Monday, January 31, 2011

Getting Closer...

Dad is so close to starting chemotherapy and radiation! On one hand it has only been a month since his diagnosis, but on the other we have all been so anxious for him to begin treatment that it has seemed like a very long wait.
Procedure update:
Last week he met with Dr. R again and had a simulation/virtual image done on Friday. A dietitian determined the caloric intake he will need through his feeding tubes during the times that he won't  be able to eat solid food. Sunday night his sister had my parents over for a soup dinner (thank you Aunt Sherry!). Today he is getting fluoride trays made - with the concentration of radiation to the area around his mouth he must take fluoride doses throughout. Tomorrow Dr. C will assess how well he's healed from having his teeth pulled. Once he has healed enough they will start treatment... most likely by Friday or next Monday!


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Briefly, what has been done?

On November 30, 2010, dad went to the dentist because of some swelling in his jaw that he thought was caused by a tooth problem. From there he was referred to an orthodontic surgeon, who discovered swelling in his tonsil. After multiple scans, tests, and biopsies, he was diagnosed December 30, 2010, with squamous cell carcinoma. Since his diagnosis, he has met with a variety of doctors including a specialist in Seattle and those at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center.
The best route of treatment will be a combination of chemotherapy and radiation. To avoid future complications with his jaw, he had to have six teeth pulled last week, as well as feeding tubes placed and a port into his neck for chemotherapy. He will begin chemo and radiation after his mouth is fully healed from is oral surgery, which is hopefully very soon! The chemotherapy drug will be cisplatin, which is the most aggressive drug used for head and neck cancers. Treatment will begin with three all-day sessions of chemo and seven weeks (five days per week) of radiation treatments. Approximately three weeks after these initial rounds, another cat scan and pet scan will be done to assess the results.
His next appointment is Thursday, January 27th, with Dr. R* to set a date for radiation to begin.


And so it begins...

Welcome to my dad's cancer blog! I started this forum to keep our family and friends updated on dad's progress. I chose the title, Battling Biology, for two reasons. The first is that I think the definition of "battle" is fitting: to contend with full strength, vigor, skill, or resources (Merriam-Webster). The second is that whenever someone tells dad that it "isn't fair" for him to have cancer, especially a cancer that predominately affects smokers and heavy drinkers (which he has never been), he replies, "it's biology." That's dad, a scientist to the core. And a strong one, at that. 


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