Jan 26, 2019 Latest post:
Jul 28, 2019
Looking back, we believe Dave's story began in October, 2018. Here is the summary timeline of events.
February - Fell on ice landing hard on his chest. Seemingly, no injuries and forgot about the event. March - Pain in right hip and leg was very annoying and continued to increase. May - MRI on spine to see if there was a back injury. Doctor immediately wanted to operate; Dave researched for a second opinion. September - Surgery could not be put off any longer and had an outpatient disc decompression procedure with renowned Dr. Sinicorpi. October - Two week road trip to New Hampshire and Rhode Island to see family - great time, no problem with pain despite long days in the car. Noticed weight loss was happening fast without trying. November - Began physical therapy to increase muscle strength that was lost during February to September - No progress in improving strength and noticed increasing instability. Also, noticeable raspy/hoarse voice, loss of appetite and food needed to be small pieces and very soft. December - Becoming weaker, less endurance, activities limited, put off seeing the doctor because he had an appointment scheduled with a new GP for 1/9. January 4 - Trip to ER due to severe difficulty in swallowing and alarming loss of voice, total weight loss from October was 40#. Tests: Chest X-ray - Clear Blood - Elevated calcium and creatinine (signs of bone and kidney issues) CT Scan of neck: We heard the "C" word: Walnut-in-the-shell sized tumor at base of tongue and nodules in swollen lymph nodes in neck. Dave was encouraged to see an ENT doctor ASAP. We heard the doctor say: "I see in your near future lots of tests, radiation, chemotherapy and a stomach tube." January 7 - Appointment with ENT doctor who reported that the CT scan also shows suspicions of cancer in the upper rib cage/bones and lungs - Shock #2. He ordered the following tests: Biopsy of the tumor at the base of tongue: Tested positive for inoperable, non-curable squamous cell cancer, viral based - labeled as Head and Neck Cancer (Throat cancer). Biopsy of swollen glands/lymph nodes in neck: Tested positive for inoperable, non-curable squamous cell cancer, viral based. labeled as Head and Neck Cancer (Throat cancer) CT and PET Scans: Results shared at Oncology report on: January 24 - Finally, the day we will know the real diagnosis, prognosis and treatment plan. We are praying for the best report and preparing for the worst. Our son Jeff attended the 55 minute meeting with the Oncologist (Russian woman who we trust and like) who said this is an unusual and very complicated situation and that during the day she had conferred with 3 other oncology specialists and that the biopsy slides are being studied at the U of M. Good point: No cancer in lungs. Concerns: The PET scan shows cancer in Dave's liver, lymph nodes, pelvis and throughout his spine. Compared to the MRI in May, this cancer did not exist then. Head and Neck/Throat Cancer does not metastasize to the bones (1-2% does) so her concern is that there are two cancers. Until they determine that and what type the second cancer is, she cannot give a prognosis or treatment plan. So, this week Dave has additional tests: 1/29 - Brain MRI 1/30 - 1) Biopsy of lymph nodes behind his stomach and near the spine and 2) Deep Bone Biopsy of his spine Swallowing Test, not yet scheduled - to determine if the tumor at the base of his neck is at risk of sending food into his airway which would aspirate to his lungs resulting in pneumonia. If that is a threat, at some point he will have a stomach feeding tube.