Denyse: My Head and Neck Cancer Diagnosis.
I now live in a New South Wales area called the Central Coast, an hour north of Sydney.
Before we moved here in 2015, I had been instructed my then dentists to “clean more carefully” around the back of the bridge with 5 teeth and a crown attached to my then upper gums in 2011.
It seemed an impossible task but I am not a dentist. I truly did my best. Saw a dentist every 6 months.
In 2015, a new dentist on the Central Coast, saw a white patch, ordered biopsy which came back “likely candida”. Fast forward to 2016, into 2017 and a different, now current dentist.
The upper mouth area bothered me more over time. It was sore at time, red where the new dentist could see it, and I was sent on my way with “use” fungalin and let’s clean area properly over time. That was in January-February 2017.
I could not bear the pain much more, swollen gums were starting grow over the bridge. Insisted, when no other things worked (see above) that all of bridge and teeth attached be removed. April 7 2017 that occurred in dentist’s chair. Lots of courage to get me there! Temporary denture added. In 5 weeks of waiting for recovery to happen, it did not, back to dentist. Gums were flappy, smelly and under top lip nasty growth. I was 67 years old.
Urgent biopsy, CT scan. Initial results all OK but on Wed 17 May 2017 at 9.35 a.m. “Denyse, you have squamous cell carcinoma and I am so sorry….sending you a referral to a Dr Clark at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, Sydney”.
My good fortune started there. The next day, despite my internal fear, met with the man who would be “my” Professor, and had my diagnosis confirmed…even though sometime later I would find it had another name because “rare of rare cancer” in me.