Summer of 2017 started with happy adventures and plans for the Gabriel clan. We, of course, did our usual camping and fishing trips with our kids and family. Love those trips. We also hosted one of three family reunion events on July 7th for Mike's family. Best Christmas in July ever!
I had my semi annual dentist appointment in May and came through it with flying colors. June 12 I had my annual physical where the doctor noticed a small white spot in my right ear. He blamed it on qtips which I never put in my ear or just dry skin floating.
I didn't think about that at all until a lump developed behind my right upper wisdom tooth. Back to the dentist on June 29. There, Dr Gerry took xrays from which he discovered that wisdom tooth had no bone mass above the gum line.
Next stop to see Dr Curtis Hayes, the oral surgeon recommended by Dr Gerry. These are amazing Drs. They worked together to get me in the next day June 30. Dr Hayes took more xrays. The tooth had to go and a biopsy was in order. Because of our family reunion, we waited unti July 10 for the surgery with absolutely no thoughts of cancer. In the mean time Mike and I visited the Royal Gorge and enjoyed a romantic evening on the Royal Gorge Dinner train. Add that to your bucket list!!
My biopsy results came in July 20. Dr Hayes called, and no excuses from me, he wanted me in to see him the next day. I was still thinking we were dealing with infection. Mike went with me thinking the same.
Well, we were wrong. Oral Cancer! All I remember from that visit is Mike saying, "Oh, my God" and Dr Hayes' amazing bed side manner! He had aleady spoken with Dr Campana' s office at Porter and scheduled my first oncology appointment. I saw Dr Campana on August 3. He scheduled surgery for August 14 with assurances that we caught this very early.
How do we tell our kids? That was the hardest. Gwen had lost her father in law the year before to cancer so we were all in death by cancer mind set. 2012 until then had not been the best. Our happy was at a very low point. From 2012 to July 2017 we lost, Mike's mom, my Aunt Bev, my Uncle Bob, Mike's dad, Andy's dad, and finally my dear mom. We did have happy with the arrival of our now 2yr old miracle baby, Gwen and Andy's Gabriel Michael.
So we decided to take one more summer camping trip before my big day and headed to the hills with our gang. Best trip!
My dear brother Bill passed away the next week. I could not move my surgery. I didnt want to wait any longer . So I had to miss both his rosary and funeral. Needless to say I cried a river from my hospital bed during both of those events.
My surgery went very well. The dr felt that they had gotten all the cancer. I would need radiation but the prognosis was great. I no longer had about 1/3 of the roof of my mouth and 3 moulars, but I went home feeling very relieved.
Fast forward to October when a lump developed on the right side of my jaw, just in front of the radiation field. I was sent as a precaution across the parking lot at Boulder Community to see Dr Warren who diagnosised infection and prescribed antibiotics. 2 rounds and 20 days later, the bump was biggèr.
Off to Dr. Campana on Dec 8 who immediately diagnosed more cancer. Back to surgery on Dec 11 with Matt due home for our little Christmas on Dec 14, 15, 16 and 17. I came home the afternoon of the 14th with a face as big as a basketball and feeling very much like my own freak show. Scary.
My followup with Dr Campana was the 20th where more rotten news was discovered. More cancer and another surgery. Rush again to get in there as Dr Campana likes to get thing done Asap which I am ok with. This time, Jan 3, more was removed from my mouth leaving about 1/2 in place.
Just before my Dec 11th surgery Mike and I went to Applebee's to have a big juicy burger with sweet potato fries. I had been living on smoothies prior to that so I ate 1/2 of my dinnèr which took an hour but...yum. I haven't had any solid food since and in fact am now on a feeding tube. I have lost 60 lbs since July 10. I definitely needed to, but not like this.
I am now in chemo and radiation. My final radiation is March 29th and chemo is March 28th. Our Matt will be home for Holy week and will take me to that appointment giving me at least 2 reasons to celebrate that day. My next oncology appointment is scheduled for April 25 with a pep scan in mid May.
So please continue praying for me and all who are ill. See your dentist, have a physical watch for anything different in any part of your body. Here I am with "caught it early" to 3 major surgeries and 3 minor to implant a port for chemo, to place my feeding tube and the initial tooth extractioon. Fun journey.