Staging the tumor

As I do further research on this thing, it just seems like the thing we need to be most worried about is not the size of the tumor, not so much on whether or not it has spread into adjacent structures, but whether or not any lymph nodes are involved.

Here’s how these things are staged.

A tumor 2cm or smaller is a T1.  Bigger than 2cm but smaller than 4cm, T2.  Bigger than 4cm, T3.  Tumor that invades nearby structures, like base of tongue, mandible, hard palate, etc., T4.

Continue reading

PET/CT Scan done… now we wait until Monday.

20120223_091255

Gail had her PET/CT scan this morning. Of course, we don’t know any more than we did going in, but this will give the two doctors handling her case some more ammo to take to the Tumor Board tomorrow.

(Actually, when I think of a large hospital’s Tumor Board, which is the group that examines each cancer case to come before it to either agree or disagree with a plan for dealing with it, I sort of imagine a Supreme Court — or, if you will, a Harry Potter type setting where professors wearing Merlin hats and long, white beards sit at the head of the room and summon the doctors up one at a time. “You! Step forward and present your tumor!” But I digress.)

It took awhile.

For one thing, forms.

Yes, this was the SIXTH time she’s had to answer the same questions.

Continue reading

Gail meets radiation oncologist, gets some pain relief

408039_147820222005330_100003320589291_197871_1760419038_n

Since we came home from our Hospital/Hotel adventure on Saturday, things have been more or less quiet.  Over the weekend and through the early part of the week, Gail’s throat pain got worse and worse.

So let me tell you, I am in LOVE with the care she is getting from the University of Maryland Medical Center. I found her doctor’s e-mail and shot him a note. He answered in THREE MINUTES! I asked about pain meds, and he said that, as dumb as it may sound, leave the hydrocodone-acetominophen alone for the rest of the day and just get some Extra Strength Tylenol. Take those for the rest of the day, along with as much ice cream, popsicles, etc., that she can stand. “Oooh, she’ll HATE that,” I said. Then he called his nurse and she called me and we have her PET scan all set up. That will be tomorrow at 9 am.

Today, we met Dr. Suntha, the radiation oncologist.  Seems like a great guy.

Continue reading