Funny, after visiting tonsillectomyrecovery.com and discovering that my pain arc was the same as most tonsillectomy patients, I started to feel much, much better. Overnight I changed from dreading every swallow and attempt to eat, to being ok.
I stood in the back yard late Monday night and thought “I feel normal.” I thought about how I felt before surgery and how I felt then. I was the same. I am slightly lighter in weight, I have some discomfort in my throat, but overall I felt the same. I hope the worst is over.
On Tuesday I met with my surgeon and he reported that he was very, very happy with how things turned out. Out of the forty odd lymph nodes he removed, only two were cancerous. There was, of course, the tumour in my tonsils, but he said that he was confident that they had removed everything that was bad. The margins between good and bad were good, the lymph nodes had not burst out of their capsules. It was all, all good. We arrange to follow up in two months.
Wednesday I visited with the Oncology team. UT Southwestern believes in peer review. Before my surgery Dr. Myers had to present his case to other surgeons, oncologists and the janitor etc. They all reviewed the options and all agreed on the procedure. Before meeting with me, Dr. Wardack, the oncology intern, had sat on a board that went over the biopsy of all the yucky stuff they cut out of me. So he and Dr. Chen, my oncologist, already knew what their treatment course was.
They invited me to join a trial of a chemotherapy drug. This is a drug that has been around about 16 years but has never been used for neck & throat cancer. The drug, theoretically, delivers a therapeutic dose only to the cells in the area of concern. There is a chance of side-effects but hopefully nothing fatal 🙂 In the trial I either get the drugs or I don’t. I asked about the placebo effect on those getting the drugs but they said that at this stage it is not a factor.
Either way, I get state of the art treatment. Next week I have to go and have a mask made that fits over my face and secures me to the radiation makin’ machine. A team of physicists/ Dr’s etc come up with an algorithm as to where the radiation is pointed, at what angle, for how long and what strength. Before they zap me they run a test on some kind of gel that emulates the properties of the human body. If that all checks out they start treating me.
I will have treatment Monday thru Friday for six weeks. I have no idea how I will feel during this exciting new chapter of my life, but I cannot wait to move on.