4th year and one week :)

Dear fellow warriors. Yesterday, June 11th was my 53rd birthday. It's been 4 years and one week, since my final IMRTradiation session. Some 30 radiation treatments over 6 and half weeks. Positive posts are difficult for me to make on Blog for a Cure, as I have been blessed with 4 years of borrowed time, while at the same time so many are others in the fog of the war in the hopes of beating back the dreaded Cancer. In many ways it's so surreal for me to think that 4 years have gone by. Meanwhile during that time so many friends like Elana Rose on this blog who had the same cancer have had recurrences and are continuing to battle for their lives Many other friends lost the battle yet gained and displayed an incredibly calm serenity and acceptance of the reality that God was ready to call them home and bring them peace. I'm not here to gloat in any way. Not a day or hour goes by when i don't know that I live with the knowledge that i had/have cancer. The tightness of my ear to neck scar from my radical neck dissection and a few other lingering side effects like limited saliva ensure that I never forget and keeps me grateful. My yellow Livestrong bracelet never comes off. When does one declare they are a cancer survivor? :) The person i was 4 and half years ago would not even recognize who I am today. I am in deed reborn into a stronger, fearless individual, who is unapologetic in my convictions and values. Death and pain no longer intimidate or scare me. We are all mortals, and I know and fully accept and understand that one day, my time too, will come as well. Before cancer I was focused on my career. Today career is at the bottom of my priorities . Today, Enjoying Life and spending my precious limited time on earth with my family and friends top my priorities. This August is my 4 year PETscan. I can already hear the little drum roll starting again in my head as this latest judgement day nears. The Marines who I admire have a few sayings. Three in particular resonate with me. Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful) Semper Vigilante (Always Vigilant) Once a Marine, always a Marine. Once you're a Cancer Fighter, you Always are a Cancer fighter. It never leaves you. It embodies you. God bless and love to all, Jacques Semper Fidelis Semper Vigiilante Nemo Me Impune Lacessite (No one treads on me with Impunity)
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Congratulations, Jacques! You are a true survivor and a great supporter of many on this forum. I wish you many, many more happy anniversaries and hope that you will keep checking in here periodically to let us know all is well. Take care, friend! Hugs, Martha
Happy Birthday!! Congradulations to both!!
I love this post. Happy Birthday and many many more to you!!!
Happy Birthday and thanks for your post. Positive posts are great. It is inspiring to see success..and changed attitudes. I love "Nemo Me Impune Lacessite". I go for it. I take more risks...to enjoy life. Go on nature trips with strangers, etc. I'm goign on vacation alone, too. I just go. I had my five year anniversay May 17th. Great to get good news...Happy for you... HUGS!
 Wow, I had my five year anniversary with breast cancer, May 30th!!! Just saying it makes me feel that I accomplished something big. lol
 That is awesome Linda, passing the 'elusive 5 year mark'!!!! Carpe Diem!!! Make sure you vet your 'strangers' before going on hikes with them as you never know! LOL Hugs and Congratulations! Jacques
Happy Birthday, Jacques! Thanks for checking in! Prayers of thanks going up for you! Scottie
Nice read J, as you know (if you remember me, LOL), I am about one year behind you in Tx, and afew years ahead of you in life. STGIII SCC Tonsils HPV+, also sixteen weeks of four different types of chemo, seven of which were concurrent with the 35 daily rads sessions and daily Amifostine injections in the tummy. I am coming up on my third year post Tx PET very soon. Being a prior Marine, I can definitely relate... This club we belong is not unlike the bond of the Marine Corps... If you haven't gone through it, it's something hard to relate...if you have, you totally understand. My best to you and yours, hoping we share many more years of celebration... Best, John
 Semper Fi and thanks for your service to our nation! You are the only other person I know who went through the Amaphostine route and one of the few like myself who opted out of the PEG tube. It made the treatment boot camp tougher but it paid off in the end. By not having the PEG i was forced to swallow despite the pain and never lost the swallowing reflex. As for the Amaphostine, it was miserable and was only able to tolerate about 15 of the 30 injections, but I am darn glad I had it. It was supposed to spare my salivary glands from total annihilation and I think it must have definitely been a factor in helping me retain some salivary glands. Over the course of the last four years there have been microscopic improvements which over time, actually amounted to something pretty good. The front of my mouth is back at about 75%, and the back of the throat is maybe at 15% output. But I've learned to deal and work around it with water bottles and lots of greasy foods, butter,olive oil and anything short of axle grease that will help the food go down the shoot! Your training as a Marine undoubtably gave you the psych edge on handling your Cancer. God bless you and thanks again for your kind words! Jacques Nemo Me Impune Lacessit
I feel that the Amifostine helped also... Actually my Chemo MD was the one that prescribed it, mainly to help minimalize the thick ropey phlegm that many get. It must have worked because I never had that at all. As for saliva, sorry that you haven't made better progress. I have about 95% saliva back, only a little dry at night sleeping. Taste I believe is back 100%, or so close I can't tell any difference. Nothing bad as for long term side effects, not on any meds other than Protonix for acid reflux. Though like you, not a day goes by that I'm not aware that I have had cancer and what I went through. Always a little paranoid when a new ache or pain pops up and last more than a few days. You are the first person that I connected to and gave me inspiration... I mainly hang out on the Cancer Survivor Network site, glad to help others as you have helped and inspired me. Best, John
Thanks John! It continues to amaze me that some of the things we write actually end up giving people some hope or answers. Turning back the clock to when i just learned I had cancer, I was grasping at anything and everything to try and make sense of it all. It's a highly emotional time when we are all looking for guidance and magic answers. I'm humbled and glad learn that I was helpful to you in some way. As the saying goes, John, it's your turn to "Pay if forward" :)
Congratulations, Jacques! As a former Marine, Semper FI. You have been a great supporter of many. Although I don't post as much as I once did, I do read your Blog and posts as I keep up with all the Tonsil cancer warriors. When you reach the 5 year mark you'll get to sit back and relax, perhaps get a little bored not having any cancer related appointments. LOL Ron
Congratulations and I hope you had a Happy Birthday! :)
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Vital Info


March 23, 2008

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Hampton Bays, New York 11946

June 11, 1959

Cancer Info

Throat Cancer

Metastatic Squamous Cell Carcinoma with Occult Primary.

February 8, 2008

5.1 - 6.0 cm


Lymph nodes on neck.

Stony Brook University Hospital. Department of Radiology

You never know how strong you are, until strong is the only choice you have left.

June 4, 2008

Swollen lymph node on the right side of my neck. Post surgery, official classification TX, N2b, M0


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