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4/3/2017 Latest post:
Welcome to Jan's Fans CaringBridge page! We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We deeply appreciate your prayers, your love, and sweet care. This story begins with a trip to the movies with her daughter and granddaughter, complete with popcorn, in mid-January. Jan had an irritated place on her gums that looked and felt like an abscess. When the spot did not respond to antibiotics, she had it biopsied and a few popcorn kernel shells were even discovered. What should have healed continued to grow instead. Popcorn was not the culprit and on February 11, Jan was diagnosed with stage 4 Oral Cancer. While she does not fit the typical profile, she has Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the gums. She has a 2 cm tumor affecting the lower right gums and jaw bone. This is serious but treatable and we have a plan. Jan will be treated at the Levine Cancer Institute Head and Neck Cancer Center in Charlotte, NC and surgery is set for Monday, April 3 at Carolinas Medical Center Main. The procedure is called a Mandibulectomy Resection and Fibula Free Flap Reconstruction which is the removal of the lower right side of her jaw, subsequent teeth, surrounding gums, also taking 30-40 lymph nodes, and hopefully every bit of that cancer. The plastic surgeon will use bone and skin from her leg in the same surgery. Radiation treatment and replacement teeth to come in the following few months. Recovery will be extensive but is expected in about 12 months time. It has been a long and short 8 weeks! God has presented many blessings already, bringing to light beautiful friendships and introducing wonderful doctors and caregivers into our little world. Peppered with acute pain and a dash of "why is this happening?", Jan is walking this path with the support and encouragement of friends and family. We plan to share information on this site and we humbly and hopefully ask for your continued prayers. With your support and God's love, Jan has made it this far and we are deeply grateful to have you all fighting for TEAM PINK!