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Paula’s Story (Oral Cancer, Gastroparesis)

Paula's Story (Tongue Cancer)I was diagnosed with tongue cancer at the age of 43 and soon after my diagnosis I underwent surgery on my tongue. It was extremely painful and it was difficult to communicate with my family. Six months later a PET scan showed more cancer and I underwent a more radical surgery. This surgery was much worse than the first. Not long after my second surgery I was diagnosed with severe gastroparesis meaning my stomach no longer functioned as a result of the trauma done to my body from my cancer.

This disease is a permanent condition and I constantly suffer from non stop nausea and vomiting. I am constantly in the hospital for malnutrition and dehydration along with a very fragile immune system. I inject Zofran into my legs sometimes four to five times a day. I have a feeding port. One to feed myself and the other a gastric drain. I am allergic to the few medications out there that could help. My vocal cords have been permanently damaged from the violent vomiting.

My passion is volunteering with the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life but my health has taken a turn for the worst and I am unable to volunteer so now I help other cancer patients and chronically ill with my Facebook, ‘Ms. Bling The Cancer Diva’ where I help others connect with support and resources and encourage women who are hiding in their homes because they are self-conscious about the effects the chemo and radiation have on their bodies. I have made videos of myself with no lashes, brows, or makeup showing what I go through forcing myself to get out there and live when it is the last thing I have wanted to do. There are organizations that help women disguise the effects of treatment and provide wigs free of charge. I myself have to wear false eyelashes and draw on my eyebrows because mine have never returned. Helping others is what keeps me going and I am passionate seeing those overcome this horrible disease and reclaim their lives. I am learning to become a makeup artist to get involved in these organizations. I am determined to reclaim my life.

Paula
Florida
Submitted 05/30/2014

The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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6 comments

  1. Stay Strong Paula, you are an amazing woman, and it is so wonderful you share your story, YOU DO FIGHT LIKE A GIRL!!!!!

  2. You are beautiful! Keep up the fight. I pray for your strength and wish you the best!

  3. Rosella Santoro

    Oh Paula, you are the strongest lady I know. What you have been through, and are still going through, is more than any human being should or could ever endure, and yet you still find time to care about others.
    You have a good heart, and a very strong determination to beat this and live your life the way you should be living it.
    I long for the day when I read a post from you to say that you HAVE overcome this terrible disease and reclaimed your life. Love you lots sweet girl. xxxxxx

  4. Teresa Nunziante

    Our church has kept you in prayer, and will continue….but it’s wonderful to see the witness of an overcomer in you, it’s a testimony that will help everyone. Your life touches so many, even here in New York!! Fight like a girl! <3

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