My story begins like many other people's stories concerning cancer. I went to my family doctor for a routine exam in mid-January of this year. Being a Type II diabetic, my personal physician insisted that I come in every three months to monitor the progress of the medication controlling my disease. During the poking and prodding of the examination, he asked if I knew I had a swollen lymph node in my neck. My immediate reaction was a puzzled sounding, "What?"
The doctor put me on a course of antibiotics to see if the swelling of the lymph nodes would go away. After two weeks, there was no change. The node was swollen, hard and not showing any sign of pain. It was decided that a CT scan was in order to see what was there. The scan revealed a swollen lymph node pressing against the windpipe and a trip to an ENT was scheduled. This visit led to a needle biopsy to determine what was causing my lymph node swell. The results showed that I had a squamous cell cancer. My ENT immediately recommended me Dr. Lisa Shnayder at KU Med. She told me the Dr. Shnayder was an ENT who specialized in this field and was the person I needed to see.
It seems like a whirlwind now. I got to meet Dr. Shnayder and was immediately taken by her positive outlook, her professionalism and the obvious expertise she had in the field. She immediately gained my trust and I literally placed my life in her hands. That turned out to be the most important decision I've ever made in my life.
Dr. Shnayder performed the biopsy that determined the primary site of my cancer on the base-of-tongue. She followed that up with surgery to remove the primary cancer and the infected lymph nodes in my neck. She helped guide me through process of treatment for head and neck cancer - and it was done by using state-of-the-art technologies and the latest cutting edge knowledge afforded by a research institution like the University of Kansas Medical Center. I'm now about six months post treatment for cancer. I see Dr. Shnayder every few months to monitor my progress and my latest scans showed that I was clean thus far.
Thanks to Dr. Shnayder's recommendations and expert advice I have a few other items to report. I began this journey with a number of health concerns. I was a Type II diabetic and took two medications to control it. I had high blood pressure and took medication to control that. I had high cholesterol and triglycerides and took two separate medications to control that. I was overweight, didn't exercise enough, didn't eat right, used tobacco on occasion and drank alcohol more than I should have.
I've now lost 100 pounds since this process began. I eat right. I exercise regularly. I don't use tobacco or alcohol. I no longer take medications for Type II diabetes or for high blood pressure. I take a single, low dose medication for cholesterol. That is precautionary as even my cholesterol is on the low side of borderline unhealthy. Thank you Dr. Shnayder! You're the best!