"Two Words"... started as an inside joke that brought about good times and laughter.
"It's cancer." Two words that changed our lives.
"Thank you." Two words that will never be enough to show our appreciation of your love, support, prayers, and words of hope & encouragement during this journey. Love to you all!
Dad went into his dentist with complaints of mouth pain; was sent home with what we thought was an infection. "Cultures" had been sent. August 25th, we found out it was cancer. Dad had been diagnosed with poorly differentiated (AKA not good) squamous cell cancer of his maxilla, or the upper part of his jaw where your two front teeth are located.
We were quickly referred to Omaha and met with the amazing surgeons and staff at Methodist Hospital / Eastabrook Cancer Center & Nebraska Medicine. They confirmed Dad's diagnosis and discussed the surgical options.
On September 19th, Dad underwent surgery removing the mass. This left a big hole in the roof of his mouth. They also did a small skin graft to his upper lip and removed 39 lymph nodes out of his left neck. Surgery went well, and he was only in the hospital for a couple days. He now has a prosthetic that covers the hole. He is able to eat but limited to a very soft diet.
His pathology came back as poorly differentiated squamous cell cancer with 2 of the 39 lymph nodes having cancer. The surgeons said it was more aggressive than they were anticipating. In Dad's words, "On a scale of one to four, I'm a four." This was not the diagnosis we were hoping for but things could always be worse.
They presented Dad's case at a tumor board, which is a round-table like discussion with many specialists present. Based on his pathology findings, they recommended Dad undergo both chemotherapy and radiation. Thankfully, he will be able to do his chemo & radiation in Sioux Falls. On October 18th, we will have a full day of meeting more physicians who will help take care of Dad in Sioux Falls.
We will continue to post updates as we can. Thank you again for your love, support, and encouragement!