Share this post: ×

Gigi, Your Kiss is Broken

Written by: Penelope Michel

“Gigi, your kiss is broken.” The wisdom of a six-year-old. I cannot pucker my lips to kiss this precious angel. Some of us have broken bones or broken hearts. I have a broken kiss. My lip muscles never quite made it back after surgery, so I drool too. Sometimes my saliva runs, I really am a spitty thing. That is the stuff that makes life very hard. People don’t like to be spittied on! Can’t say I blame them. Now choking in a restaurant is an all-star event. I have pretty much mastered the art of walking very quickly to the restroom or out of the front door, so as not to mess up the dinner service and enjoyment of other patrons.  It takes an act of will power to bring down the shoulders, not panic, relax the throat muscles, try a gentle breath, and then hack up the offending bolus. It is frightening. I have had the pleasure of being Heimliched in a wonderful little greasy spoon in Houston when attempting to do Mexican breakfast with a girlfriend. Thank heavens for one very observant and well-trained waitress. So much for that idea! Ah yes, that sweet rush of oxygen! So far so good, I am still here to tell the tale.

continue reading →



Share this post: ×

A Decade of Coping (Voiceless, Hungry, and Determined at 16 – Part 2)

[Editor’s note. This Patient Story is the second of a two part series written by a member of the NFOSD team from a written interview with patient Angelica Hunsucker. Click here for part 1. All content stems directly from responses to documented interview questions and has been approved in written form by Angelica.]

The Laryngectomy

One of the hardest challenges I had to face with my diagnosis was losing my voice at age sixteen. The laryngectomy was one of those “world coming to an end” moments for me, I couldn’t stop thinking about all of the things that I wouldn’t be able to do anymore. The procedure not only removed my voice box but also changed the way I breathe from my mouth to a hole in my neck. Talking on the phone was gone. Swimming was gone – hell if I even fell in a pool I would die! Even things that I could still do, like breathing on my own, somehow became more complicated because of the hole in my neck. I have to be careful with aerosol sprays, dusty areas, and any cologne or strong smells. These set me off and I start coughing badly. I also have tobe careful playing with my girls. I can’t wrestle and play around the way I would like to be able to!

continue reading →



Share this post: ×

THE DREADED “YOUR NEW NORM” (PART 2)

[Editors note: THE DREADED “YOUR NEW NORM” is a two-part series written by Jim Rose. This is the second part of the series. Part 1 can be viewed by clicking here.]

As I became more physically fit I was sent to a physical therapist named Mike Vito.  This young man was very adapt and thorough at his job.  He pressed me to seek answers from my surgeon that he couldn’t find in my surgical reports.  It turned out that the nerve that made my rotor cuff work had to be severed in order to place my pectoral muscle in my throat.  With this knowledge Mike designed a lifelong exercise program that would help me regain use of my right arm.

continue reading →



Share this post: ×

Voiceless, Hungry, and Determined at Sixteen

2014-08-19 15.31.31[Editor’s note. This Patient Story is the first of a two part series written by a member of the NFOSD team from a written interview with patient Angelica Hunsucker. All content stems directly from responses to documented interview questions and has been approved in written form by Angelica.]

An Introduction

Imagine having a delicious family meal with laughter, conversation between bites, and clinking utensils transform into sustenance in the form of liquid vitamins and nutrients poured into your stomach through a tube. This liquid diet has replaced my memories of favorite foods and social meals for the past ten years. My name is Angelica Hunsucker. I’m a twenty-six-year-old disabled mother of two beautiful little girls. This is the story of how my whole world was turned upside down at age sixteen.

 

continue reading →



Share this post: ×

THE DREADED “YOUR NEW NORM” (PART 1)

SCAN0223[Editors note: THE DREADED “YOUR NEW NORM” is a two-part series written by Jim Rose. This is the first part of the series.]

My name is Jim Rose and in 2009, eight months after retiring from a 47 year career in the auto industry, I was diagnosed with stage IV oropharyngeal and pharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma.  Within 3.5 weeks I was biopsied, scoped and put through 10 hours of radical surgery.

continue reading →