A stomach virus during a weeklong European vacation really puts a roadblock on all of the fun and excitement of enjoying a foreign country. But for Margo, that was not the worst thing that came out of her trip. Margo was able to have fun exploring the European countryside and even got engaged while there, despite her stomach virus. But when the swelling in her neck didn’t subside along with the other effects from her virus, she knew she was dealing with something more serious.
After going to the doctor once she got home, they confirmed she had tongue cancer. She was told it had been resident for months and likely activated by that stressful virus.
“The virus woke up the sleeping giant of cancer in my throat.”
Margo required surgery to remove 54 lymph nodes on both sides of her neck, six of which were malignant. A follow up procedure fitted her with a feeding tube and port for the ensuing seven weeks of chemotherapy and radiation, the latter to eradicate a tumor at the base of her tongue which couldn’t be surgically removed.
Despite the severity of her diagnosis and the treatment it required, Margo let her cancer care team know she was determined to meet her one overarching objective - being center stage at her wedding. It helped fuel her adherence to therapy.
The ReVital Difference
During an appointment with her oncologist, Margo asked for help with her biggest issues: jaw pain, the swelling in her neck, difficulty with breathing and swallowing and sleep issues caused by all of her cancer treatments. She was exhausted from the pain.
Her doctor immediately sent her to ReVital Cancer Rehabilitation. Therapy began with soft tissue work, an advanced form of massage targeting muscles, tendons, ligaments or other connective tissue. Margo’s soft tissue massage tackled her jaw pain, neck swelling and the spasms that radiated through her shoulder, chest, neck, jaw and head.
“Lots of people don’t take therapy seriously, I did the opposite,” said Margo. “I did everything my therapy team told me to do and also researched at home to see what else I could do. Because I stuck with the program, I saw progress and was motivated to keep going. I’d see it by my increased flexibility. I could see it in my shoulder – the stiffness was getting better. Plus I regained the flexibility in my neck – turning my head left to right.”
Margo’s formal therapy ended just before her wedding in August 2017. “I had a Catholic wedding in a church and the whole shebang and I wanted to look pretty.” Margo knocked that goal out of the park and many members of her therapy team were there to celebrate alongside the new couple.
“My therapists are the most caring people,” said Margo.