Thursday, June 21, 2007

Post Surgery

Surgery was completed on schedule on Tuesday at about noon. It lasted about 2 – 2.5 hours in the operating room and went well. I spent Tuesday night in the hospital and was released Wednesday morning. All wound drains and IVs were removed prior to my release. That is a big plus for me, not having any unnatural attachments in my body. The incision is on my right side neck and about 5 inches long. It was closed by steri-strips. The one cancerous lymph node was removed. My doctor looked at the lymph nodes around it and balancing quality of life issues with a more severe surgery left them in place based on seeing no evidence of cancer. While I was under general anesthesia, my doctor also took a good look at what he believed were my primary cancer sites in the base of the tongue and larynx areas. He said these looked good and saw no evidence of cancer tumors in these areas as well. They had shown up as cancerous hot spots in PET and CT scans in early December 2006. The chemo over the past 5 months either shrunk them to undetectable levels or destroyed them altogether. I’m hoping for the latter. My surgery recovery will be a week or two. This is almost trivial when compared to the surgery recovery from July 2006. Officially, I’m guessing I would be classified as having no evidence of disease (NED) right now. The big question in most cancer victim’s minds is how long will this respite last. The longer one goes without new cancer tumors the better the chance that the cancer was eradicated from the host’s body. At two years, the doctors begin celebrating. At 5 years they call it a cure. I had two prior periods in the last 2 years where I was classified as NED. Each lasted about 4 to 5 months. We’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope for longer this time.

As to next steps, in about 3 – 4 weeks I’ll begin more chemo to get at the micro cancer cells that are probably still in my body, but at undetectable levels. Remember, my doctors said I was at high risk for a recurrence. I’ll also be rescanned within the next month or two. Periodic scanning will be a way of life for me in the foreseeable future.

Thanks everyone for staying up to date with me via my blog. I have one more entry to write either today or tomorrow. After that, the entries will more than likely be about once per week or when something new pops up. Take care.

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