Mar 11, 2013 - 6:21 pm
I am a brand new member here and feel I should take some time to introduce myself.
I am a person that enjoys forums and chats and because of this I realize it will take me some time to understand the culture here at CSN. But, I do want to say I am sensitive to such issues and will endeavor to be a good member.
I am a woman who is nearly 45 years old with a 63 year old husband. This year we celebrate 25 years together. We have always felt we were soulmates and though our relationship evolves over time, that core feeling never changes. . I suffer from chronic pain due to aggressive osteo arthritis, fibromyalgia and rather large abdominal adhesions that make the lower end of my GI life rather interesting indeed. But, needless to say, all of this is nothing compared to a cancer diagnosis.
For the entire time we have been together, my husband and I have smoked cannabis. Also during that time, he has smoked tobacco. As we have aged, cannabis has evolved from something exclusively recreational to something much much more medicinal. Tobacco for him has just been a dreadful addiction. He has quit many others in his long life, but nicotine is turning out to be the worst.
Our cancer journey began just about a month or so ago. My husband had an enlarged lymph node (2.7 cm) that was hard and not going down. He was worried about cancer because he had had co-workers die of lymphoma in his past and due to a "genetic timebomb" of throat cancers on his father's side of the family, regardless of smoking behavior or not.
He went to the county ER and they immediately took some needle biopsies. He gets a call a few days later saying he has a scheduled appointment coming up with an ENT and that the biopsy was "carcinoma." We were very confused, thinking it was lymphoma at first.
The ENT examined him and found part of a tonsil left over from a tonsillectomy over 50 years ago. A piece got left behind and was also cancerous.
So, it turned out that he has Squamous Cell Carcinoma in his left over tonsil and his lymph node. They CT'd his body and found nothing else other than severe emphysema . So, technically it was Metastatic Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
A week later he had the tonsil removed via surgery. They took a huge number more biopsies of throat, tongue and mandible. He was not a happy camper during recovery and after 1.5+ weeks is just starting to get back to normal (eating).
Now they are saying, because they cannot find the source, that he is ony T1 with 95% chance of survival in the next 5 years, but that technically it is metastasized and he will be watched carefully in the future.
Also, coming up, they are going to give him a big blast of radiation (I believe only one dose, but not sure) to the head, neck and torso. It could have been tightly focused if they found the source, but without the source, it needs to be spread out and will do a lot of damage (salivary glands, sense of taste, etc.).
We are having trouble finding recovery times for radiation but it seems it's at least six months.
This is a difficult time for us. I've never had a cancer with anyone in my family, ever. It has filled us with morbidity and more than a bit of depression. We try to stay positive and mostly succeed, but there are minor psychological issues.
I guess we will know a lot more after his next appointment in a couple days.
I appreciate this resource and look forward to learning and participating more.