General info and "News"
Note: Hit your "Reload" button to assure that you are seeing any new additions to this page!
September, 2006 - NEWS - It's been quite a long time since I've added anything new to this site. But, on August 29, 2006 I celebrated my 9 year anniversary. I also attended the SPOHNC 15 yr. anniversary celebration on August 19-20. That was a wonderful weekend of learning and meeting people who have walked this road. Check out "My Latest" to the left for some thoughts.
My whole story is documented throughout this site, the goal being to help others who got the same bad news I did. But, there are a couple of things I'd like to bring to your attention right off the bat. Then, feel free to read how this disease affected my life, what it was like going through the diagnosis, treatments and recovery.
(1) - I do the web maintenance for the SPOHNC web site (Support for People with Oral and Head and Neck Cancer). There are good resources available through SPOHNC, and on the web site. I encourage you to check it out.
(2) - In July of 2003, I had an upper GI done to take a look around after my complaining of acid reflux. I actually got to watch as the doctor took the "pictures" while the barium mixture (yuck!) slid down my throat (the infamous "barium swallow"). I asked if I could get copies of the films, and was able to take a couple of digital pictures of what causes one of the most aggravating side effects of radiation treatment for this disease (difficulty swallowing). So, feel free to check this out here.
<- This is the the official Oral and Head and Neck Cancer awareness ribbon. The three stripes represent "Oral, Head and Neck" cancer. This ribbon was designed and registered for the same reasons as the breast cancer and AIDs ribbons - to provide awareness and support. Of course, oral and head and neck cancer is "small time" compared to the number of breast cancer patients. We average about 50,000 diagnoses per year. But, if you are one of (us), it is just as scary, and has just as bad an effect on your life and family. Even if the "numbers" aren't as high as other types of cancers, many of us who survive this cancer and its treatments often wear our battle scars in the most obvious places. Disfigurement can be a horrible trauma, resulting in a loss of self esteem and sometimes depression. So, we need to raise awareness of this disease, and all that goes with it.
The only place you can order awareness pins is on the non profit SPOHNC web site. They are available for $6.50 each, which includes shipping. And there is a discounted price for orders of 10 or more. I am not trying to be a salesman here, I honestly believe in the value of raising awareness of oral and head and neck cancer. I went through it, and either you or a loved one must be going through it, or you wouldn't be reading this. We need to garner as much support as possible, so increased awareness can generate increased research and testing. I will be trying my best to make those in the medical profession aware of these pins too. Please help to spread the word, and maybe we can make a difference! Tell your medical team about them. The above pin is the approximate actual size (depends on your display).
Why Does This Site Exist? - I was diagnosed with squamous cell cancer of the neck (originally, occult primary) on 8/29/97. When I was looking for information about what I would be facing with surgery and radiation treatments, I couldn't find much, so I vowed to document my own experience so others looking for this info could at least see what one person went through. So, in a way, I was running a cancer BLOG (web log) long before internet blogging became popular. Let me say right now, I am still kicking, and Lord willing, I will continue to be able to add to this site as time goes on! My most recent news can be quickly accessed here, or via the "My Latest" link to the left.
A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.Herm Albright (1876 - 1944)
SEARCH - Looking for something
specific on this site? Try a search. This will get you to the
page that contains whatever you are looking for on my
site. Once there, you can use the Ctrl-F key combination
to do a "Find" on the page, and be taken to the specific
location of the word or phrase on that page (TIP: That
will work on any page, on any site!).
Prior to August 29, 1997, this used to be the BDS Site for PC Upgrading. On that date, however, my life changed irreversibly. I was diagnosed with squamous cell cancer of the neck. At that time, I turned my attention to educating myself about what I was dealing with. It was real scary at first, because, we don't typically think of ourselves in mortal terms.
I was able to find a lot of helpful information on the net, and, at that time, in AOL. This included info on the disease, treatments, abstracts, clinical studies, support groups and more. Yep, there's lots of info out there... But, there was some information that I couldn't come up with. Mainly, how it FEELS to have to go through this! I was interested in how people in similar situations were dealing with news of cancer, treatment and their emotions. This is a very personal topic, and I won't go into detail here, but I have written extensively documenting what I went through, and am going through - and how I feel about it. If you have been diagnosed, or you know someone who has, perhaps my story will help you . . .
Poll - A while back I thought it would be interesting to put up an age demographics poll. The idea was to let people submit general age information for themselves or loved ones whom they are researching for. Sadly, we have topped 4000 responses to the age demographics poll (below). That's over a thousand more than the last update I made to this site in '05. Thanks to everyone who has contributed, and I wish no one was in the position of being qualified to do so.
I guess the interesting thing is, all totaled, with the previous polls, and this one, I have heard from well over 4,000 people! And the average age is still about the same (but, for the first time in May. 2003, the average appears to have shifted downward a bit). Since the official cancer statistics say this disease mostly occurs in the older population, this data probably reflects the average age of the internet researcher who gets this diagnosis. Significantly younger, at 41-60 yrs of age for the majority of diagnosed visitors! I'll keep the poll open for future info.
If you haven't put in your two cent's worth, all you have to do is select the appropriate age group in the table below, and hit the "Submit !" button. Please add info for yourself (if you are the patient), or the patient (if you are researching for someone). You will then see an age demographic table, updated with your data! Hit the "Go Back" button to get back to this page. Since I already have some data from the previous method of collecting, you can still go H E R E to see it.
[ NOTE: Since putting up this poll, I lost data for another ~100 people. Thus, the poll was reset. This data is for the 3rd attempt at collecting information (blah). ]
If you care to comment on the site, or would like to let me know about any broken links (I do my best to keep up with it, but I know I miss lost links here and there) or weird page appearances, please email me from the link below. If for some reason, you lose the link to this site, and want to get it back, do a search for the BDS Site. Eventually, you will catch up to the new address.
Thanks for stopping by... BDS
Changes last made on: 9/3/06