24 Little Hours
What a difference a day makes….
Yesterday was horrendous. Absolutely horrible. Both Linda and myself were exhausted, worried , in despair and upset.
Last night wasn’t much better, sleep came easy for a while then quickly descended into panic and misery once awake.
Then things got a little brighter. I spoke with the lovely Tracey from Bay Cares, which is a charity set up to help those of us without insurance. She had been collecting everything she needed about me to determine whether I was a suitable person for their assistance and I’m very glad to say, I am.
We have meeting set up for Friday afternoon where we will learn more and I believe she is going to be trying to get us on Medicaid. If that can be done then Medicaid will cover my treatment costs. Obviously I’m hoping that can come about.
They will also help with arranging other doctor and dentist visits.
Today was the big meeting with the big man who has a big knife! Doctor Beggs is an anglophile (loves the UK, British TV and especially the Lake District!).
He came with a plan….actually two options, the choice would be mine.
Option 1 - No surgery but have Chemo and Radiation.
Option 2 - Surgery and the possibility of no chemo or radiation.
Linda and myself had already discussed our best possible outcome to come from this meeting and surgery was our choice n the basis that surgery to remove the cancer might mean less chemo and radiation.
We were correct!
Dr Beggs proposed removing the lump in my throat (robot surgery!) and also doing a neck dissection to clean out the lymph glands on the left of my neck in case there were any loose cancer cells.
His view is that the cancer has been caught early, is very localized and is hopeful that successful surgery means that there may be no need for chemo or radiation.
He went further…..I have some teeth that have collapsed, broken or otherwise in a poor state. They need to come out. So, although as he says he isn’t a dentist, he does know how to pull teeth so he’s going to do them at the same time as the surgery which will save me a dentist bill for doing it.
What a nice guy!!!! He’s putting a robot in my mouth to work on my lump, cutting my neck open with afore mentioned big knife and sorting my teeth all in one operation.
Normally, the lump removal and the neck dissection are done separately but by doing them together he is saving me money.
The surgery is not trivial. Major surgery they call it and it will result in a day in ICU followed by 2 days stay in the hospital. I have yet to find out what this is going to cost but the hospital will work with us. I should be hearing from them to discuss payment plans in the near future.
Post surgery it is going to hurt. It is going to be like having tonsils out so a very sore throat is predicted. I’l take that, especially if I can escape chemo and radiation.
Once I have had a couple of weeks to recover from surgery, my radiation doctor will review the situation and decide whether I need radiation treatment.
I hope not!
It has been another roller coaster of a day but a much happier one.
I imagine everyone is extremely grateful to these doctors who save our lives. The doctors I have been lucky enough to have treat me have all been truly amazing.
I will write more on this soon.
So, we came into today trolling the depths of despair but are coming out with a plan in place, treatment lined up and a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m still concerned about what the hospital will demand from us because the surgery is most likely going to run to tens of thousands of dollars - but we will have to deal with that and try and get the best deal possible.
Tonight we will sleep. Poor Linda is emotionally exhausted and completely drained. She has cried many tears but has carried on like the trooper she is. I couldn’t do this without her.
Stress is still there but at least it is now more manageable. We have trying days ahead and I’m sure there will be many hurdles. There is certainly going to be a lot of pain and a lot of worry.
I know this journey is far from over and I would be a fool not to continually think ahead and react to changing situations.
The surgery has been booked for February 26th - and I have to go to a pre-surgery meeting at the hospital on the 25th. It is further out than I wanted but the Doc is a busy man. I’m going to request an earlier date if there is a cancellation prior to my surgery.
Two weeks after surgery I return to the Hope Cancer Center with Dr Murshed and he will assess the need or otherwise for radiation treatment.
The next significant event is on Friday with Bay Cares and I will no doubt post on how that goes.
I run a Facebook group and a website for people with liver disease. Many of these people have liver cancer so I will continue finding and publishing good articles on cancer on the website. I’ve had some really nice feedback from the group and if through all this I can help some others, then it is very worthwhile doing.
Linda and myself are amazed and humbled by the amazing support we have been receiving and cannot express how much it means to us.