Stage IV nasopharyngeal cancer survivor: I’m almost completely back to normal

Looking at me now, people would never suspect I’d ever had anything serious wrong with me. I walk five miles every day and take the stairs up to my third-floor apartment with ease. But in April 2018, I was so weak I could barely get out of bed. And I couldn’t take more than a few steps without sitting down to rest. At the time, I was undergoing nine weeks of very strong chemotherapy for stage IV nasopharyngeal carcinoma, a rare type of head and neck cancer and skull base tumor. I still had 33 doses of radiation therapy and more chemotherapy to go. When I’d been diagnosed a few months earlier, the tumor in my skull base was so large I could barely hear out of my left ear. My left eye had turned completely inward. My recovery since then has been nothing short of remarkable. My vision and hearing are both back to normal. I’m about 95% back to where I was, in terms of strength and weight. My scans have shown no evidence of disease since August 2018. And I owe this incredible recovery to Dr. Shirley Su, a head and neck surgeon and skull base specialist, and her team at MD Anderson. My nasopharyngeal cancer symptoms I first started showing skull base tumor symptoms in late 2017. My left ear felt clogged when I got back from a business trip. But that can happen sometimes on long flights, so I thought nothing of it. After a few weeks, the blockage still hadn’t cleared up. Over the course of the next month, I went to a...