Thursday, February 14, 2013


Just the other day, I read Dr. Swill's blog, an entry about leading a life as a tongue cancer survivor. He had a very successful life before cancer. At a young age of 24, he was already an owner of three pizza franchises and he did not look back. However, his good and successful life was significantly altered when he was diagnosed with tongue cancer and had his tongue removed. But thankfully, after a few years of struggling with some major and minor operations and a series of treatments, he got back on his feet, but sadly, has to face the world with slurred speech and altered appearance. Well, a tongue cancer survivor is different than survivors of other types of cancers. A breast cancer survivor, for instance, does not have to deal with social issues as much. She can speak or take her food without inviting stares from those around her. It does not really affect her social life. And a lot of time, nobody even realise that she had had breast cancer before without her revealing it. But for tongue cancer survivor, especially those who underwent total glossectomy, the repercussions are quite serious. It could really affect your self confidence you tend to get emotionally upset when you can't express yourself as well as before. Sometime, you are wrongly understood. For some people, it takes a lot of patience on their part to make sense of what you are trying to say. And this can cause a lot of awkwardness in a social scene. There have been a few times that I noticed some people being uneasy for not understanding what I say but either too embarrased to ask me to repeat or too worried that I might get offended. So, they pretend as if they understand it by nodding or providing inappropriate responses. And me, also either too embarrassed to repeat myself or afraid that I would make them feel uncomfortable, or I might waste their time, just go along with them, pretending that, yes, thats what I meant to say. But, from their body language I could tell that they had no idea what I was saying but too polite to admit. However, this seldom happens with friends or people who are already used to my way of speaking. Alhamdulillah... But then, there are also times when I thought that people don't understand me when they actually do.....and it irritates them when I keep on asking..."do u understand what i'm saying?"..or "faham tak ni?".. Sharifah, with love...


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Dr. Swill said...


Thank you for your kindness. My biggest battle has been more my outward appearence lately because of the surgical approach taken I had a lot of scarring and a huge bottom lip.

The other side of it is that people are treating differently. That is difficult for me. I have mastered a better speech and eat almost anything but slowly. However when I talk to people on the phone they think I'm an old woman. I constantly get called "Ma'am" ALL THE TIME!!!

I hope you are well.

Peace B

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