Back in September, dad noticed a lump in his neck. He immediately went to visit his naturopathic practitioner in Luling, and based on symptoms (or lack thereof), was put on antibiotics to treat an infection. After two weeks of antibiotics, the lump seemed to be gone. However, a few weeks later, dad noticed the lump returning. His practitioner tried another round of antibiotics, but this time, the lump was not shrinking. By this point, we were in mid-November, and dad was sent to an ENT for further testing. Throughout the last month. dad has undergone multiple biopsies, X-rays, a CTscan, and most recently, a laryngoscopy (throat scope) to figure out exactly what the lump in his neck is.
We were finally told on Friday, December 13, that dad has a cancerous tumor wrapping around a tonsil and the base of his tongue, along with two cancerous lymph nodes in his neck (the larger of which was the visible lump). This is categorized as T2N2b, or stage 4a, squamous cell carcinoma. While prior testing had revealed the larger cancerous lymph node, the extent of the cancer was a surprise to all of us. We are still awaiting further testing on the exact type of squamous cell carcinoma, and should know within the next week or so.
What we know so far regarding treatment: Dad will definitely need radiation and chemo. We are seeking multiple opinions on whether surgery would be beneficial, or too much trauma to be worth the improved chances of getting cancer-free with treatment. He will be doing treatment in Houston so that he is closer to his home in Houston and most of us kids. Once we make a decision regarding surgery, dad will undergo about two weeks of further testing/mapping to prepare him for radiation/chemo and to minimize the damage to his healthy tissue. So more than likely, he will not be starting treatment until sometime in January.
Here's the good news: dad feels great so far! Thankfully, aside from a sore throat (made worse by the laryngoscopy), dad feels completely normal. No energy or appetite loss so far. The other good news: the specific type of cancer that the ENT suspects that he has tends to be highly responsive to chemo & radiation. While we hate that he is facing these treatments, we are grateful that his cancer is more than likely going to react well and that he has a very high 10-year cancer-free and survival chance.
Please follow along on this page for updates on treatment and for prayer requests. Thanks for hanging in there with us on this crazy ride. Much love to all!