Tuesday, August 26, 2014


This morning I went for one of my periodic checkups at Dana-Farber. I have visited approximately every two months since completing treatment a year ago.

The bottom line: All Clear.

We trade off seeing Doctor Rad (my radiation oncologist) and Doctor Chemo (my medical oncologist). Today it was Doctor Chemo.

One of the advantages of my particular cancer type is that the site can be viewed directly with a fiber optic scope. During every visit the doctor sticks the spaghetti-sized scope in my nose and looks down my throat.

I hid the image for the squeamish, but for everyone else click here or on the image to see the actual image from the scope screen.

The image is as though you are diving down my throat: the top of the image is toward the rear of my neck and the bottom is toward the front. The big flappy thing is my epiglottis. The entire "floor" of the image is the base of my tongue (the tongue extends down into the throat).

Doctor Chemo remarked that my throat has undergone significant healing in the past few months. You can see that in the comparison between February and today. In the February image the base of my tongue is rough and red whereas today it is smooth and pink.

I was under the impression that I was already in the "surveillance" period, but Doctor Chemo said I actually have just entered that period since I am now a year out of treatment.

My next checkup, with Doctor Rad, is in late October. At that time I will be just about a year from my last imaging study (a PET/CT scan) and I will get a chest X-ray. Sometimes this cancer type spreads to the lungs so they will check for that.

I don't worry too much about these checkups. I assume I'm cured. But it's always nice to have updated confirmation.

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