Hi- my husband is 31 years old and he is about to undergo a total laryngectomy with a total glossectomy due to the stage 4 cancer on the base of his tongue.
We are scared and even though he has great doctors that described the surgery for us we would like to hear advice from anyone that has had this surgery or a similar one.

How is the quality of life after this surgery? My husband doesn't want to live without eating or speaking ever again but I know that hearing from someone that has gone through it might help.

Does anyone know about any devices that can help him with communication without a tongue or voice box?

Thank you for any support you can provide.


Viviana
Original Post

My father was just diagnosed with mouth cancer so I have spent the past few days reading over posts on this site.  I'm wondering how your husband (and you) have been handling the surgery.  Is he able to function on his own, or does he need someone with him at all times?  I own a company called brick repair fort worth that keeps me pretty busy, so I won't be able to help him much during the day if he ends up going through with this surgery.  Any advice would be appreciated!

Hi, Jay. I'm sorry you and your family have to go through this. I'll be honest, the first four to six weeks post surgery were brutal. It wasn't so much because of pain (surprisingly that seemed to end with the surgery), but just the daily routine was a bit overwhelming. Medications, drain stripping, trach care, cleaning the wounds - it was like a full time job and I have absolutely no medical background. But you'll find that you do what you have to do. As far as I remember (and it's amazing how quickly you forget - sort of like childbirth), Bob was okay alone for very short periods of time within about two weeks of surgery. I could run to Target and grab basics - no more than 30 minutes and I told him not to move from the couch. After about four weeks, I could leave him for longer stretches (2 hours or so). We're four months post surgery and he's very independent now. He's fine doing his feeding and medication on his own and I think even enjoys being on his own once in a while. I'm not sure how much detail you want about the process, so I'll leave it at that. But I would say that your dad is going to need someone around for at least the first two weeks. I hope this helps and feel free to ask me anything specific you'd like to know. I'll be as honest as you'd like me to be. All the best!

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