In 2019, when I was 67 years old, I noticed a drainage in the back of my throat that would not stop. There were no other noticeable symptoms—not even a cough. Since I live on a farm in the country, it was not unusual for me to have active sinus drainage. In the late days of summer each year, there is a lot of pollen and dust in the air.
When the condition did not improve after a few months, I went to my family general practice doctor. He immediately presumed I had picked up an infection and recommended antibiotics. The antibiotics didn’t help, so he tried a different type. Same result.
By now this was mid-November and I referred myself to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist. The throat exam was quick, but I was new to this, so I didn’t know what to ask. My ENT figured I had acid reflux and prescribed me more medication. Still, I felt no better.
I made an appointment with a second ear, nose and throat doctor who quickly noticed a worrying spot on my vocal cord. After a biopsy the following week, I was told it was vocal cord cancer (stage 3). They warned me there would be surgery with radiation, and I would probably need a feeding tube.
I decided I wanted another opinion. So, I went to a larger city with ear, nose and throat specialists, who had more experience. After a PET scan, my latest ENT doctor noted I was only in stage 1. Since the cancer had not spread, I would not need surgery. I would just need radiation (35 treatments) and the doctor informed me that the cure rate for this condition was around 95–98%.
One year after the full treatment, I still go for check-ups on a 3-month basis. All could not be better. Yes, my voice did get scratchy for a time, but I did not have to get a feeding tube. There were moments of eating very soft foods, but I got through it.
Today, my voice is back and getting better each month. I believe in prayer—the Lord granted me the hope that all would be good from the very beginning. Everyone needs a support group and the simple comfort that they are not alone. So after the pandemic, I plan to volunteer my time with a cancer support group.