Tony's Challenge

When life presents challenges, we get to choose our attitude.

Month: December 2017

Tony on New Year's Eve 2

New Year’s Eve at the Emergency Room

While doing his oral care routine, Tony discovered an infection under the flap along the left jaw bone.

We sent out a Facebook request calling on our prayer warriors and headed to the VA ER in Salt Lake City just before 2 pm on New Year’s Eve. As it was Sunday, our church meetings were about to start, so we stopped in quickly to find Brother Isle and Brother Jensen to have them give Tony a blessing.

There wasn’t really any other choice, even though it was New Year’s Eve. We needed to be at the facility that had all of Tony’s history and a specialist on-call. Fortunately, the VA ER wasn’t very busy so Tony’s exposure to the flu virus that has been running rampant was low.

Tony on New Year's Eve

We drew another blessing card when the surgeon we had worked with on the earlier infection walked in the door. He inspected Tony’s mouth and ordered a CT scan. We caught the infection early enough that he could prescribe an antibiotic and send us home. We were relieved that it didn’t require a hospital stay and more surgery!

We made it home just in time to ring in the new year. Look at how exhausted we were!

Tony and Debra on New Year's Eve

Tony with Speech Therapist

Day 101 Post Chemotherapy/Radiation Treatments

Day 101 Post Chemotherapy/Radiation Treatments. (206 days since near-total glossectomy.) 👅

We are so grateful for all the tender mercies we are experiencing. 🙏🏻 Even the weather cooperated as we traveled to Salt Lake City on Friday for Tony’s 3-month post-treatment appointment. ⛅️

He met with the speech therapist who gave him some great tips on improving his ability to swallow. Tony now needs to focus heavily on strengthening exercises to keep the tissue that received radiation pliable, supple and prevent fibrosis.

Tony with Speech Therapist

The abscess under the chin is now completely healed. I had continued to pack the divot that remained in hopes of coaxing it to fill in. Dr. Lee, the Resident that saw Tony yesterday said that maybe gravity will help over time, but it would take another procedure to make it look more aesthetically pleasing. Thankfully, it’s under Tony’s chin where it isn’t so noticeable.

Tony Under Chin Scar

Dr. Monroe continues to be very pleased 😃 with Tony’s progress. He was a little surprised that Tony is already putting in so many hours at work. Dr. Monroe said that over the next three months, the taste buds in the throat will recover, so maybe food will taste better. Energy levels will continue to improve. Dr. Monroe used to tell people they would feel their quality of life return in six months. Now, after interviewing so many patients, he has learned that it takes one to two years.

Tony can now use prescription fluoride toothpaste to fortify his teeth. (Attempting to use it before now caused a burning sensation.)

When Tony eats oatmeal, he can feel tingling on the tongue flap. The doctors think 🤔 Tony is experiencing phantom sensation. We do know that nerve endings on his chin are reconnecting. He has a dimple-like twitch on his chin that he can’t control. It’s very distracting when you are trying to have a conversation with him. Ha ha

Tony has really pushed himself with food. On Thursday he ate an almond and a cashew! He really wants to be able to take all his nutrition by mouth. Dr. Monroe said for the tube to be removed, Tony needs to be taking 100% nutrition by mouth and not lose any weight over the course of two weeks. Tony set a personal goal of making it happen in 2 months.

After the appointment, I noticed a bit of a happy skip in Tony’s step. Later, he confided in us that prior to the appointment he had been afraid that the doctor would be disappointed that he hadn’t made more progress! I had no idea he was being so hard on himself.

Tony had a blood draw to check kidney function and then we had to wait for a couple of hours for them to work him in for a CT scan so that we wouldn’t have to make another trip. This is the scan that will provide a benchmark for all future scans. Tony’s next appointment with Dr. Monroe will be in 3 months.

It was fun to have Johanna join us for the day trip. We took her to lunch at Johnny Rockets at the City Creek Center and found a green velvet dress that she loved at Rue 21. We stopped at Bob and Helen’s (Tony’s parents) on the way home to exchange Christmas gifts. 🎁

Josie at Johnny Rockets

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