As most of our family and friends are aware by now, mom has been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma. This is a journey that will be filled with uncertainties and uncharted territory, however we will continue to praise God in this storm and do whatever it takes to win the battle against the ugly "C" word!
Mom has been treated with several antibiotics since January for a "sinus infection". Several weeks back she was put on yet another stronger antibiotic. She began having severe pain on the right side of head. When it seemed she was not improving she notified the physician and was scheduled for a CT of her sinuses (5/3/16). The results of the CT showed clear sinuses but no explanation to why her head was killing her. She felt like she was losing her mind and dad was determined that something was just not right. Through their persistence and determination they would see an incredible physician and team of staff the following day...Dr. Palasano.
Dr. Palasano immediately recognized a tumor on her mastoid. She would have an MRI the following morning (5/5/16). Initially there would be a plan to see a surgeon on the following Monday in Birmingham, however Dr. Palasano felt that she should have a chest/abdominal CT to rule out a metastatic cancer prior to the trip. He knew it would be taxing with her in constant pain.
We would then be blessed with another amazing physician and nurses, Dr. Casey Melton. Mom would have a chest x-ray and chest CT the next day (5/6/16.) The decision was made the miraculously approved by insurance for a PET scan the following Tuesday (5/10/16). The call would come later that day confirming what most of us had been dreading...the spot on her mastoid was not the only lesion. There was involvement in some lymph nodes in the chest and neck and a small place in the right lung. The next step was a biopsy (5/17/16) and to meet the oncologist (5/19/16).
Dr. Heller is yet another physician that spent time answering questions and showing genuine compassion to our amazing wife, mom, grandma, great grandma, sister, friend... He offered a great deal of optimism among all of the gloomy web searches that we have encountered over the last several weeks. He has a plan and has begun executing it. Today (5/20/16) a PICC line was placed. Monday (5/23/16) she will receive her first dose of IV chemo. In the next few weeks she will have a port placed for the remaining treatments. The plan is for three rounds of chemo three weeks apart. There will be a PET scan after the third round is complete. If things are going well and the scan has improved, she will go another three rounds and then another PET scan. Afterwards she would belong immunotherapy, a new treatment that we are told has been showing great results.
We will try and update as often as possible. Please feel free to send prayers, encouraging words or tips for the upcoming weeks.
Thank you in advance for supporting our family. Our mother has lived her life as a true testimony to her love for Christ. So many amazing people have brought food, made calls and offered to help in any way needed. She has suffered greatly for weeks but her spirit has not wavered. She continues to encourage those around her and maintains that "we will get through this". She said "why not me". As you can imagine it has also been extremely difficult for Daddy to watch her suffer and feel like she will never get relief. He said today they have decided "they are going to make this journey fun".
Well that's all for now. Looking forward to updating with good news soon...