Jun 10, 2020 Latest post:
Jul 25, 2020
You're in the right place! Keep reading...Thanks Kim 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. I started writing this and lost the long version I had started. So here is the abbreviated version. In March Steve visited his PCP for a bump on the back of his neck. The Dr. did a biopsy of it which came back completely normal. At that same visit Steve showed the Dr. the lump on the right side of his neck. The Dr. was more concerned about this lump than the other and sent Steve for a CT scan of it. On April 24th we learned that he had squamous cell carcinoma of his right tonsil with lymph node involvement. (So much for fishing that day! We were told to stay close to home and expect phone calls.) The Dr. referred Steve to OHSU ENT surgery, a full body CT, medical and radiation oncology. He also told him to see his dentist and get any dental work he needed done now. Radiation makes it harder to fix teeth and bone especially since the radiation will be directed to his throat. OHSU ENT surgeon did the biopsies. We waited through the weekend for results. Confirmed squamous cell carcinoma of the oropharynx. The cancer is HPV positive, this is apparently a good thing. It makes the cancer more easily treatable than if it was not positive for HPV. The biopsy of the lymph node under the chin was negative for involvement. After seeing the medical oncologist he was sent for a PET scan to confirm the CT results, no metastasized disease. He then saw the radiation oncologist who reviewed the PET scan report. No metastasis!! Yay! Except that lymph node under the chin that was negative from biopsy is actually positively involved and cancerous. As well as many other local lymph nodes. Since the radiation will be targeted at his throat on both sides and the back it will cause a pretty severe internal sunburn. This of course will make him not want to talk, eat or drink. But he will HAVE to in order to keep his throat muscles working and make recovery go faster. But he does have a feeding tube in place for those days that are just too painful. He needs to keep his weight up in order to use those calories for the healing process. He also has a port, this is where they will infuse the chemo, extra hydration and do blood draws. He was supposed to start his treatment on June 1st but the first feeding tube didn't stay in place. He had another one put in about 2 weeks ago. Last week he wasn't feeling good again. We were afraid the tube had dislodged again. But this time they found a small abcess which elevated his white blood cell count. So he got two different IV antibiotics in the ER and was sent home with more. Tomorrow he gets his labs drawn and meets with the medical oncologist. If his white is lower he will be able to have his first radiation and chemo treatment on Wednesday. He is tired, alot. His spirits are mostly well but I can see his frustrations and fear. Please send your happy thoughts and prayers while he/we go through this journey. Many others have done this before us, thank you for paving the way! Tips from survivors are appreciated and of course comments from everyone else are appreciated!