My salivary cancer diagnosis gave me a new appreciation for life

When I had an earache for a couple of weeks in August 2007 and couldn’t sleep on my right side for very long, I went to my primary care doctor. She told me I had an ear infection. I was given antibiotics and sent home. After a few weeks, I noticed a knot in my cheek, and it got even harder to sleep. I thought something else was wrong. My salivary cancer diagnosis I was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a type of salivary cancer on Oct. 10, 2007. I was emotional about my diagnosis, but I knew that I needed a plan to move forward. I received my diagnosis at another hospital, but I felt like I needed to go elsewhere for treatment. I wanted to feel confident in my care and know that my doctors cared about me as a person. My husband asked me, “Why aren’t we getting you treated at MD Anderson?” As an MD Anderson employee, he knew I’d receive attentive and specialized care. MD Anderson, he said, would give me the best chance to survive. My salivary cancer treatment at MD Anderson I first met with my MD Anderson care team on Oct. 29. On Dec. 6, I underwent a tracheostomy and mouth reconstruction to remove my tumors and rebuild the floor of my mouth. Before my surgery, I was a nervous wreck. I really appreciated physician assistant Rolando De Luna for how calm he kept me. He talked to me for 45 minutes the night before to help me get into the right mindset. After I had three tumors removed, my plastic...