Deciding to start a team for this Virtual walk was an easy decision for me. My husband suffered stage 4 piriform sinus cancer in 2018 and I know first hand all of the effects it causes and what we go thru when a loved one is diagnosed with a H&N cancer.
Being caretakers of a loved one with a Head & Neck Cancer (Oral Cancer), we on this team have all seen first hand how devastating this cancer is not only to the patients but to the families and loved ones.
It is well documented oral cancer treatment is one of; if not the worst cancer treatments our loved ones will suffer. This cancer effects every aspect of our being. It effects the face and its features, your throat and ability to swallow and that includes eating and drinking. Feeding tubes can be vital to survival. It effects the neck and it’s muscles, the head, including the brain, your memory, hair loss (being the easiest side effect), your hearing, your teeth and so much more. We all take these simple functions for granted.
It’s so very difficult to watch our loved ones suffer so much and be so helpless.
I’m in no way minimizing any other cancers or their treatments. Cancer of any type is horrific.
Sadly, there is very little said and talked about when it comes to Oral Cancer and it’s my thoughts that it’s because of the stigma attached to HPV. All Oral Cancer patients do not have HPV. My husband did not. This stigma should not cause shame. HPV Cancer has a much better success on survival. Millions of people suffer HPV unknowingly and a lot of those persons will clear the virus but sadly, a lot will not. This can and does lead to Oral Cancer.
I praise God daily, after the cancer treatment my husband suffered, he now has over two years with no evidence of disease. Although there is plenty evidence of his side effects. With the grace of God he will continue to improve. God is so gracious and merciful.
Looking within the hospital and for local support groups, I found there are not any in my area. Most caretakers I know found themselves in the same situation. Thankfully, looking for a support group on Facebook I found “Head and Neck Cancer Carers Support group” set up and run by Janet Sackman. If you know a caretaker of this cancer you can find Janets group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/641948462629509/?ref=share
Along with God, this group of caretakers has been my only and the best support system I could ever ask for. They have helped me thru from beginning to end. We are all bonded together and have formed great loving relationships for each other and our patients. I seriously do not think I could have survived this treatment without this group!
In close, Oral Cancer can be cured in many cases and the first line of defense is knowledge, regular dental and oral check ups & HPV vaccines especially with our youth. This is what Oral Cancer Foundation can do for our future. Help me Walk or run this walk to help prevent and/or help others in the future.
God Bless you all and Thank you for all the Live and support ❤️❤️❤️