Today we met Dr. Shane Lloyd, the radiation oncologist at the Huntsman Cancer Institute that will be treating Tony.
We found out that the duration of treatment will be six and a half weeks. Tony had radiation in January 2008 to melt away a Lymphoma tumor, so he has an idea of the painful challenge ahead. This time the radiation will be stronger and more than twice as long because this is a more aggressive cancer.
Head and neck cancer is staged a little differently than other cancers. This is stage 4A. As bad as that sounds, remember that Tony is doing well and doctors are going for a cure!
Dr. Lloyd recommended a dental consult. If work needs to be done, it’s best to do it before radiation. As soon as the dental work is done, another appointment with Dr. Lloyd will be scheduled where they will define the treatment area, give him some tattoo marks and fit him with a face mask.
The chemotherapy that is being prescribed has a possible side effect of hearing loss, so Tony will also have an appointment with audiology to see where his hearing is at now so that any loss can be measured. Another possible side effect is kidney damage, so that will also be monitored closely. This chemotherapy will not be as strong as what he received for Leukemia. There will be nausea but he will not lose his hair. Chemo is generally scheduled for a day earlier in the week because it makes the radiation more effective.
Tomorrow Tony will see Dr. Monroe in the clinic for surgery follow up. He will also work with a speech therapist and nutritionist. He weighed in at 164 pounds today, so we may need to make some adjustments.
Tony had his first post-surgery soda today. Root Beer… he started by sipping it through the straw and that didn’t work out very well. I think it was too hard to control where it was going and made him aspirate a little. Later, he tried drinking it instead and he did just fine.
It takes Tony a while to chew and he has to use his fingers to move the chicken around, but he polished off a KFC chicken thigh and mashed potatoes and gravy! #victory
He is always experimenting to see what he can do. Last week we had pizza and he disappeared into another room with a slice. Ha ha
This is the two steps forward before the radiation pushes him three steps back. Who is this happy guy? #imarriedsuperman