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Jul 19, 2018 Latest post:
Aug 2, 2018
After speaking with quite a few family members and friends, we decided to setup this site on Caring Bridge to keep everyone in the loop with Jim's illness and recovery plan. It's been getting pretty tough trying to keep up with all the texts and emails and make sure everyone is getting the same story. You know Jim, and this site is not something he is very comfortable with as he is not a fan of Facebook, Instagram, twitter etc.... but he conceded and gave me the go ahead.
Jim had been complaining of a sore throat for a few months and some really bad ear pain on his right side. After a few doctor appts and some antibiotics, it didn't seem to get better, and he was referred to an ENT at St John Mercy. There he saw Dr. Martin on June 19th. He came home that night to let me know if didn't go well. The doctor took a biopsy in the office and was pretty sure that Jim had tongue cancer. Of course we were both in shock. The doctor gave him way too much information and ordered an urgent PET and CAT scan for that Friday.
We had a follow up with Dr. Boyd to review the PET scan. Dr. Boyd said the PET scan showed issues in his tongue, tonsil and lymph nodes, but that we needed a better biopsy of the tongue and tonsil to confirm. The biopsy was done on 6/29 which confirmed squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue and lymph nodes. The tonsil, although inflamed and painful, has no cancer.
We met with Dr. Boyd on 7/5 to review the treatment plan. The good news is that biopsy revealed that the cancer is HPV positive, which as I understand, is a really good thing. This type of cancer responds very well with chemo and radiation rather than surgery. So that is treatment plan we will follow.
For each type of treatment, we were referred to two different oncologists. One for the radiation treatment and one for the chemo. Unlike many other cancers, for tongue and throat cancer, it appears that they like to have you do both treatments at the same time. The chemo will be one time a week for 4 hours, and then the radiation will be daily, Monday through Friday for the next 7 weeks. Jim starts his treatment tomorrow, 7/17.
We have had so many wonderful cards, emails, and texts from all of our family and friends and just want to thank everyone!! Your love, support and prayers will help us through this most challenging of summers.