Oral cancer patients warn kids about betel nuts 我的下巴可警世 口腔癌友重機環島反檳榔

Mon, May 06, 2013 - Page 11

With no tongue, a fake chin and a hoarse guttural voice, oral cancer patient Chou Pei-yuan rode his scooter with his friend Tsai Wei-kuo, who also has oral cancer, to Hsinchu County on April 29 on his way around Taiwan to talk to children, using an interpreter, telling them to advise their fathers and uncles to give up their cigarettes and betel nuts and warning the kids to never touch the stuff when they grow up.

Chou, known as “Brother A-yuan” at the Sunshine Social Welfare Association, was once a successful car salesperson. He would frequently smoke cigarettes and chew betel nuts with customers to gain favor with them, and rather enjoyed chatting with customers. He was always quite the conversationist.

Chou has had 26 surgeries since being diagnosed with stage four oral cancer 13 years ago, and he stays in the hospital for one or two months each time. Most importantly, however, is that he has no tongue or chin, and spent more than a year learning how to vocalize again. Not being able to have conversations with people because of his craniofacial handicap has been the most miserable thing for Chou.

Chou can no longer enjoy regular food. Instead he can only look at it and return home to eat through a feeding tube every day. When he was diagnosed with oral cancer at the age of 37 his oldest son was still in preschool. Due to the way he looked and being unable to talk, he never went out over the next five years, and never saw his son smile once.

Later when he was walking his dog one day he met a nice woman neighbor by chance. She was not scared at all by his appearance and patiently waited for him to finish each word, allowing him to interact with another person as if nothing had ever happened. Serving as a source of inspiration, it gave him the determination to work hard again for himself, his son and for everyone with oral cancer.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)