02 December 2009

Kim And The Kids

They are pretty much caught in the whirlwind of this at the moment, not unlike me.  Pray for them through all this as well.  Nervous and a little scared - again like me.  Wanting to do something to help but not much to be done at the moment and I think feeling a bit helpless.  Kim readying to be the main care giver. 

Great family, great friends (old and new), Great God all supporting us.

OK - I Think We Got To The Overwhelming Part Today

Major data overload. Spent the day with a radiation oncologist and the lead medical oncologist. First time I've met either of them but they have been consulting on my case all along. Both seem good and I was comfortable with the discussion. Neither contradicted one another nor the head and neck guy I have been seeing. All have been talking pretty much real time to one another as well. Everything seems well coordinated.

Get a port put in tomorrow. Seems, as expected, there will be some major inputs and withdrawls over the next 4 months and it is just as easy to do it from a single spigot. Chemo starts Monday. Three week cycle. One week of chemo, two weeks off, repeat. PET Scan again to check progress then third round. Two weeks off after that then begin a lighter round of chemo with a radiation chaser. Six to seven weeks of that, 5 days a week. The idea is to give it a real hard systemic hit with aggressive chemo to shrink the current visible tumor and knock out any as yet undetected locations in the rest of the body. Follow up with the radiation at the specific site.

Side effects - yeah. Hair will fall out with chemo. Then the rest of the list - nausea, etc. Radiation has it's own pleasantries based on location of the tumor. Mouth sores - like a bad sun burn in the throat. Dry mouth that will to some degree be permanent. Possible loss of ability to taste food or just change in a way that nothing tastes good any more. I will really miss that if it happens. Oh yeah - super freaky mask they have to mold of my face to hold my head immobile during irradiation. Gonna be a great souvineer!

So today is the day I got to hear all that can happen but of course it varies on an individual basis. Long term survival rate is somewhere north of 50%. This is for cases in older people, smokers, more advanced stages. Significantly boosting this for me is age, general health, stage at which this has been detected (stage 3), non-smoker/drinker which makes this a highly treatable. Good chances of a positive outcome according to the doc. "Good" seems to be a highly relative term at the moment depending on which side of the fence you are viewing this from.

Cool thing happened at dentist today (dentist part of medical team). He took me through what we needed then he looked at me and asked me if I was scared. I told him that yeah, in fact, I was a little nervous about it. He said "Can we pray about this?" We did - very neat and unexpected.

30 November 2009


Big hang over and a major sore throat. I totally underestimated how I would feel after the biopsy today. Able to get the work done endoscopicly (tube down throat) rather than an open biopsy but was done with a general anesthetic. Thought I would be bouncing around by this evening but still in a fog and still have a pounding head. I was pretty much starving by the time I was released at 3:30 today but just a little queasy - like low blood sugar. Stopped to get meds at CVS on the way home and Kim grabbed a little something for me to eat. Drove about 6 blocks to drop Tess off at bowling practice. I yakked in the parking lot. Problem solved. I've felt great since and pretty much ate what I wanted at dinner. Diagnosis is official - squamous cell carcinoma. OK - so what is a squamous cell? Basically any cell that is a lining. Skin, mouth, tongue, esophagus, and all the way through you and out the other end. The specific location of the cancer is in my lingual tonsils (not the kind you get removed when you're a kid). Essentially a throat cancer. Early read on this is that it responds well to radiation and chemo. Two consults on Wednesday - one for radiation, one for chemo. Moving along quickly and I'm quite happy with that. Thanks for all the prayers and support. Hoping to feel a lot better tomorrow.

29 November 2009

The Journey Begins

Last few weeks have been a bit stunning. Found a lump on my neck. MRI, biopsy, PET scan indicating malignancy but not sure of specific diagnosis. Final biopsy tomorrow to determine exact type of cancer and determine course of treatment. Not sure where this is headed but seems like it will be a bumpy ride at least in the near future. Great support coming from all over the place. Lots of family, friends, friends of family and friends praying for me. Totally needed, totally appreciated. Saying my own prayers and doing my best to hand this over to God. Certainly out of my hands. Wanting to figure out what His message is for me in all this. Have to admit I've been pretty stressed today. Down time over holidays creating a lot of time for thinking. Too much time. Just wanting to move forward with treatment and get on with it. Will try to post tomorrow with any update.