Last Christmas, Rachel Morsett, a 35-year-old mother, was shocked to discover that what she initially thought was a bothersome ulcer in her mouth was stage four tongue cancer. Visiting family during the festive season, Rachel, who suffers from Crohn’s disease, initially attributed her eating difficulties to a symptom of her long-term condition. However, tests soon revealed a far more serious diagnosis: stage four squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue.
Since her diagnosis in February, Rachel’s cancer has spread to her throat and lung lymph nodes. She is currently undergoing a rigorous treatment regimen, including emergency radiotherapy for new lung tumors, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. After recently having a stent inserted to aid her breathing, Rachel now faces the uncertainty of her treatment’s success. “If this treatment doesn’t work, I don’t know what’s next,” she said, determined to fight for her life and family.
Living in Kansas, U.S., with her husband Shawn and their three children, Audrey, Vanessa, and Heath, Rachel was taken aback by her diagnosis, having no history of smoking or tobacco use. The rapid progression of her condition, from a small sore to half of her tongue, led to a glossectomy in February, removing half of her tongue and reconstructing it using muscle from her wrist. Recovery was challenging, particularly being away from her children and struggling with communication, told The Scottish Sun.
Her post-surgery phase was equally grueling, involving 33 rounds of head and neck radiation. Despite this, cancer recurred, leading to additional chemotherapy. Rachel developed pneumonia during treatment and was hospitalized. Doctors later discovered and confirmed a lung nodule as metastasis from her original cancer.
Following further radiation treatments, Rachel faced disappointing scan results, indicating more metastasis. Her chemotherapy is currently paused as she undergoes surgery and radiation for a mass nearly blocking her airway.
Despite her prognosis being deemed incurable, Rachel remains hopeful. At a recent appointment, she learned that the average survival time with effective treatment is 15 months, but some patients have survived five to ten years. Determined to witness her children’s growth, Rachel is reevaluating her life to seek the best possible treatments and cherish every moment with her family.
Rachel, who shares her journey on TikTok @rmorsett, has received immense support from family and friends, including financial assistance through a GoFundMe campaign. Her husband Shawn has been her pillar of strength, helping her navigate the daily challenges.
In her fight against cancer, Rachel has adopted a unique approach, encouraging her body’s cells to fight the disease and reminding herself of the preciousness of life. Her resolve to keep going despite the odds serves as a testament to her strength and determination.