I disappeared in October, 2018. Here’s why:
In August, 2017 I was diagnosed with eosinophilia (too many of a certain type of white blood cell). My doctors were at a loss for what was causing it, so after almost a year of tests I was referred to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Long story short, we made 6 trips in 11 weeks and they still don’t know the cause. All we know is that the eosinophilia is getting worse and it is attacking my nervous system. This non-stop eosinophilic attack has left me with progressing, wide-spread neuropathy.
Towards the end of the whirlwind diagnostic process, the doctors at Mayo found cancer in the deep lobe of my left parotid salivary gland, not related to my eosinophilia. During surgery on December 13th, 2018, it was discovered that the cancer was completely wrapped around my facial nerve and the nerve tested positive for cancer. My surgeons had no choice but to remove the cancerous nerve section and perform a nerve graft that has resulted in the left side of my face being paralyzed. I also had a total left parotidectomy and modified neck dissection. We received the official diagnosis shortly after surgery – high-grade mucoepidermoid carcinoma, a highly aggressive salivary gland cancer that likes to grow along nerves.
While I am lucky I avoided chemotherapy, I had no choice but to start 6 weeks of radiation therapy in January because the cancer is very aggressive, plus I had an additional cranial nerve that looked suspicious on one of my MRIs. After researching my options, I made the choice to do proton beam therapy at Mayo, which is 10 hours from where I live. It has been an extremely brutal winter, but I finished treatment on March 1st and I’m now back home and recovering.
I’ve missed blogging and I have a lot to catch up on. Needless to say, I am happy to be finished with radiation therapy and I hope this is the last time I have to deal with cancer (my fist cancer was metastatic papillary thyroid carcinoma in 2005).