It all started with laryngitis back in October, 2011. Everybody and their brother had laryngitis, and we thought it would pass. Within a couple weeks, when Ken's voice hadn't improved, he went to a local walk-in clinic where he was diagnosed with a sinus infection and given a five-day course of antibiotics. Another ten days passed, and we decided that perhaps a visit to an ENT was in order. Thus began the journey through many, many assorted thoughts as to a diagnosis. Ken was sent for blood work-ups, CT's with contrast, endured many endoscopes in office, and finally the diagnosis that he had a thyroid cancer was made. So, we were sent for additional pre-op studies to prepare for a partial thyroidectomy to be followed by some iodine a few weeks later which would clear up any remaining cells that were still hanging around.
Surgery was on December 30, 2011. It went longer than anticipated. At the conclusion of the surgery, the doctor came out and said that he had done a total thyroidectomy, and had a frozen section done during the procedure. The cells did not look like any of the four "routine" thyroid cancer cells he had anticipated dealing with. He had never seen the kind of cells they found in Ken's thyroid. Whoopee! Ken's unique. I took Ken home from the hospital on December 31, 2011. We would have to wait until the doctor's post op check up to see what the pathology report said, and decide what the next step would be.
Ken was diagnosed with Basaloid Squamous Cell cancer, which was now thought to originate in the larynx, and not the thyroid. Ken's previous tests had shown nothing extraneous in the chest or neck or lymph nodes. These are all good things. Now, we had to set up the appointment with a Radiation Oncologist to set a course of treatment to try to eradicate the cancer in the larynx while attempting to save the organ and fore go further surgical intervention. The appointment with the doctor went well, the facility is great, the treatment will be difficult but not impossible. Ken will also be meeting with a Medical Oncologist on Jan. 16 to discuss the possibility of adding some chemo to the mix. Anyway, we are now in a holding pattern until Jan.30th, when Ken will have a PET Scan to determine if there is anything else hiding anywhere. We have to wait because his surgery site from the thyroidectomy has to heal so as not to give any false positives during the scan, and to make sure that no additional damage is done during treatment.
So, at this point we know that there will be a radiation treatment plan involving 35 days of treatment (Monday through Friday for seven weeks), after which we will see what we will see. We don't know about the chemo yet, but will keep you posted.
Please know that Ken is a fighter. Everyone that knows him is already aware of this fact. Jess and I will be with him every step of the way, and will do our very best to keep him comfortable and strong. The doctor will be putting in a feeding tube prior to the onset of treatment as a safety measure...we're hoping this will not have to be utilized, however, his ability to swallow may be compromised and we want to take no chances as things progress. At some point, Ken will not be able to use the phone, so text-messaging or calls through me would be the way to go.
Continue to remember us in your thoughts and prayers as we head toward the unknown with as much faith and hope as we can muster. We really appreciate all the support and love heading our way. Be strong! Live long! Carry on! Fight!!!!!!!!!!!! This will be our mantra...