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Laryngeal Cancer
7 Posts

Laryngectomy Surgery & Beyond

My Journey Pre & Post

Let me introduce myself,

My name is Curtis (#Larys) and I am a resident of British Columbia, unknown to me my Laryngectomee Journey started way back in 2006. Today I am a full-fledged Laryngectomee (known as a “Lary” in the Laryngectomee Community). The journey of a Lary is never-ending with new challenges confronting all Larys from time to time. As a tight-knit community, we exchange our personal experiences and provide each other with tips to help with our day-to-day lives.

I want to share my journey with you and it is a journey that no one makes reservations for or looks forward to. It is all spontaneous and completely is a less than desirable journey.

At no time during my journey will I provide any MEDICAL advice to anyone. My objective is to tell my story and experiences as a Lary. To answer your questions by relating to my experiences that is hopefully helpful to you as a Lary.

There is a lot of media out there that profess to provide information that is medical advice and may or may not be the correct advice, for you, whether it is correct or not. Therefore I urge you to be cautious, before you initiate any of these procedures or remedies, check with your Doctor, ENT, and SLP, first.

Now on with my journey;

It was early February in 2006 and I had noticed that my voice over the past several weeks was sounding a little raspy and at times I would experience a horseless in my voice. This caused me to strain when talking and at times would cause me to cough.

So I did the intelligent thing and visited my doctor who looked down my throat and was unable to see much of anything. He referred me to a qualified ETN who had been in practice for a good number of years and was well regarded in the area.

The appointment was made and that was back in the time when you could see a doctor in a relatively short period of time. The appointment was made and I was to see him within a week.

I kept my appointment with the ENT and showed up at his office on the appointed date. The initial introduction was a pleasant one and I felt comfortable with the doctor, which is important. He reviewed the referral notes and proceeded to ask me questions regarding my throat/voice issues. His examination was a Larynscopy and he appeared to be through because it felt like it was forever. After the examination, he advised that he observed a white film over a portion of my larynx, which he did not feel, at that time was much to worry about, and that the irritation would subside and eventually go away. He did however want a follow-up in three months.

Three months after I returned, he examined my throat and Larynx again. The results were the same and everything was stable with no change. I wasn’t experiencing any irritation or pain and was talking fine, since my last visit. However, he did want to see me again in 3 months.

In 3 months I returned the same procedure with the same results. He did mention that he could remove the white film which he diagnosed as Lukoplatia but that it would return.

He mentioned that it was stable and assured me that it was not CANCER. So I discussed the possibility of a minor operation because he had stated that even if it was removed it would return to the present state. So I felt that leaving well enough alone and that I was in no danger was a reasonable option on my part and he did agree. However, we set up regular annual follow-up visits just as a precautionary measure.

Every year for almost 10 years I had my regular follow-up visits, and every visit the outcome was exactly the same. Until July 2016 there was a change. He immediately referred me to an ENT doctor/surgeon and specialist located in Vancouver BC Canada.

The ENT was a man of very few words and all business. There was very little chatter and pleasantries passed at the time of the visit. He went over the referral notes with me, performed a Larynscopy and when done explained that what was on my vocal cord was not supposed to be there and was to be removed. I agreed to the surgery which was performed within 30 days at the University of BC Hospital and the biopsy results were that it was cancer.

All of the fears, anxiety and stresses returned from my previous cancer diagnosis. I was a mess until I settled myself down and started to think rationally and on a positive note.

The usual medical protocol was followed, with 35 curative radiation treatments prescribed, that the doctor advised were designed to cure cancer which had a 65% success ratio, and that I was a good candidate for the radiation treatments and should anticipate a good outcome.

Well, that did not happen because in Dec 2018 I had the pleasure of a total Laryngectomy Surgery. Here I am today still above grass adjusting to the life of a Laryngectomee and coping with all of the ups and downs of a Lary’s life.

The 64 thousand Dollar question is should I have had the original ENT doctor remove that white film off my vocal cord back in 2006. Would they have found that the possibility of cancer did exist? When I look back on it all now maybe the wrong decision WAS made but with the information provided at that time and that moment what other conclusion could a person have made or want to have made. I will never know now but I assume that just maybe I would have dodged that Laryngectomy Bullet.

Maybe not!

However, there is one thing I am grateful for in all of this is that just maybe those annual follow-up visits assisted with an early diagnosis and did in fact save my life.

I am here to help whoever I can no matter what stage of Laryngeal Cancer you are currently at. So please feel free to contact me with your concerns about Laryngeal Cancer.


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