A True Team Effort Restores Head and Neck Cancer Patient’s Health, and Confidence to Live Again
“I was one of only a few patients who experienced the closing of my esophagus as an extreme side effect of the radiation therapy,” explained Mr. Bradshaw. Mr. Bradshaw had 18 dilations performed by his surgeons to open up his esophagus over the course of a year. While the dilations worked temporarily, Mr. Bradshaw experienced the closure of his esophagus repeatedly following his treatment, causing extreme discomfort and resulting in the placement of a feeding tube because of his inability to eat or swallow. “The chemo and radiation got rid of the tumor. That was the easy part,” said Mr. Bradshaw. “The subsequent swallowing issues were the hardest part. I certainly don’t recommend this as a weight loss solution!” he joked.
Mr. Bradshaw praises the work of the Dance Center team, particularly Barbara Messing, M.A., CCC-SLP, BCS-S, Administrative-Clinical Director of the Milton J. Dance, Jr. Head and Neck Center. “I can’t say enough about Barbara. In the beginning, I was on a feeding tube and couldn’t swallow at all. She was patient and encouraging as she taught me exercises that helped me recover the ability to swallow over time. Ten years later, I’m still doing the exercises! She gave me all the confidence in the world. Without her, I don’t think I would have made it. I could call and talk to her whenever I needed her and she was there for me.”
Mr. Bradshaw’s head and neck cancer journey certainly changed his life, and so did his experience at The Dance Center at GBMC. “Everyone at the Dance Center was just great. The way everyone worked together as a team was incredible. I have all the praise in the world for them.”
He added, “Initially, when I was told I had advanced stage three cancer, I didn’t think I’d make it. But I’m here 10 years later. I’m still alive.”