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.

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Gail meets radiation oncologist, gets some pain relief

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.

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Meet God’s Chosen People

I recall a great line from “Fiddler on the Roof.”

“I know we’re God’s chosen people.  But once in awhile, couldn’t he choose someone else?”

I think my family has a right to feel that way.  My dad died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 54 back in 1983.  My twin brother died of a stroke at age 49 in 2004.  My older brother died of lung cancer at age 54 in 2008. My oldest sister died of cancer at age 57 in 2009. Cancer has struck other members of my family as well.

And now, it’s come ’round by our house.

Dec. 24, 2011 -- Our final pre-cancer Christmas. Oh, she had the cancer. At least, she was already having the earache and sore throat. We just didn't know what it was.

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