I think that it was my uncle who asked me if, now that I know what I know, if I can identify the symptoms that might have helped the doctors find this thing earlier. I don’t really know for sure, but here are the signs that I now recognize:
- the lump in my neck (pretty damned obvious, eh? But not necessarily limited to this particular cancer.)
- my sinuses have felt ‘full’ for most of this spring and summer. On occasion, when I blew my nose really hard, I got a bit of bloody yuck… though this isn’t necessarily an indicator. I live in a very dry climate which can account for the crap that I sometimes find in my tissues. It sometimes feels like an effort to breathe normally.
- there have been more low grade sore throats in the top of my throat. I had put this down to speaking too much with out appropriate lubrication (I am a trainer on occasion).
- my right ear has felt like it was a) full of ear wax and b) on the verge of an infection for months.
- my right ear has been secreting a oily, waxy film on occasion.
- my eyesight has gotten ‘weird’ and much worse… kinda fuzzy at times, with a tendency to blur/double when I go into a daydreaming stare. My reading glasses are now a necessity, and I’m seriously considering getting distance lenses as well.
- I have also been having a bit of an issue with ‘gag reflex’, which I’m not sure is linked, but I do intend to ask the specialist.
None of these items, with the exception of the lump on my neck, would be enough to send me running to the doctor. I have suffered from nasal allergies for most of my life… it felt a little odd in retrospect, not like I needed serious antihistamines, but just needed a pipe cleaner to scour the sinuses. Same thing with the ear; I just wanted to have it flushed, scraped or something to remove the irritation. The eyes did drive me to an optometrist who gave me reading glasses but didn’t notice the other blurries, so I do put that symptom down to the cancer. The sight issues started showing up at about the same time as the lump.