Hey Bob and Mary
It's been awhile. I hope all is well with both of you. Are you in
Florida or Sugarloaf? How bad is Mary kicking your ass?
Unfortunately I have some bad news to relay.
I noticed a swollen lymph gland on
the left side of my neck in August and went to the Dr. at that time.
My blood work came back normal so I waited until I got settled up
here in Ithaca before going to the ENT Dr. in early October.
The short of the story is that I
have metastatic squamous cell carcinoma. On November 14, I had a
modified radical neck dissection where they removed the swollen
gland that I had noticed plus 23 other lymph nodes, 7 were positive for
cancer on histology, the largest was 4.2 cm in size. Since they were
unaware of where the primary tumor was (lymph nodes do not have
keratinizing squamous epithelia, therefore the cancer in them had to
come from somwhere else) they also did a series of "blind" biopsies
(8 different locations in oral cavity) to find the primary.
They did not find the primary then,
but my CT scan suggested that the primary might be in my tonsils as
one side was enlarged, so on Dec 30th, I had my tonsils
Unfortunately, the pathology on the
tonsils was negative for cancer. To date the do not, and possibly never will, know where the primary tumor is/was. Therefore I am considered
to have "occult" head and neck cancer. The parameters of the cancer
place it as stage IV and the reality is I have an approximately 50%
chance of survival.
To say that I have been a little
overwhelmed would be an understatement, but I have kept a positive
outlook. I even got out for the first time since late October for a
bike ride. I did a 3½ hr ride on Friday as the weather was
Just think when I was kicking your
flabby ass this summer it was as a cancer victim :-)
I am scheduled to begin combined
radiation and chemotherapy on January 23. I will be receiving three
chemo treatments starting on the 23 and then every two weeks. I will
also be receiving 33 radiation treatments starting on the 23 and every
weekday until the 33 treatments have been given.
I am lucky in that my girlfriend
Kristin, my hiking partner, has quit her job in Watertown and has
moved in with me to take care of me during the treatments.
I look forward to the summer so I
can kick your ass with my new cancer induced increased strength to
weight ratio, ie. think Lance.