Celebrating life after oral cancer treatment

In June 2015, I was visiting my parents when I came down with a sore throat and found a flesh-colored lump on the right side of my tongue. I cut my trip short to get home to a dentist. He said it was just an inflamed taste bud. While I didn’t necessarily think that was the case, I trusted that my lump wasn’t a major concern. But around December, I began having horrible shooting pains across the right side of my face. The pain often brought me to the brink of tears. My adenoid cystic carcinoma diagnosis In late February, after my family and I had moved, I had a fine-needle biopsy. I was told right then that I had stage II adenoid cystic carcinoma, a type of oral cancer. I have never smoked, I was an occasional wine drinker and I was 27 years old. I was devastated. I was a wife, new mom and NICU nurse, and I wanted nothing more than to just live. That same month, I underwent a hemiglossectomy – a partial removal of the tongue to get rid of the cancer. Coming to MD Anderson for oral cancer treatment After surgery, my doctors couldn’t agree on whether I should receive radiation. This made me very uncertain. So, I researched cancer centers with experience treating my rare disease. MD Anderson popped up in every search. It offered proton therapy, a type of radiation that uses proton beams to deliver radiation right to the tumor and has fewer side effects. I set up an appointment. My experience at MD Anderson was nothing short of amazing....