October 13, 2016

Sometimes #Cancer Keeps Giving @vickibatman #pinktober

Vicki Batman is helping Romance Lives Forever Blog celebrate Cancer Awareness Week 2016.

  • 150 stitches and staples
  • Right fibula, tissue and vessels removed and transplanted to jaw
  • Skin graft from right thigh to calf
  • Left chest muscle removed and grafted to jaw
  • One titanium plate
  • Five drains
  • Trach tube
  • Nasal feeding tube
  • Three oral surgeries
  • 58 hyperbaric oxygen chamber treatments
No one knows how Handsome got cancer. He had an occasional cigar. Worked out. Ate great. Lots of stress. Yet ten years ago, he was diagnosed with throat cancer. The doctors discovered it had spread from base of tongue to lymph nodes in his neck. He had chemo and was nuked--literally.
What we didn't know at the beginning of this year was the radiation caused bone decay in his left jaw because of poor circulation. Dentists couldn't diagnose the shadow on the x-ray until we met an oral surgeon who instantly recognized the problem and recommended hyperbaric oxygen chamber treatments. It was just like what you think-Handsome was put in a tube and dived for three hours every day. The tissue improved, but not the bone.
The oral surgeon removed two back teeth. But ultimately the jawbone crumbled in a thin spot. Surgery became the only recourse and would take ten hours. His fibula, surrounding tissue and vessels were transplanted to the jaw. A graft from his thigh would replace this area. The doc was optimistic; however, the transplant didn't work as the blood supply failed-the culprit: radiation. So back to surgery the next day and a chest muscle replaced the rejected bone.
Out of surgery, he had five drains, a cut from ear to ear. He couldn't eat because of infection to his mouth; so he had a feeding tube through his nose. A tracheotomy because of the swelling. He stayed in the hospital for eight days.
Being a strong guy going in, he started to walk, sat up, learned how to talk with the trach which was removed when he was discharged. For twenty hours a day, he was tethered to a feeding system until the tube developed a kink two days before scheduled removal and was extracted in the emergency room at the hospital.
Since, he has had a swallowing test and therapy to improve his swallowing. He lost thirty pounds and through a high calorie diet, has regained fifteen. There's a slight limp in his right leg. And a wicked scar on his chest.
I won't lie to you--this has not been easy.
After surgery, I said to my sons how I didn't want Handsome to undergo anything like this again. But we don't know what life will bring. Seventy percent of all cancers are random mutations. My hope for you is to take care of your body. Don't smoke. Eat well. Lessen your stress. And exercise.

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Can Hattie discover why Allan dumped her and who is murdering auditors before death strikes again?

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46 comments:

  1. An amazing story, Vicki! Thank you for sharing it.

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    1. Thank you for asking me to share, Kayelle. He's mending now. It's a long slow journey.

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  2. Oh Vicki, I can't imagine what you've been through. It's hard on Handsome, but in many ways just as hard on his family. Love and hugs, my friend.

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  3. Hi, Jacquie! This surgery has been a toughie. I think we've only had one, er, two, ya, two arguments this time. LOL. We're managing nicely and every day is a joy.

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  4. Thanks for sharing Handsome's story. So glad he's on the uphill again. Sending prayers.

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    1. Hi, Veronica! I share so others of us will really know what happens. I see people smoking and chewing and feel so badly because most likely, they will have cancer one day.

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  5. Handsome is so lucky to have you at his side - not an easy journey but all the better with you there.

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    1. Hi, Chris! Well, I'm lucky to have him!

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  6. Vicki, I'm so sorry you all have had to go through this. Thanks for sharing the story and hopefully it'll help someone else down the road. *hugs*

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  7. Hi, Kristen! That's what I said when I asked him if we could share his story. Hugs back at you.

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  8. What a story, Vicki. Sending hugs for what you and Handsome have gone through and prayers that he won't have to do anything like that again.

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    1. Hi, Liz! I don't want anyone to have to have throat cancer and radiation and treatment like this. It's terribly scary.

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  9. Vicki! My heart goes out to you both. I hope he keeps gaining weight and gets past this horrible disease.

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    1. Hi, Jerrie! He's doing amazingly well. The good news about head/throat cancers is very little radiation is done the way his was. It is pinpointed and that is a good thing. But many can prevent cancer just by not doing things like smoking and chewing.

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  10. I so remember the earlier days of this and said prayers then and now. I am so sorry that Handsome and you had to endure this disease. I can attest to how much the cancer treatments can create havoc on the rest of one's body.

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    1. Yes, you can, Phyllis. And you are a walking miracle. For that, we are grateful!

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  11. My aunt recently had the same thing. She'd had chemo and radiation from breast cancer and then developed the same oral problem. So much of what you describe also happened to her. I'm so sorry that your husband had to go through this and will keep sending prayers that he's over the hump and is on to complete healing.

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    1. Hi, Melissa! I'm so sorry to hear this about your aunt. I hope she is doing better. Cancer is the pits. It really is. There's been so many great strides in curing and helping others.

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  12. Hello Vicki,

    Thank you for sharing your story! Keep your head up and know that there you have support whenever you need it.

    Dee Owens,
    Personalized Marketing Inc

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    1. Hellow, Dee! So nice to see you today. We are lucky to have so many friends and family who checked in with us. It's like everyone says, once you leave the hospital, you see improvement. And he has. My wish is you have no one suffer. Hugs!

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  13. Amazing story, Vicki. I knew you'd been through a lot, but didn't realize just how very much. Cancer is a mean disease and has taken many of my friends and family. Here for you, my friend. XOXO

    Great book too for anyone who hasn't read it!

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    1. Hi, Pam! Ya, for a while, I just sent general stuff out; so no, you didn't know all. Mean is a good word. Thank you for being there.

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  14. Wowsers! Cancer is such a vicious beast. I hate it!
    It cost me my husband, among so many others....thank you for letting the world know....

    Kathleen Bylsma

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    1. Hi, Kathleen! I'm so sorry to hear about your husband. Years ago, I lost a beautiful friend. I'm always reminded of her passing when I see the monarchs migrate as we shared a special moment one day. Sending you hugs too.

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  15. It's gratifying to see so many leaving comments of encouragement. This is exactly what I hoped this week would do. Thank you for being here, each and every one of you.

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  16. I agree, Kayelle. We will never know how Handsome got his cancer. He had the occasional cigar. A nice cocktail on occasion. Exercised like a demon. Worked harder than hard. I wish we had known about the bone loss before it took the turn it did, but wishes are wishes. The outcome could have been the same no matter. Thank you for asking me to be here today. ox

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  17. Wow, Vicki. Cancer sucks. So sorry you and your family have had to endure this. Hope it gets better every day. I didn't know about the issue with jaw/teeth until just this week. One of my brothers was diagnosed with throat cancer, and he just had to have several teeth pulled. Some things you kind of wish you didn't have to learn, but education is critical, so thanks for sharing your story. Best to you and Handsome!

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    1. Hi, Darlene! We kept quiet for a while. I hope the doctor took a good x ray of your brother's jaw and entire mouth and studied for the bone necrosis. And if he needs info, please send him my way. Hugs, friend!

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  18. Vicki, My heart goes out to you and Handsome. He's been through so much, and so have you. I lost both my parents to lung cancer many years ago. It's so good of you to raise consciousness and remind us all to be mindful of our health. Sending you both cyber hugs!

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    1. Hi, Gemma! and hugs to you. I'm so sorry to hear about your parents. I remember being in the back seat of the carpool with the driver puffing away when I was little. You have to wonder how second hand smoke will affect us. Hugs!

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  19. Amazing story. Thank you for sharing. Prayers to you and Handsome.

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  20. Thank you, Angela! You've always asked and cared and for that, I'm grateful.

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  21. It sure is a rough road, Vicki. Handsome was fortunate he could be helped. My husband only lived seven weeks from a lung cancer diagnosis.Just a few days ago, my daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer, the type that is totally contained in the milk duct. They said it could be completely removed with surgery. She sees a surgeon on the 27th of this month for options.

    It is terrible to go through so much. Lots of hugs and prayers to both of you.

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    1. Hi, Leona! We were very lucky the cancer was found ten years ago. His lymph node was swollen and the doctor removed it. The biopsy showed cancer and she went looking and found at the base of tongue. A horrid thing, but he lived. And then this happened. I hope the best for your daughter. So much good has been done with breast cancer now. Hugs, Leona!!

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  22. Wow! Definitely the road less traveled, and you both found your way through the challenges! Kudos, and I'm with you, I hope he never has to go through anything like that again. May your road be smooth forevermore!

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    1. Hi, sweetie! I hope for smooth sailing too. But we never know what a bend will bring. So GO! DO! LIVE your life adventure. Hugs!

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  23. Wow! Your story (and Handsome's) just blows me away. How hard this must've been on both of you. Hope the worst is behind you and y'all have a happy ever after for many, many long years. God bless.

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    1. Thank you marsha. Life will always be interesting for all of us. We can do it!

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  24. All I can say is my heart aches for you and handsome. What a terrible ordeal to go through not once but twice. I pray this will all soon be behind you and once again he'll be strong. Don't forget to take care of you.

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    1. Hi, Sylvia! I'm just so grateful the second go around hasn't been cancer. Just radiation problems. Thanks to friends like you, I'm doing great. And to Jazzercise. Hugs!

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  25. Hi Vicki, Thanks for sharing this amazing story. Stay strong!

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  26. Hi, Joanne! You know, I can write the words, but a pictures is worth a thousand. Seeing him in ICU after surgery with all the tubes, drains, stitches, the beeping, the constant care...lordy. I hope by sharing someone else will read it and say "this could be me" and make life changes. Although people say quitting smoking or chewing is hard, let's think back to how hard this surgery was. Would anyone want an incision from ear to ear? A bone removed from their leg? A swollen tongue, making eating and talking difficult? It takes an extra special person to go through this. Hugs to you!

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  27. My heart goes out to him and your family. Stay strong! What's scary about cancer is you can do all the right things and still get it.

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    1. Hi, Ilona! Thank you so much. We are all fine. And STRONG! Isn't that true about the scary part. We thought he'd done everything right. Hugs!

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  28. What a story, Vicki. My heart goes out to both of you. Two of my friends' husbands have gone through similar surgeries and treatments. It's really scary. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi, Sydell! Please let your friends know if Handsome and I can help, we will be glad to talk to them. I believe in the adventure of life and for us, cancer and overcoming it was part of ours. Hugs!

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