The Cancer Diaries: From warrior to survivor

A month ago, my little cancer warrior headed down the corridor at the Ottawa Hospital toward an uncertain surgery in hopes of removing a malignant tumor in her mouth. It was a difficult eight-hour operation that would see the removal of part of her jaw, gums and a handful of teeth, all to be replaced with a graft from her left arm.

JLove spent her Christmas and New Year's convalescing first in the observation area, then in a hospital bed. She was only able to write out her thoughts, and she could barely speak due to the fact doctors had inserted a trach tube in her mouth.

The surgery went well, and though she was in a great deal of pain with a tongue the size of a grapefruit, she persevered, never complaining, grinning and raising a thumbs up on occasion. Jennette was as brave a soldier as anyone I've ever seen, and was more concerned about the trouble she was causing others.

Today, we walked back into that hospital and it seemed a whole lot less scary. She met with her surgeon, Dr. Johnson as well as the speech therapist, and the radiology oncologist for the final verdict.

She's healed up nicely, and has only a few telltale scars and a mouthful of marbles. They left the best news for last. She will not be needing further treatment, no radiation, or any other horrible procedure. The doctors are confident that they slayed the dragon.

Tomorrow, I will hand her back her car keys and she will begin her new life, not as a cancer warrior but as a cancer survivor. She will also begin another difficult journey in her quest to become a lifelong non-smoker.

We are so proud of Jennette Katherine Lovie.

She is a brave woman with a bright future.

Congratulations, my little friend.

You did it!


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