Friday, June 4, 2010

The Cancer

Well my father has cancer. We've been going to appointment after appointment for weeks and weeks now, waiting to find out exactly what that means. Here's what that means:

On June 14th, he will undergo a full laryngectomy, which will remove his larynx, his vocal chords, and the lymph nodes in his throat, as well as reconstruct the way his esophagus and airway function. He will no longer breath through the same hole which he eats through. He will have a stoma in his throat through which he will breath, effectively cutting off his ability to smell, which will then also affect his ability to taste. The worst part is that he will entirely lose his ability to speak. Completely. We will eventually get him a machine that he holds in his hand and puts up to his throat which will create sound waves/vibrations in his throat that he can manipulate to make words, sounding a little like Darth Vader. Until we can afford one of those, he will use a pen and paper. I think I am most sad about this.

After the laryngectomy, he will be in the hospital for 10ish days to recover. From there he will move into a nursing facility to recover, where he will stay throughout the entirety of his radiation treatment. This is the most wonderful news we could have received. I had no idea what I was going to do with him during those three terrible months, but the hospital came through and gave us a social worker who will help. I love the hospital. I literally cried when they told me.

I don't know what will happen after radiation. I do know that he has a 40% chance of surviving the next 5 years. Those are apparently really great odds. They don't look great to me. 40% is failing. I hate failing.

I am surprised by how okay I am. Until this week, it was harder, but now that I know the game plan, I am doing much better. I still have a lot of work to do on his financial aid status, but I am doing okay.

Here's hoping that all of this will end well. And that someday it will actually end.

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