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12/16/2016 Latest post:
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.
It's Janna :) Here is kind of background on how this all began. Jay told me in mid to late October that he had a swollen lymph node on his neck. I pressed around and said "hmmm, you need to get that checked out" He told me that if it was still there after Duck Camp and his birthday that he would go to the doctor. This is pretty significant because Jay doesn't normally (ever) go to the doctor. Disclaimer - this is terrible, but i gave him some old antibiotics thinking maybe he had some sort of infection. His 45th Birthday and Duck Camp comes along and it is still there. The swollen lymph node never hurt. He finally made a doctors appointment and looked him over. The physician decided to do blood work (which was all normal) and a CT of the neck. Jay was traveling to Orlando the next week for work so the CT was pushed back a week and a half. On Monday November 14, Jay had the CT scan done and we immediately got a call saying we need to come for an appointment that day. I started to get very concerned so I talked Jay into going down and getting his medical record to see the CT results before the appointment. Our worst fear was confirmed - a large tumor on the base of tongue and tonsil with malignancy in the lymph nodes on the left and right. It was tough to read the report. We go visit the physician and he says it looks bad and you need to get into see and ENT. He recommended KU and we were able to get in two days. We headed to KU on Wednesday November 16 and they inserted a scope through his nose and told us it was a Stage 4. They brought a pathologist into the room and did a fine needle biopsy and confirmed under the microscope that it was squamous cell carcinoma.
We scheduled 2 sets of radiation oncologist and oncologist to see who we liked the best. We decided on the Green Hills KU Cancer Center. He had a PET scan on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. And we (everyone else except Jay - he doesn't worry) spent the whole weekend through the next Tuesday worrying that the cancer had spread to his lungs, liver, or brain. But thankfully it didn't. Head and Neck cancer staging is different than other cancers such as breast or lung.
Jay got his PICC line last week and started his first round of Cistplatin on Wednesday December 14 exactly 1 month after the diagnosis. He was not a surgical candidate because removing the tumor would impair his ability to eat and speak. The standard regime for this type of cancer is 7 weekly treatments of chemo and 35 radiation treatments. This has been a huge shock to our family but we have great faith and hope that his cancer will be cured.
We have been lifted up in prayer from our family, church, friends, and work family. I am unable to articulate the amount of generosity and love that has been extended to us. We feel the power of prayer is mighty and will be the key to surviving this journey.