Nichole Christenson

First post: Jan 29, 2019 Latest post: Sep 13, 2021
In December of 2017, Nikki visited a new dentist who referred her to an ENT doctor for a sore on her tongue that hadn't healed for years. This doctor performed a biopsy of the sore and it was confirmed as Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Tongue. In January of 2018, surgery was done and 1/4 of her tongue was removed along with 1 lymph node from her neck. During the healing after surgery, she noticed a new bump on her tongue. On February 23, 2018 she had a second surgery to remove this along with a biopsy of several spots in her mouth to see if the cancer had spread. The results came back negative so she proceeded on with radiation.
On March 9, she began radiation of her tongue and neck. She had a full course of radiation - 30 treatments spread out over 6 weeks and was done on April 19. Radiation was rough and she lost about 50 pounds during the process. She took the summer of 2018 to heal, but it was very slow and she still felt like something was wrong. In June and July, she started having ear pain and a horseness in her throat. As the fall began she continued to get worse.
Finally in November, her ENT doctor started to treat what he thought was a cold that wasn't going away. They tried steroids and strong antibiotics that didn't do anything for her. The doctor finally ordered a CT scan and they found lymph nodes that were not normal. The doctor explained to her that they were dying and her body would just absorb them. The results didn't sit right with Nikki and she sent the scan to her radiation oncologist. He compared them to a scan they had done in July and found the lymph nodes had doubled in size. He ordered a PET scan that showed the lymph nodes were metastatic diseased and needed to be removed. 
On January 16, 2019, Nikki went in for surgery and the doctor told her that there were a few spots on her tongue that were of concern from her last PET scan as well. As he began surgery, he biopsied those first and found them to be cancerous. In fact, he found the cancer to be deeper than he felt comfortable taking care of himself and aborted the surgery. He referred her to doctors at the U of MN. Currently she is working with several doctors there that are better trained to handle her cancer. 
Her next surgery is scheduled for Feburary 19th. During the first half of her 14 hour surgery the doctors will remove the front portion of her tongue and take out all the lymph nodes on the right side of her neck and possibly even both sides. The second half will be dedicated to the reconstruction of her tongue. She will be admitted into the ICU for 3 days after her surgery and 4 days in a regular room past that.

Please keep her in your prayers as she prepares for surgery, during surgery and her recovery afterwards.