Yesterday was the appointment with the Radiology Oncologist at City of Hope. We went in thinking it was the first step to starting treatment. It ended up being the first of MANY to starting treatment. It lasted almost two hours.
What we learned:
It’s stage 3
He needs a PEG (feeding tube)
He needs dental clearance
He has to see the Medical Oncologist
He has to see the other Radiology Oncologist after all those appointments take place.
He will have chemoradiation. It’s both treatments arranged in a way for highest results. The general plan is daily radiation for 6-8 weeks and weekly chemo for the same length of time.
Regarding the PEG. We had thought it was an option to assist with keeping calories and fluids up during the weeks of an extremely painful throat. Carlos wasn’t going to do it because it has it’s own set of risks and he’d rather tough out the pain with meds. It was a choice of awful or awful.
What we learned at the appointment was that is a secondary reason. The primary reason is much more daunting. When radiation begins, they will create a mask that looks like stiff mesh. That mask will be placed over his face and secured to the table during each radiation session. It’s job is to prevent any movement to ensure the radiation beams are hitting the exact spots they need to. If he looses weight during this time, the mask will become loose and allow movement and he could end up having to re make a mask and start all over, not to mention possibly hitting the wrong areas. On the 29th he will have a consult with the gastroenterologist to arrange the procedure to place the tube.
The dental exam is to be sure nothing major is brewing and to get a good cleaning. The radiation can damage the jaw bone’s ability to heal so it will be a long while before he could safely have any major work done. That appointment is on the 30th.
The Medical Oncologist will help us choose which chemo to use and the schedule along with answering more of our specific questions regarding treatment.
Today was a hard day for me.
I had to cancel attending Women’s Retreat at Hume with our church.
I had to cancel my plane tickets to see my dearest friend in Idaho for her 50th birthday. I haven’t seen her in a few years. I miss her a ton!
I had to cancel my plans to attend Kickback with our youngest. (our church’s high school camp I’ve attended for over a decade)
I am aware of how self absorbed that sounds. I’m not the one fighting cancer and having my throat burned to shreds. But I felt sad about letting go of those plans. Trading them in for watching my hubby suffer because cancer doesn’t care about these things is hard. So today I moped. I took a nap. I went out to lunch by myself with no makeup and a hat on. I’ve been a caregiver to our daughter for 19 years. I know what it takes. For me, it takes an occasional day like this. Now I feel ready for the next two days of appointments and who knows what else they will lead to.
While I was moping, I was mulling over one of my favorite verses: Jeremiah 29: 11-12
I take comfort in knowing none of this catches God by surprise, but it’s catching me by surprise and I take a while to catch up with His plans for us.
I asked Carlos this morning how he was doing. He’s hanging in there. He’s not like me, he doesn’t talk through all the things. He says things like “well, this sucks”. He knows God is in control and fretting doesn’t help anything. I’m glad for that. It takes strength to have faith and let go of things you can’t control.
That’s all for now. Our list of miracles is growing, the way God shows up in the little things reminds us that He sees us and He leads us.