Jul 14, 2019 Latest post:
Dec 19, 2019
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. We have been completely overwhelmed with the number of people that have called, texted, sent cards or messages of support and encouragement, and helped out in so many different ways. We sincerely appreciate every single one.
Donny's journey started on June 18th when he went to the doctor for something unrelated and mentioned that his lymph nodes were swollen with no sign of sore throat or cold symptoms (he had been talking about it for only a couple weeks prior). Two days later he was in for a CT scan, another two days later the results of abnormal lymph nodes led to a biopsy on the 24th. On Friday, June 28th, we received the news that we feared, cancer.
It was not Lymphoma so a primary source was somewhere unknown. Fortunately we were able to get an appt at the Coborn Cancer Center in St. Cloud right away on Monday, July 1st with oncologist Dr. Pavan. He ordered a PET scan of his body to determine where the primary source was, assumed to be in the head or neck somewhere, which was done on July 3rd. On July 5th we received a call from the Center that he has Throat Cancer with the tumor being located between his left tonsil and the back of his tongue, infecting the lymph nodes on the left side of his neck.
On Tuesday the 9th we met with an ENT surgeon and were ready to proceed to surgery to remove the tonsils and lymph nodes with a couple weeks to recover followed by 6 weeks of radiation and chemotherapy. The next morning we met with Dr. Miller, his radiation doctor, for a consult. With the cancer already into his Level 4 lymph nodes, it is not an option to not have radiation/chemo, so after a lengthy discussion it was decided to switch things up and try radiation and chemo prior to surgery. Tough decision which will add on another week of radiation, but if it works he may not need surgery or hopefully not as invasive of a procedure he would undergo if he had it done before.
After a much-needed camping trip, we are starting off the week with an appt with Dr. Pavan tomorrow morning for a consultation on chemotherapy, followed by an appt. with an oral surgeon to have a couple teeth pulled in preparation for radiation. On Wednesday we will be back down to do some more prep work and tests done. He will have an immobilization device made, which is like a cast of his neck and head and will be what he wears during radiation daily Monday-Friday for seven weeks.
Chemotherapy will be simultaneous with radiation...hoping to learn more on that tomorrow. We will be attending a class together at some point before radiation starts which teaches us about the whole process. He also will have to meet with a speech therapist to keep his swallowing in tact, since radiating the neck will be intense which will lead him to not wanting to swallow and a dietician who will keep a close eye on his eating habits and weight since it is expected he will be losing more weight than normal due to the location.
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, life-changing to say the least and we just ask for your thoughts and prayers as he goes through his treatments, which will hopefully start soon. We will update as we learn more.
Love to you all ~ Donny, Cheryl, Adam, Rachel, Leah, and Mason.