sometimes in my throat, sometimes in my left ear.
Linda suggested gargling with Hydrogen Peroxide in case it was some type of infection. Gargle I did. I remember that in early September we were in the UK for Nikki's wedding and I had to go and buy extra supplies, so this thing must have been bothering me at that time.
Wind the tape slowly on to November and things were getting worse. I was getting worried but there was no blood in my saliva, no sudden weight loss so I was not thinking cancer but assumed it was something else.
Real men don't do doctors do they! Real men tough it out and anyway, seeing a doctor costs money and often achieves nothing much except a credit card charge.
The doc examined me and peered down my throat. Hmmm... a lump....with a little contortion, he aligned a mirror so I could see and sure enough...a lump at the back of my throat on the left side of my uvula.
,His concern was sufficient that he ordered a CT Scan, which I had done the same day.
Now I was really worried!
I spent the next few days going through the kind of mental anguish that comes when these few days feel like my last few days and it was with huge relief on my follow-up visit that the CT Scan showed no masses, tumors or anything else that might be of concern. The CT Scan had taken in my head, neck and upper lung area so I felt fairly convinced there was no cancer.
We, the doc and I, decided to treat this as an infection and so I was sent off to get Augmentin.
At about this time I got flu. I got sick, I got nasty post nasal drip and it felt like something was permanently stuck in my throat.
Still worried about my throat I was humming and hawing about what to do next. I knew I should go and see an ENT specialist but they cost lots of $s! I'd seen an eye specialist in October as I was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration, and that little episode cost me about $600...
I went to see Dr Ulhaq at Beach Midway Medical Clinic (I do their website), because he knows his stuff and I trust him. We decided on another round of Augmentin and a raft of blood tests.
(I know this is taking time but I am getting to the nub of the matter!)
Last few days of 2019, blood tests reviewed and yet more Augmentin. The nurse practitioner said that I really needed to go see an ENT specialist but I still wasn't having that.
I had mentioned to a friend, Shari Etienne that I was having throat issues and she recommended a friend of her's a Dr Vicki Nowak who she assured me would do me a deal as I was self pay.
Welcome to 2020!
January 7th. Extremely worried. I called Dr Nowak's office and she, despite a full diary, got me in to see her the next day.
The first thing she did was to access the Bay Medical portal and check out my CT Scan. It didn't take her long to find the lump in my throat. This lump had not been found by the person who originally read the scan.
There was then a quandary as to whether this was an abscess or something else. She tried to drain it, but it wouldn't drain - perhaps it had gone hard as sometimes they do?
Not sure quite what she was dealing, with she performed a biopsy and promised to call me with the results.
Monday 13th January - message left on cell phone - call Dr Nowak.....
"I'm afraid it is cancer" she said, your lump has squamous cell carcinoma. She arranged for me to see a Neck and cancer specialist (Dr Beggs) which I did on Wednesday 15th January.
The original CT Scan was not sufficiently detailed in the area of the lump to be able to decide on a course of treatment so a PET scan has been ordered and that is where I sit on, on a weekend, not having heard from the PET scan lab and getting increasingly anxious/worried/freaked about what is gong to happen next.
All I do know is that treatment options are surgery and or chemo and or radiation or a combination of some or all.
And, of course, I have no insurance......