Updated: Jan 27, 2021
I’ve just had the call this afternoon from the hospital that I’ve been waiting on for a few weeks. It was to set the date of the 4th of Feb to have a partial glossectomy… .
This post I put on Facebook the other day explains what’s going on:
"Yesterday (Tues 19th Jan) I went to the Hospital for the 5th time in a month… This time it was to talk to two amazing surgeons who are going to chop bits off me and move some other bits around. I also met the Head and Neck specialist nurse and the Speech language therapist who will help me recover and learn to eat, swallow and talk again.
A Biopsy in December found a cancerous tumour (squamous cell carcinoma) in my tongue. It’s small (just over 5mm they think) and they can cut it out (partial Glossectomy) but in doing so comes a whole bag of other procedures. As well as the tumour they will cut out 1cm of good tongue from around it and cut open my neck to remove lymph nodes (neck dissection) as that is the preferred next stop for my Cancer cells. It is also likely (but they won’t know until I’m in the operation) that they will have to do a reconstruction on my tongue using skin from my left wrist. This is amazing because that patch of skin has blood supply and will come with trailing vein and artery which will be hooked up in my neck. Then I’ll need to practice eating, swallowing and talking with my new tongue (half of which will be numb forever). Hopefully no radiotherapy will be needed. So that’s it… just tumour out, neck dissection, skin graft and learning a slightly new way to waggle my new half-numb wrist-tongue around.. oh and they take a bit of spare skin off my tummy to patch up my wrist (this is obviously what I’ve been growing all that extra skin on my tummy for).
Hospital - 1 week
Back in the game - 6 weeks hopefully.
I am sharing this with you because it's likely to slightly change my appearance and the way I speak. I can’t sneak it under the radar and I want you to hear it from me. It’s not just me going through this process obviously, it’s my Family and close friends too and I want to thank everyone for their love and support so far, it means so much to Jo and I to know we have such strong loving support
I'm so lucky to have three beautiful strong females to keep the vibes positive.
I’m just waiting now for a date for the op (by mid feb hopefully) and trying to get as fit and healthy as possible to shorten my recovery."
I'm 40 years old (for two more days), father of Maya 5 and Erin 2 and married to Jo-Anne. I was born in Cape Town and grew up in Gloucestershire, now living in Bristol. I went to Wynstones (Waldorf/Steiner) school in Gloucester, Cirencester College and Portsmouth University where I studied Documentary Production.
I am a professional skydiver (camera flyer, skydive events organiser and sponsored competitor in speed skydiving) but have had a mixed professional background including documentary/video production, painting and decorating and even recently cycle couriering (my Covid19 career). I love cycling and working on my growing collection of bikes. I like going to live music and I have a history of partying.. a lot.
I wanted to share what's happening through this chapter of my life in case it might help someone else riding the same rollercoaster. I haven't seen a lot out there so far from people in this situation, so wanted to try to add my perspective on how it affects my life and my loved ones' lives.
I'm also doing this for me. I want to take this head on and do all I can to pro-actively deal with the changes to my life and use it as a chance to better myself. So this is me holding myself to account too and giving me something to help pick me up after surgery. I don't know how it will impact me so I want future Mikey to know that I was feeling strong and ready at this point, that I've done all I can to help him and have faith in him to be able to deal with whatever is coming.
I've been ramping up my physical activity and I'm now on a healthy protein- and phytonutrient-rich diet under the guidance of a nutritional therapist. I want to be as healthy as I possibly can be going in to surgery so that the toll it takes on my body will be reduced.
Today was like many other Tuesdays. My wife is studying to be a nutritional therapist and she was in an online lecture all day so I spent the day with my girls. I had a call from the hospital physio to talk through mitigating the possible effects of nerve damage from surgery and what pre-conditioning exercises to do to set myself up for a good recovery. This call helped me feel ready to take this on. I felt like I could do a lot in two or three weeks to feel significantly healthier and stronger.
Then when I received another call from the hospital to tell me the operation date was just over a week away it all became a bit more real and it hit surprisingly hard. It's slightly sooner than expected, which is good but I had been mentally preparing to have another two weeks at least before going in.
For weeks now the procedures and the fear of the possible permanent physical changes have been going around my head. As humans, we are hard wired to avoid injury and pain.
The prospect of treatment is bearing down on me now and despite trying to stay mentally strong, at times like this I have some anxiety. It isn't long now until I'll lose part of me and it feels like I am reaching the end of a chapter.