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New Here, Father diagnosed with hypopharyngeal cancer...

Misty2011
Posts: 15
Joined: Feb 2011

Hi there.

Just thought I'd join this group as I know the days ahead are going to be rough. My dear father was just diagnosed with hypopharyngeal cancer. In two days will have the scan to see if cancer has spread, then in a week sees a specialist who will give all the info such as what stage, if it has spread, etc. At this point I'm just doing a whole lot of praying and trying hard to not worry. Any advice, information, etc. would be greatly appreciated! Anyone who has or has loved ones with this type of cancer please respond! I so badly want hope that this can be cured, and all will be okay!

Thanks everyone,
Misty

hawk711's picture
hawk711
Posts: 525
Joined: Jan 2010

Well you came to the right place. I had base of tongue cancer with spots on my lymph glands, stage 2-3 they said. That was a year ago last month and I have been given a No evidence of cancer or (NED) as we call it abot two months ago. The treatment for all H & N cancers is about the same protocol, possibly surgery, (I didn't have surgery) radiation, and chemo. There will be more posts here after mine with people such as Sweets, John, Bob, Kim, etc telling you that this is beatable. It is a hard cancer treatment, no doubt, but it works. How old is your father? I was 58 when mine hit and was in good shape. I lost 20 lbs, had a PEG feeding tube put in and felt like crap for about 2-3 months during and after treatment, but it gets better every week.
Your dad needs to be positive in his approach to the treatment. He has to trust his ENT, oncologist and radiologist. Those folks will be the key to his treatment and wellness. Tell your dad that he should come here too, we will guide him through this nasty process. No one deserves this cancer, but when it comes to you, you must fight back hard. Your dad will need a good caregiver, wife, you, someone who will take notes, makes sure he eats, drinks, takes meds, etc. He won't be able to do much for himself during treatment, because he will feel bad most of the time.
I am being honest here. All of us will be that drop a note. I wish you strength for your dad and you. Treatment will start soon and he must be ready to kick cancers butt. Get him fired up and tell him this is a curable cancer and his life will change somewhat, but he will appreciate it all the more.
I wish you strength, all the best
Steve

Kent Cass's picture
Kent Cass
Posts: 1746
Joined: Nov 2009

Sorry that you find yourself and Dad here, but you are both most welcome to be here. I would echo what Steve said, and trust others will also say. PM, Misty.

kcass

Scambuster's picture
Scambuster
Posts: 975
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Misty,

Welcome to our family of friends and helpers. You are no doubt overwhelmed with this situation as there appears so much to learn and figure. You can lean on the group here for any question at all.

I would suggest you get a note pad and keep a log to write down questions and take notes. Get a folder to copy/ print off and clip stuff in and you will become quite knowledgeable in a short time so take it easy and one step at a time. It will all come together.

To answer your question will take some time. I have used diet and supplements to assist my way through and have had remarkable success. You can go my Expressions page (<<< Click on my name on the left ) read the 'my page', then click on 'Expressions' and read through 'My Treatments, lifestyle....' .

We all approach this the best we can. I had surgery, chemo and rads, which was all rough but things are very good now (18mths out). I have hit it with everything I can and I suggest you look at every way to help your dad if you can.

Keep us briefed.

Scambuster

Pam M's picture
Pam M
Posts: 2194
Joined: Nov 2009

Welcome, Misty. Sorry to hear of your father's diagnosis. I, too, am a survivor of base of tongue cancer (two lymph nodes involved, stage four). I was diagnosed in October of 2009, finished chemotherapy and radiation last March, and had a modified radical neck dissection late December 2010. In November of 2010, the only cancer showing up on my scans was one of the original lymph nodes (chemo radiation didn't wipe it out, so it was surgically removed in December).

I feel good in general, and am able to eat (and taste) almost all foods I ate before. I have regained part of the weight I lost during treatment.

I hope the scans provide good news for your family. As the others have said (and will continue to say) - treatment's not fun, but it is definately doable. Many folks here will provide you with wonderful advice and/or suppport. Let us know how things go for you.

Misty2011
Posts: 15
Joined: Feb 2011

Thank you all so much! I appreciate the kind words! I would like to tell each of you how very, very happy I am that you are doing so wonderful! I'm so very sorry that you would ever have to face such a terrible disease, and I will pray for each of you and your family that you continue on a healthy journey! I have another question for you all if you don't mind... Do you know how alcohol affects chemotherapy? Or even radiation for that matter? My father drinks hard liquor, every day. I worry so much about this, that the alcohol with counter the chemo drugs... This is all so very overwhelming. Oh my, it's only been four days! Lol How do you all do it?! God bless you all!!!

Scambuster's picture
Scambuster
Posts: 975
Joined: Nov 2009

Misty,

The reality is that drinking at all, is not good for anyone, and especially not with Cancer patients. The comnbination of alcohol and cigarettes is known to increase risk of getting cancer manifold.

Not all people suffer this consequence, but drinking alcohol stacks the deck on the wrong side. If your dad is serious about his health, he will need to address the drinking.

Scam

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5635
Joined: Apr 2009

As everyone else said welcome to the family, sorry about your dad’s cancer but glad you found the right place to be.

I agree with Scam if he wants to get rid of the cancer he will need to stop the drinking at lease while he is in treatment

Take care
Hondo

Greg53's picture
Greg53
Posts: 830
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi Misty,

To echo everyone else's comments, welcome to the family but so sorry you and your father find yourself here.

Someone mentioned you may live close by where I'm located (St. Louis). I'll pm you some info.

Hang in there and keep posting, this is a great group of folks!!

Positive thoughts!

Greg

train-nut
Posts: 101
Joined: Jun 2008

Misty,

I am a stage IV, four year hypopharyngeal survivor. Surgery, induction chemo, radiation with chemo. A bumpy road but one your dad can travel. You and the family's support is a major advantage, no more drinking (it's one poison on top of another) and find out if he is HPV positive (could affect prognosis). Keep the questions coming, you will get some great answers from some great people. Wishing one and all the best of health, Rich

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

Just wanted to say hi. Sorry you have need of our little group, but I am very glad that you found us.

Misty2011
Posts: 15
Joined: Feb 2011

Again thank you all so much! Never a group you want to be part of, but you all seem so welcoming and eager to be helpful! It is so very appreciated! I keep thinking about this, and I'm just so very scared for my Dad, and then it hits me... if I'm feeling like this, imagine how he is feeling! It breaks my heart. I'm just praying, praying, praying! And I'll keep all of you in my prayers as well! God bless!

Misty2011
Posts: 15
Joined: Feb 2011

Rich,

Thank you so much for responding to my post. Seeing you are surviving the same type of cancer, and a Stage 4, you have given me so much hope! God bless you as you continue on your journey! One question, why is a positive HPV test a good thing? Does this mean the cancer is less agressive, easier to treat... This did provide one laugh for our family amidst all the tears, "Well, now we just pray our father has a sexually transmitted disease!" Lol. Not funny, I know. I'm in the midst of a 3 series vaccination to protect my daughter from HPV virus. If this can cause cancer in men as well, I think we need a vaccination for our sons! Thank you again!!!

Misty

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

You asked about HPV and its relevance. Even though there won't be a difference in the treatment of the cancer if it is HPV derived, there ate some studies that show that HPV HNC patients respond better to treatment and have a better cure rate.

We have had discussions on boys getting vaccinated as well. Here are some links if you would like to read them:

HPV AND HNC:
---------------------

HPV INFORMATION

VACCINATING BOYS WITH GARDASIL

A PDF of HPV AND HEAD AND NECK CANCER

Jimbo55's picture
Jimbo55
Posts: 572
Joined: Jun 2010

Welcome. A great support group here as you can see. I had rads/chemo treatment for BOT cancer. Certainly your Dad will have to lay the hard stuff, at least during treatment. Chances are once he gets into the treatment, he probably won't feel like drinking too much anyways. Stay Strong Misty. Cheers

Jimbo

Goalie's picture
Goalie
Posts: 184
Joined: Sep 2010

My radiation oncologist told me in about week 2 (of 9) that I could drink as much as I wanted just as long as if I was drinking gin and tonic, the tonic had to be sugar free. Why? So as not to rot my teeth, of course.

He could honestly say this because he knew - as I didn't yet - that there was no way that I could stand to drink while getting rads and chemo. It burns and either tastes like nothing or, in the case, of red wine, for example, is just much too complicated, and it burns as well. (I try a sip of my wife's now and then) I hope this is not permanent (two months after treatment) as a really nice shiraz with a steak is one of the great pleasures of life. But, for now, I accept this as the price I pay for not dying. It was worth it. Your father will feel the same way.

Doug

luv4lacrosse's picture
luv4lacrosse
Posts: 1374
Joined: Jul 2010

Misty, I live in St. Louis Metro. I heard you are not too far. I would be happy to discuss my situation and where I was treated.

Please PM me if you wish.

Mike

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