Today was my two week post-op. All is going well. Eating and speaking are uncomfortable but no longer painful. I can eat most anything I want, and activity is no longer restricted.
About 10% of my tongue was removed – more than I had thought. People tell me my speech is almost normal, though to me it feels like I just left the dentist’s office after a filling.
I will not need radiation or chemo, however the usual cancer rules apply. Regular follow-ups, and I will not be considered cured for 5 years. If it recurs, it will typically be in the first year or two.
The hashtag (#KenLicksCancer) is from my daughter Kate, created when things were bleak and we did not know how this would end up. Her confidence and optimism, and that of the rest of my family and friends, helped a lot.
But the hashtag is inaccurate. I did not lick this cancer, my medical team did. My job was easy: whatever they thought was best, I said OK. They did the hard part.
I made it through with the love and support of my family and friends, as elegantly symbolized by the heart-shaped cushion at the top of this post made by my granddaughter Hannah, who also gave me a note that touched my soul.
Many people have been thinking of me during the past month. Many prayers have been offered for healing, although one person apparently screwed up and prayed for a big hematoma under my jaw instead. All were nevertheless appreciated.
This whole experience was surreal – 30 days from diagnosis to removal to confirmation that they got it all. But my experience was unusual. Many readers have shared their own cancer journeys with me, and those of close family and friends. Most were more arduous than mine and many did not end well. I am lucky. I know that and hope that sharing my journey did not cause heartache for those who were not so lucky.
One other thing helped me get through this: this blog. Writing helped me crystallize my feelings at various times when it felt like my life had been tossed about like a mobile home in an Oklahoma tornado. Without my dear readers, I would not have had this blog, and without this blog I would have been unable to process what I was going through.
So thank you my family and friends, and my avid and casual readers now spread across 43 countries, for helping me get through the dark clouds and find a bright, bright sunshiney day.
8 thoughts on “#KenLicksCancer: a post-script”
Ken, so glad to hear of your great news. You are a blessed man with some unfinished business here on this side of the “veil”!
Ken: Great to hear the good news. Reading the blog has been therapy to me as it has challenged me to look at the bright side of life despite the inevitable challenges. Thank you for being transparent about your experience.
So happy you are doing so well. I knew you would. Hope you can continue your trip soon. You are blessed to have such a supportive family.
Been thinking about you and I am so glad to know you are doing well and you’re on your way to 100% recovery. See you soon. Angel
Ken, so grateful for the good report. And the heart pillow is adorable! Sweet gift. Blessings!
Wonderful, wonderful Ken! I loved reading your blog and sharing it with my family. And the video at the end is the best! I’ve always loved this song but I’d never seen this piece and it just made me smile. I am so glad you’re feeling better and this obstacle is behind you. Here’s to many sunshiny days ahead!
Ken, as I e-mailed to you and George, we’re all greatly relieved. Now, it’s time for you to get back on the road again, keep on truckin’ and see clearly now that bright,, bright sunshiney day!
For various reasons I have not been reading your blog that I enjoy a lot. Good to hear you have courageously gone through the therapy for the tumor, and you are almost back to normal. Keep your blog going. Love to hear more of your travels.