I was at the VA Outpatient just yesterday, having an hour long session - continuing the process of having dentures made. The session was the most painful one, as the dentist kept fitting the mock ups over and over again, and really jacking my jaw in the process...however, that wasn't the problem.
about halfway through the session. She suddenly stopped, took the parts out of my mouth, pulled down the big over head light (like in a surgery room) and brought over a mirror. She showed me a very suspicious area on the top of my tongue, way back where one wouldn't normally ever be looking at or even seeing. She was totally alarmed.
For a reference, she has over 30 years experience and is very thorough. She said she's 95% sure, that it is tongue cancer. She showed me the area, and described the color, etc., and the fact that there was no pain with her poking all around the area.
She got up and left me in the chair, and immediately got the dental radiation expert in Columbia on the phone. She said he was deeply concerned, and he's stopping what he is doing, and they setup an immediate appointment this coming Monday in Greenville, so that I don't have to make the long trip to Columbia. Told he that he's not surprised, as he expecting me to have continued cancer issues due to the sheer amount of radiation damage. Now to remember, this would be related in this case to the neck/throat radiation I had in year 2000, not the prostate radiation damage done in 2009.
After looking at it, and she said she has seen tongue cancers many times in her years, that he would order a biopsy which would have to be done in Columbia unfortunately. Said the only option would be surgery, and it would be normally followed by radiation, which of course, for me is off the table. The only follow-up option for me would be chemo, I hate the thought of both surgery in that area.
As if I didn't have enough going on. Still waiting to determine what the lump in my left cheek is all about, I would estimate that its now 8x larger than it was at the first of the year, I do have an appointment in mid-June to deal with that, biopsy is expected.
So I am finally getting closer to having teeth again, been 6 1/2 months now with no teeth, and now this comes up, meanwhile, still losing the weight battle, overall average currently is about 1/2 pound per day, regardless of what I eat or don't eat. I cant even gain 1/10th of a pound. It either stays the same for a day or so, or drops again. This tounge issue, if it proves to be bad, is only going to worsen the situation.
Told my wife last night, after an afternoon of deep depression, am I ever going to get a break from any of this? This is no quality of life to deal with all the constant pain, severe fatigue, and the never ending specter of having cancers hanging over my head. And oh yeah, I still have active prostate cancer having fun on its own.
Will update again after Monday's visit with the expert. He really knows this stuff, glad he reacted so fast to the dentist's discovery.