In the summer of 2021, hairdresser Karin Backsether (61) felt something strange on her palate.
– I don’t quite understand what it is. I happened to visit a dentist and I thought that if something went wrong, the dentist would definitely inform me. The dentist says nothing, she tells Dogbladet.
Thinking it was a wound that would heal, Backsether took it all in.
But three or four weeks after the dental appointment, she goes to the doctor.
– I was there on a completely different occasion, but asked if he could see my palate. I opened—and then he turned deathly pale.
Romerikes Blad First mentioned the subject.
The doctor sent Baxether to an ear-nose-throat specialist, who took a biopsy of what looked like an ulcer.
It turns out she has a malignant cancerous tumor behind her nose – and that the tumor has invaded through the palate.
Rare and extreme
Cancer of the nose or nasopharyngeal region is a rare type of cancer Norwegian Health Information.
In Norway, about 50 people a year develop cancer in the nasopharyngeal region, and almost 400 people live with this type of cancer.
Days after the diagnosis, Backsether was on the operating schedule.
– I didn’t have time to think – but I was very scared when they said they were going to remove the whole palate, says the 61-year-old.
After the surgery, she woke up with a large hole in her palate and a large and uncomfortable prosthesis to cover it.
She had a tube in her nose through which she had to receive nutrition.
– It was very strange, she says.
Had to re-enter
It was confirmed that the cancer had spread, so she needed radiation therapy.
She had to be irradiated every day for 34 days.
– After two weeks of radiation and little nutrition in my body, I had to be admitted because I was so sick, he says.
– Never been so sick
It was around Christmas in 2021 that she was discharged from hospital with a large hole in her palate.
She had lost weight and was in poor condition.
– I was never sick when I was discharged. I was at home laying on the couch under a blanket and shaking. I can’t take any food, she says.
Backsether operated again to close the hole.
The operation failed, and the hole in the palate became much larger.
After a month with a tube, she was able to eat a tablespoon of food a day – but a new problem arose.
– Everything I ate and drank went straight up my nose. He says I have to expel everything I have eaten through my nose again.
Hand on palate
On July 3, she was operated on again and this time the operation was very successful.
– They operated on the skin and tissue from my elbow, so now I walk around with my hand on my arm. It feels like a soft pillow in the mouth, says the 61-year-old.
Because of the pain, Backsether used morphine plasters until recently.
He has partially returned to work, but at the time of writing he is in Key West, Miami, USA, where he has taken a short vacation.
– Now things are much better, but I struggle a bit with poor sense of taste. At least I think I can eat again so things are moving forward, she says.
Comes with clear speech
When Dagbladet asked if she had advice for others experiencing similar symptoms as she did, she spoke plainly:
– Go to the doctor and get an answer soon. Don’t wait like I did.
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