Oct 12, 2019 Latest post:
Feb 27, 2020
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
On August 23rd, Buzzy received initial cancer diagnosis of P16 Positive Squamous Cell Carcinoma - a mass in his neck. His friend Ken Devries noticed the left side of his neck was sticking out more than the right and suggested he get it checked out. At the time Dave had thought he bumped his head somewhere along the line and thought it was slightly sore. So with my encouragement he made a doctors appointment - and off he went with a list to talk to his doctor about. The doctor listened to him, but stopped short of going any further with his other "complaints" to put full attention on the lump in his neck. He was scheduled for an ultrasound on Aug 15th. Results showed suspicous nodules on Thyroid and a 5.1cm mass on the left side of neck. Next he went for CT with contrast to further identify and finally an ultrasound guided biopsy on Wed Aug 21. Initial pathology came back on Friday Aug 23 with the news we did not want to hear, being Squamous Cell Carcinoma. The Doctor explained they do not know if this originated in the neck or elsewhere. So the journey will continued with a PET scan on Wednesday Aug 28th, followed by the afternoon of doctor team consultation and meetings on Thursday. We were told it's important to find the primary (where the cancer originated) so they can target treatment. The surgeon mentioned doing biopsy of tongue, tonsils, etc. until they identify primary. He said they could very likely remove his tonsils. Once this is done they would start chemo radiation - a 7 week treatment of 1 x per week chemo and 5x per week radiation. All of this was discussed with our immediate family. They encouraged us to seek a second opinion to be sure we were satisfied with the plan. We made contact with University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center (Thank you Marty Smith for referal information). So now it's Sept 12th and we're off to Ann Arbor for a full day of doctor meetings (after having all our records sent to them). They confirmed the findings and offered an option for us to consider - a research study created for this type of cancer treatment. It is "Adaptive De-escalated Radiotherapy". Essentially they would begin treatment with the same chemo and radiation - 2 weeks into treatment they would conduct testing to see response. Expected to see reduction in tumor - they would then reduce the chemo and radiation treatments in both strength and time administered. Downside is the treatment has to be done in Ann Arbor - Upside is this cancer responds very well to treatment and Dave would not have to be under treatment as long (5 weeks rather than 8). We made the decision to go with UofM for the de escalation plan.
Honestly, the logistics is the biggest challenge we face. Right now we're going to try and manage this with daily commutes and have a back up plan in Ann Arbor if it gets to be to much. Treatment planning with MRI, CT simulations * fresh PET scan has been completed - then treatment will start October 7th. We're working on smoothie recipes as there is a good chance he will have trouble swallowing and he'll need to keep up with good nutrition through the process. As you can imagine we're very anxious, scared, hopeful, prepping for a fight(emotion, emotion, emotion) and in need of love, support and your prayers.
We currently need prayers for: 1. Calmness as Dave prepares for the beginning of treatment. 2. Little to no side effects from the treatments. 3. An opening at the Med-Inn on campus hotel to make the logistics in Ann Arbor manageable.
Thank you - I will give regular updates through this journey.