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Katie Dunne Knoefel
6/1/2016 Latest post:
I had a chipped left molar in July of 2015 that was cutting the left side of my tongue. I was back and forth to the dentist several times since then to get the tooth smoothed out but the sore never healed well. They sent me for a biopsy to rule out anything more serious and they had planned to continue wearing down the tooth and night guard to eliminate friction. The biopsy came back positive for squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancer) of the tongue. The oral surgeon said he called the lab back to ask if they were sure since I have no risk factors. In fact, I'm not an older, overweight, male who heavily drinks and smokes. I also try to avoid laying out in the sun with my tongue hanging out... Just a good habit I've always tried to maintain. Needless to say we were shocked. I had surgery to remove the tumor on December 8th where they removed a portion of the left side of the tongue and 30 lymph nodes from the neck (it had metastasized to one node). At the follow-up PET Scan in March, there were a few areas that came back concerning on the right side so we did a robotic surgical biopsy of the right base of the tongue and 4 nodes on that side which all came back clear - praise God!About a week after the second surgery I noticed a spot on the left side near the original tumor site that concerned me. They did a quick in-office biopsy of that which came back positive. The pathology report read almost identical to the original, so the best guess is that we didn't get everything in the first surgery as we had hoped. I've noticed a couple more small spots in the same area in the last couple weeks.We are now working with the Head and Neck Cancer team at the Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte who have wonderful so far. Grateful for all the prayers and support from everyone!