Not sure of the time but don't really care.
Mid Morning lets say.
Thursdays are busy.
As usual, first stop: The Blood Lab for blood work and to check BUN, creatinine levels and white blood counts, potassium, magnesium etc.
We arrive 5 minutes late because I spent too much time applying nail polish. I actually spilled the bottle all over my pretty white bathroom. Two months ago, I would have been livid at myself but today all I care about is being late and causing the day to be late from the start.
10 minutes to take blood from the IV Port and then off to radiation. We are now more than half way thru. They told us he doesn't have to fulfill the entire 9 weeks now and only 8. Yippee! Or... Hmmm, why is that? I'll ask that question tomorrow or perhaps never.
Henry has lost so much weight that his dreaded mask no longer fits his face and they now have an issue with it. His throat is bright red as if he has spent 6 weeks straight in the hot Gobi Dessert sun with no water, just blaring white-hot sun to the throat and neck. Absolutely zero saliva, dry mouth and earaches. No taste and raspy voice. Sores appearing inside the mouth and on his tongue. Oh Ouch. My heart breaks.
No food now for over a month. I can't imagine not eating for a day let alone an entire month!
On Mondays and Fridays, the doctor wants us to always have a visit to see how things are going. Most all of the lymph nodes involved in the neck have shrunk. You can actually see the effects from the radiation. All but one that is. One was so large it seemed to be growing and creeping up his jawline to almost the eye socket. The doctor measured it on Monday and it showed no signs of taking a quick exit like from a burning aircraft. It's exactly the same size. All week this week the machine has been mal-functioning so it seems like they are doing over-kill on everyone. That's the rumor in the waiting room anyway.
Radiation is over for the day so we take the short walk across campus once again for our fun stint in the puke green chairs for chemo. Joy.
After a quick weigh in and a consult with the Nurse Practitioner we find the BUN and Magnesium levels are off but the chemo will proceed for today but most likely won't happen next week as it will instead be an infusion of Magnesium and who knows what else.
While there, I got the brilliant idea to ask what the couple from New York asked last week to get the precise staging for this crappy evil disease we are fighting so hard against.
She gives us a quick but thorough lesson on Cancer Staging.
Here's the run down.
2002 American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) TNM Staging System for the Pharynx (Including Base of Tongue,Soft Palate, and Uvula)
T1: Tumor 2 cm or less in greatest dimension
T2: Tumor more than 2 cm but not more than 4 cm in greatest dimension
T3:Tumor more than 4 cm in greatest dimension
T4a: Tumor invades the larynx, deep/extrinsic muscle of tongue, medial pterygoid, hard palate, or mandible
T4b: Tumor invades lateral pterygoid muscle, pterygoid plates, lateral nasopharynx, or skull base or encases carotid artery
Nx: Regional lymph nodes cannot be assessed
N0: No regional lymph node metastasis
N1: Metastasis in a single ipsilateral lymph node, 3 cm or less in greatest dimension
N2: Metastasis in a single ipsilateral lymph node, more than 3cm but not more than 6 cm in greatest dimension, or in multiple ipsilateral lymph nodes, none more than 6 cm in greatest dimension, or in bilateral or contralateral lymph nodes, none more than 6 cm in greatest dimension
N2a: Metastasis in a single ipsilateral lymph node more than 3cm but not more than 6 cm in greatest dimension
N2b: Metastasis in multiple ipsilateral lymph nodes, none more than 6 cm in greatest dimension
N2c: Metastasis in bilateral or contralateral lymph nodes, none more than 6 cm in greatest dimension
N3: Metastasis in a lymph node more than 6 cm in greatest dimension
Stage 0: Tis N0 M0
Stage I: T1 N0 M0
Stage II: T2 N0 M0
Stage III: T3 N0 M0, T1 N1 M0, T2 N1 M0, T3 N1 M0
Stage IVa: T4a N0 M0, T4a N1 M0, T1 N2 M0, T2 N2 M0, T3 N2 M0, T4a N2 M0
Stage IVb: T4b Any N M0, Any T N3 M0
Stage IVc: Any T Any N M1
When I asked the Nurse Practitioner which one my husband has ... she told me the last two that I underlined and highlighted.
I am on my macbook now but too confused and worried to go check out the statistics etc right now. We are 3 hours in and 3.5 hours more to go.
My husband just had to ask "Ok, if next week, I am not well enough or my blood levels are not right, is it like I didn't get my homework handed in on time and it's just an automatic "F" and that's it or do I have to stay after and do a detention later to make it up?"
The nurses all laughed and said "No, you will just be one less chemo treatment. No makeup work."
That sounds well and good but with the way I worry I am concerned this crap may come back and then what?
His staging looks horrible to me, the radiation machine malfunctions and now one less chemo treatment?
Perhaps I just over worry. I am now worrying that I worry too much. Premature wrinkles?
I'll go check out these stages and survival rates and if I don't pass out from what I discover, I will write on here soon.
Have a wonderful weekend and if I miss a few days, we are fine and probably just resting.
(I still want to escape to Pompeii)
A Girl can Dream, right?