“I can never french kiss my husband again after half my tongue is removed” |

A woman says she will “never French kiss again” after having half her tongue removed and replaced with bone tissue following a cancer diagnosis. Jamie Powell, 39, was diagnosed with tongue cancer in March 2020 after discovering a raised bump on her tongue. After undergoing tests, Jamie was told she had stage three cancer and would have to have half her tongue removed, as well as some lymph nodes in her neck. She underwent the eight-hour surgery in March 2020 and found herself having to relearn how to talk and eat – all while getting to know her new tongue, which she said felt like a “foreign object”. She then underwent 30 rounds of radiotherapy before being cleared on June 30, 2020. Jamie now hosts a podcast with a fellow tongue cancer survivor who talks about the realities of the disease. Jamie, a special education worker, from Orange County, California, USA, said: “It was incredibly sad when I realized I couldn’t kiss my husband, Jonathon, 40, anymore. and I started to feel like my former self, but suddenly I realized I wouldn’t be able to kiss him again and I couldn’t remember the last time we kissed. “I cried about it. I was sad. I was sad for him too – that I wouldn’t be enough. “I didn’t even know you could get cancer of the tongue. “It was a huge shock to the system. “My whole sense of who I was was taken away. “It was devastating, but it was either have this surgery or I will be gone.” As I began to heal, my tongue felt like a foreign object in my mouth. I had to train it to be in the right place to talk and connect it to my brain.” Jamie woke up one morning in December 2019 and noticed a bump on her tongue. She said, “I thought it was just came by biting my tongue. “I asked my dentist if I should be concerned about it and they said ‘no, you’re fit and healthy, it doesn’t matter’.” Weeks later it was still there and it had gotten bigger. “I’m going to the emergency room, and they’re like ‘woah, we need to send you to a specialist’ and I suddenly thought this was worse than I originally thought. “They’re making an appointment with the ENT for the end of February, so I had to wait a whole month. “I had the ENT and they immediately sent me for a biopsy, which involved a lot of needles going into my tongue, which was very painful.” They told me they would get back to me with the results. I still hadn’t heard anything after a week, but then on March 5, 2020, they told me it was tongue cancer. removed from her tongue. She said: “I had to go and see 11 doctors who all told me I didn’t fit the profile for this cancer because I didn’t smoke or drink and in that time it had grown, and it was aggressive.” If you have tongue cancer or any other form of oral cancer, it usually spreads very quickly because of the lymph nodes in the neck. “They scheduled me for surgery on March 23 and the US went into lockdown on March 16 and I was sure it was going to happen. “It was stage 3 cancer and I was in the hospital for 10 days. I was put on a feeding tube and couldn’t speak. “They told me I wouldn’t be able to eat or talk the same way again.” I came home 10 days after the glossectomy – where they cut out half of my tongue and replaced it with tissues from my leg – and removed the lymph nodes in the neck . “My husband was told on FaceTime how to treat me with the doctor. He took care of me and helped with the bandages. “When I started to heal, my tongue felt like a foreign object in my mouth. “I had to train him to be in the right place to talk and connect him to my brain.” Unfortunately for Jamie, the removal of part of her tongue wasn’t enough to make things clear to her and she had to undergo radiotherapy in April 2020. After finally being told she was cancer free, Jamie focused on recovery and relearning how to use her tongue. the months after the radiation was done it was horrible, i still couldn’t eat. “I had to talk it through with a therapist and I found it difficult to be with my family when they were eating. “I realized everything I had been through, and I had to think about the words and if I was swallowing or eating. “I had to do a lot of speech therapy and there are a lot of lifelong side effects of neck and head radiation – food will never taste the same and it changes your view of food and how you eat.” The tongue still feels like a foreign object, but the doctors I’m amazed that I can talk so well about how much of my tongue has been removed.” Jamie decided to share her story in hopes of raising awareness about tongue cancer. She said, “I thought it was important to share because I know how I felt. “There was no one there who looked like me and I don’t want anyone to have to feel like me.” I make sure to post about it and talk about it because the more I

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