PANAMA CITY, Fla. - Early in 2014, Wanda Barnes was doing her daily skin care routine when she began noticing a lump on her neck. Now, she is sharing her experience battling tonsil cancer in hopes of encouraging others to act quickly if they notice something unusual.
"I do sometimes think, 'Did I really have cancer? Was that all just a bad dream?'" said Barnes.
Barnes received news that she had tonsil cancer in July of 2014. After evaluating her options, she decided to undergo surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation.
"Every step I had to go through was, 'I don't want to have to do this,'" said Barnes.
"You have to understand that things are going to work out, but, when you're going through that time, it's hard to really rationalize in your mind how this really happened, what's gonna happen, what you can do for the person," said Barnes' husband, Shaun Mulligan.
Barnes says that it is her faith and husband that helped her get through treatments.
"In sickness and in health, those words really... Those vows kicked in when they said in sickness and in health. Very much so," said Barnes and Mulligan.
Wanda is celebrating two years cancer free this month.
"I'm still here. I'm loving life. I'm actually healthier now, I think, than before," said Barnes.
Now, Barnes and Mulligan want to raise tonsil cancer awareness, in hopes of encouraging others to perform routine checks.
"Don't ignore the signs. Any type of redness in your tonsil, anything with a lump on your side. Either way, if it doesn't go away after a period of time, by all means get it checked out by a doctor," said Mulligan.
The month of April is oral, head, and neck cancer awareness month.
For more information on tonsil cancer and how to perform self-screenings, visit http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/adult/otolaryngology/what_is_head_and_neck_cancer_34,19270-1/.
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