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Grandpa just diagnosed, Stage IVa - radiation questions, etc

Posts: 1
Joined: May 2008


My Grandpa was recently diagnosed Stage IVa SCC occult primary. He starts radiation in a few weeks, but first has to have some teeth pulled. I want to send him a care package with products that will be helpful during radiation. He will do a radiation / chemo combo. What products can I send him? I have read about Theracare (sp?) and ulcer ease. Can I buy these at the drugstore? Anything else I can send? How difficult is this treatment? They are radiating both sides of the neck aggressively.

Is stage IVa curable? The primary wasn't located, but he did have two very large lymph nodes in his neck (up to 6 cm). Is there a chance this will go away with radiation? He had surgery and they could only get some of it as it's around an artery. He is 77. He is a fighter.

Thank you!

SIRENAF42's picture
Posts: 203
Joined: Oct 2008

I would get with his doctor before sending him creams or rinses as there are so many out there that can burn when you use them. They have to be alochol free rinses, oil free creames... I used Aquophor (for my skin) and Biotene toothpaste and mouthwash, but again every doctor/patient has different protocol.

My docs provided me a list of all the items I would need for protecting my skin and mouth. Im sure his will as well.

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I tend to agree with my friend Sirena that the doctors will have the best handle on what medically-oriented products your grandpa will need, although it is wise of you to understand the need for such, and particularly to understand that burn prevention is vital.

Let me tell you about the two best care packages I received, and you can take it or leave it, depending on grandpa's personality.

The first of these 'packages' was visited upon me when I finally awoke from surgery and four days of induced coma: my room was covered with construction paper (that's right, school kid construction paper) with sayings on each piece of paper with points of inspiration, everyone from Ghandi to Lombardi, courtesy of my daughter, who is no child herself, but who knew, clearly, the impact that these would have on me. They still bring a tear to my eye.

It seems you are not close enough to grandpa, physically, to do such a thing, but maybe you can deliver the goods via postal service. We treasure the thought, young friend, as much as or more than anything else. I do not remember a single flower, a single piece of chocolate (which I couldn't eat anyway) but I will never forget those little posters taped up all around my room.

The other really fine 'package' I received came after I was back home, in fact some months afterwards. I think some people suspected I was a bit down, and one of them sent me a chicken.

That's right: a chicken. He was a small, though gangly, fellow, mostly cloth and stuffing, but with a little noise thing in him somewhere, along with a rubber band/slingshot, so that when I pulled back on the rubber band, finger firmly planted in his throat, I think it was, he would fly across the room squawking, scaring my golden retrievers enough that they both retreated with tails tucked to my bedroom.

I am a sensible (some would argue that) married man with two grown children, my friend, but that made my day :).

Think outside the box.

Your aim is to make Grandpa happy, and to let him know you are thinking of him. Since you ARE thinking of him, I have a feeling you will do fine.

Best wishes to grandpa and his family.

Take care,


jkinobay's picture
Posts: 254
Joined: May 2007

As always, Soccerfreaks is "right on". Sirena's advice too.

Soccerfreaks's story reminded me of what my daughter did for me. She is 30, I am 60 and we live about 1000 miles apart. But, she came for my surgery and was there to help her Mom get through it too. Then, of course she had to return to her responsibilities but on the day my treatments started I got a package from her in the mail. It was a small photo album with a picture on the front of she and I from a long time ago. Then, every one of those 35 days of treatment I got another picture in the mail. They made me laugh, and cry of course, but they helped keep my mind focused on positive things. I had treatments usually in the mornings and could not wait to get home to check the mail. Even during the toughest time.

So, you may want to think about that................and don't forget frequent phone calls and visits as possible.

God Bless............and tell your GPa, he will do fine.


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