Life after oral cancer: When Everything Changed podcast

Oral Cancer Recovery
Today’s guest, Xiaobo, is a survivor of ll cancer. Xiaobo was born in China and moved to the United States at the age of 30. Her husband worked as a director of a museum and she worked at a publishing house as an editor. They shared a mutual passion for art, and the resourcefulness she learned from the art world later helped her through some of the toughest moments of her life. Xiaobo and her husband often traveled back and forth between China and the U.S., torn on which country to call “home.”

When unexpected health issues arose suddenly for Xiaobo after she and her husband had been members of Kaiser Permanente for about 25 years, she was diagnosed with carcinoma of the tongue. In this episode, she describes the moments following her diagnosis and how art allowed her to cope. She recalls her disbelief and fear, followed by resolve and fearlessness.

With a fighting spirit, Xiaobo carefully chose the Kaiser Permanente doctors and other providers that would be a part of her care team. After the operation to remove the cancer in her tongue, she struggled to eat, swallow, and chew. Despite these challenges, Xiaobo credits her successful recovery from oral cancer to her loved ones, the medical staff that cared for her day and night, and a creative approach to finding alternate solutions for obstacles in her way. She describes the positive motivation from those that surrounded her as something she did not take for granted. This motivation, paired with her personal determination, allowed her victory over cancer.

In This Episode

  1. The ways Xiaobo incorporates art in her fight against cancer
  2. The positive impacts of a collaborative medical team
  3. Tongue-base cancer and the side effects of treatment

Thank you for listening!

When Everything Changed PodcastDid this story move you? If so, please share it. Do you have a health turning point story? Email us at When Everything Changed is a production of Kaiser Permanente.