MEDICAL: Worse than I’d hoped, not as bad as it could be

I went from clear margins to dysplasia coming back in four months. The doc also found a white spot under my tongue that he says usually turns into an invasive form of cancer.

I was expecting the first news—I can feel this stuff on the inside, which most people can’t. Pain in this instance was a gift for me—had I not had persistent pain, I would not have bothered to follow-up when my GP told me he couldn’t see anything and he wasn’t worried.

The second news was an unhappy shock.

Because treatment for this is 1) keep it from going to cancer, and 2) remove to clear margins, and clear margins didn’t work out too well for me, he’s recommended me to a guy he considers the go-to guy for the tough cases.

Didn’t want to be a tough case, but here I am.

My dark side on this is:

  1. It has to be laser surgery, which I have been told (and have researched) is hellish painful anywhere, and apparently just LOTS of fun on sensitive areas like the tongue.
  2. In order to get to clear margins and then burn enough healthy tissue to prevent anything from ever growing there again, I could lose a lot of my tongue.
  3. The surgery could affect my ability to speak clearly, or to speak at all.
  4. There’s no guarantee it won’t come back, and this stuff does not respond well to chemo or radiation.

Dark side in pretty dark.

Bright side isn’t.

I’m a writer. Live chats and webinars and podcasts and videos and the other stuff I’ve created over the years is cool, and I’ve loved doing it. But, bluntly, I don’t have to be able to speak to work.

When I switched to Dvorak typing years ago, I eliminated my wrist pain. So for now, my hands and wrists are still good, and I can type easily.

I hold being alive as significantly more important that being alive, or being attractive. My objective is still to live long enough to beat my great-grandmother’s record. She lived to be 103, and I want to give her a run for her money. And I want to write fiction (and do some course creating) for the rest of my life.

The surgery gives me the opportunity to extend my life and keep the quality of it high.

So. I have an appointment to meet the new guy in a couple of weeks. He’ll probably have to do his own biopsy. (Lots of pain, some downtime)

Then we’ll schedule the surgery. (Hella pain, one month or more of downtime.)

The brightest spot for me, though, is that folks who have laser surgery for this issue have a high rate of no recurrence. That’s the chance I’m shooting for.

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35 responses to “MEDICAL: Worse than I’d hoped, not as bad as it could be”

  1. Rohini Avatar

    My heartfelt well wishes for your surgery and healing, Holly. I admire your unbeatable positivity – it inspires me to keep positive, too 🙂 I don’t pray, so instead I send you warmth, sunshine and smiles.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thank you. I don’t pray either, but I appreciate the folks who demonstrate their caring, whether with good wishes or with prayers. 😀

  2. Rez Avatar

    Was reading today’s HTRYN lesson and …. If you’re eating spicy food, STOP. The chemicals that make it spicy are also carcinogenic, because they are tissue irritants. (You can pretty much map stomach cancer worldwide right along with use of “hot” flavorings.) When you’ve already got sensitized tissue, the last thing you want to do is repeatedly irritate it, which is precisely what “hot” spices DO.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Could not, would not DARE eat spicy foods. The only spicy foods I every liked were Indian. I discovered Indian at the age of 52. Ate it occasionally for two years.

      But I always had pain from hot, spicy stuff, so even in those two years it was never part of my diet. The increase in pain on the right side of my tongue, though, was what tipped me off to look closer at my tongue, which was when I discovered the dysplasic lesion my GP couldn’t see.

  3. Carmen Storace Avatar

    Ni el dolor, ni la enfermedad son fáciles de vivir, pero pasan! Ya sea porque mejoramos de salud, ya sea porque dejamos esta vida.. Nadie sabe ni la hora ni el día, por lo tanto procurar alivio en el dolor, guardar esperanzas en el corazón y prepararse para ir al abrazo con Dios, son las únicas acciones prudentes que podemos realizar! Comparto tu momento de sorpresa y de incertidumbre, quiera Dios que los médicos acierten con la cura y pronto todo esto que atrás!

    1. Holly Avatar

      Gracias por los buenos pensamientos , Carmen . Estoy muy agradecida.

      (Thanks for the good thoughts, Carmen. I’m very grateful.)

  4. Juneta Avatar

    Thoughts and prayers with you.

  5. Amy Avatar

    Damn, damn, damn! I just can’t think of anything else to say.

  6. Graham Long Avatar

    Dear , dear Holly, So very sad to hear this sad news about your health and what is in store for you.
    My best wishes go to a lovely lady that all will be well.

  7. connie cockrell Avatar

    As with everyone else, hugs and best wishes that the new guy gets every last bit of that out. Pulling for you.

  8. Margaret Avatar

    Hugs, Holly. It’s not the news I hoped to hear, but as you said, your hands are doing fine and that’s what you need to get your words out. I’ve got fingers and toes crossed that the laser surgery does the job and this is the end of it.


  9. Silverwolf Avatar

    Holly, you know there are so many friends backing you with love, positive thoughts and many other ways of support. Feel free to draw on that as needed. You give so much of yourself to us.

  10. Alice Edwards Avatar
    Alice Edwards

    Well that sucks a big one.

    Will hold you in my thoughts.

    Thanks goodness you don’t need your tongue to write.

    So write your brains out so by the time you get to 104, I can be a proud possessor of a very large library of books written by you.

  11. Ramble Avatar

    Okay, that sucks. I’m glad you’re going to a specialist and attacking this thing aggressively- Hitting it hard and fast is the way to go. We were wrestling that bear at our house last year and I can’t imagine another way to do it.

    As for laser surgery, yeah it pretty much bites. I had it two years ago for a detached retina and it ranks right there between the apocalypse and licking the toilet. It did the job though and was infinitely better than going blind.

    I’m really sorry you have to do this. We’re all here for support, news and rants whenever you need it.

  12. Vera Lamb Avatar
    Vera Lamb

    I can only echo the sentiments written above. If wishes could be packaged and delivered where they would do the most good, you would have a truckload on your doorstep every day for months to come. You have weathered enough storms to last three lifetimes. Be well. Be happy and carry everyone’s hope for your speedy recovery in your heart. This sucks. BIG TIME.

  13. Elise M. Stone Avatar

    Oh, Holly, my heart aches for you. I hope this is the last of that horrible cancer. May you write many more great stories.

  14. Claudette Avatar

    Holly, I ache for you. I really do. But I also cheer you on, both for your attitude/fighting spirit and your acceptance of the verdict. For many, niether is possible.

    My thoughts and best wishes are with you during this time. I understand how difficult it must be for you to plan for an uncertain outcome. The fact that you can do what you love without the requirement of physical spoeech (just in case) is a blessing.

    I can’t think that any of us who’ve worked with you for any length of time will feel any differently than I do.

    Hang in there, my friend, and know that we’re all pulling for you. We’re on the sidelines of your race with Great-grandmother. 🙂

  15. Lynda Miller Avatar
    Lynda Miller

    I will be praying and pulling for you Holly. For some reason, God has a plan, we just don’t know what it is.
    He won’t leave you, that’s for sure.


  16. Deana Avatar

    My thoughts are with you! You are talented and you are strong! As strong as your heroines! I will send healing Reiki your way. Heal well!

  17. sandy Avatar

    You are in my thoughts and prayers. Cancer is terrifying ad life changing. I’m in remission from stage 4 breast cancer that traveled everywhere in my body. Staying positive, eating pure and clean, quoting healing scriptures out loud and doing 4 months of chemo, 1 surgery and 33 rounds of radiation later I am in remission. It’s no picnic but you can do it. I also wanted to thank you for the information you share on your site. I’m devouring it!

  18. SL Avatar

    You are in my prayers as well, Holly. Thanks for updating us.

  19. Angie Avatar

    Thanks for the update Holly, sorry it isn’t better news and I have everything crossed that all the results turn out on the bright side. I want to see your ‘view from 104’!

  20. D J Mills Avatar

    I am praying you have clear margins when the last of it is cut out. Take care, stay positive, and heal quickly, so the pain and bad cells are gone forever. Hugs from me.

  21. Sylvia Avatar

    Been checking to see what you were told. I’m mad that this keeps trying to come back on you, Holly. But you’re our go to girl for guts and you’re going to come through this. If only all the pain you’ve been through could be divided out, most of us would gladly take a share. Wishing you blessings and above all HEALING!

  22. Riley Avatar

    Holly, I’m so sorry the news wasn’t better, but as always, I admire the way you deal with the hard truths and then go on to find the bright side. Yes, being alive, and being able to continue doing what you love most, is what’s most important. I know the next few weeks/months will be difficult, but I truly believe you will come out strong on the other side.

  23. Marya Miller Avatar

    Oh, Holly, that’s devastating: But I am glad for the low rate of recurrence with laser surgery. It sounds horrific, but if anyone can get past it and live to 104, you can. If wishes were prayers, you’d be well right now without pain. We’ll be here. We just want you well again and writing your books!

  24. Jean Avatar

    I’m here to help in any way I can.

  25. Lyn Avatar

    I have been checking back every couple of hours of so. Thank you for bringing both the dark and the bright sides of the story to us. That’s brave and considerate.

    You will handle things however you will handle them and you will continue to march. I have that faith in you. Hugs and bestbestbest wishes. TX/Lyn 🙂

  26. Rez Avatar

    Major suckage, but the treatable aspect, that’s encouraging. Hopefully kill the bastard for real this time.

    If it were me, I think I’d consider getting a full-body scan, just in case it’s recurring because it’s migrating from or stimulated by somewhere else.

    I too notice practically-microscopic stuff that theoretically I shouldn’t be able to feel at all … drives the doctor mad. 😀

  27. Deb Salisbury Avatar

    Hugs, Holly! I hope they get all of it, and it never comes back!!!

  28. Stephanie Avatar


    Was hoping for better news. BUT, you’ve caught this early. Hopefully plenty early enough to eradicate it for good.

    103 still sounds totally doable to me. We’re here cheering you on.

    Just take it one day, and one appointment at a time and you’ll work through it.

  29. Christine Avatar

    Definitely hoping for better news for you, but your strength and determination continues to shine forth. Looking forward to receiving my T-shirt and to your many courses to come. Rest well when you need to… My best to you.

  30. BJ Avatar

    I was really praying that there would be better news than that, but as you say, it could have been a lot worse too. Will keep praying that the laser surgery goes extraordinarily well and this whole episode finished permanently.

    If you need anything that I can do from here, you know how to find me.


  31. Hamlette Avatar


    I’m glad you’re able to face this positively and see the light as well as the dark. You’re in my prayers!

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