In Honor of My Husband, Ron

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Update on the future...

Monday, December 22: We had two appointments today. The first was with the RO up at St. Luke's. We were pleasantly surprised that he said the Cyberknife would be an option for Ron. He told Ron that his best chance for survival would be a second salvage surgery. His odds were 80% for the surgery. If he chooses not to do the surgery, he could have 5 Cyberknife treatments. Those odds he placed at about 60%. Ron's third option would be more chemo and IMRT radiation, with about 30% chance of survival. He was not talking about a cure, because since this is Ron's third bout with Oral cancer in three years, it most likely will come back, but we just can't say when. It could be right away again, or we could have a few years cancer free. We were offered a tour to see the Cyberknife and how it works, but we were very close to our other appointment time, so we had to leave. We left there feeling much more positive.

Our second appointment was with the surgeon who did Ron's last surgery. If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know that I was not really fond of that surgeon, but I must say he was much nicer this time. This was our difficult appointment. He explained a second salvage surgery would be much more aggressive. Basically, the entire lower right quarter of Ron's mouth would be removed and rebuilt, using hip bone, a metal plate, and tissue from the hip area. He also said that he would have to remove at least half of what remains of Ron's tongue. This cancer is below his tongue, on the floor of the mouth, and it wraps around the right side of the tongue. There is also the possibility that he would have to remove the tongue completely, called a glossectomy. This brought up the discussion of "quality vs. quantity". That is where we are now. Ron must decide what he is willing to live with. I told him that I would be there no matter what. If he has to have a trach and a PEG tube for the rest of his life, I have no problem taking care of them. I think what is bothering Ron the most is the chance that he would not be able to eat again, especially if they remove his tongue. The surgeon did say that he had one patient who could eat some things after their glossectomy. I told Ron that he would be the second! If anyone could do it, he could. And he hates the PEG tube! He really does not want one again, but I told him that we could get a different kind, one that would not irritate so much and get caught on his clothing.

So this is where we are right now. We ended up cancelling the other appointments to get him ready for the PORT, since chemo will not start until after another surgery and his recovery from that. The surgeon is going to consult with the plastic surgeon and the Oncologist and get back to Ron with a surgical plan, and he can then decide to go for it or not. The surgery would be within the next two weeks. We are happy that we at least have the option of the Cyberknife. I really believe that Ron will go for the surgery again, though. He just wants to live, and that will give him the best shot. It will be a different life, but it will be LIFE and that is all that matters to us. We are headed down to Missouri tomorrow for the holidays with my sister's family again. We are leaving all of this cancer stuff behind for a few days! We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! May 2009 be kind to us all.

Also, thank you so much for the comments. We really enjoy and appreciate them!