Well we never heard of a tumor board before today, but today we went to one. On Mondays the doctors and residents involved in the different cancer cases at VA and Duke meet to discuss treatments, then meet with each patient to inform him of their conclusions. We had two ENT surgeons, a radiation Dr, chemo Dr, a dentist, and another oncology Dr, and at least 5 residents- all crowded into an exam room with Mary, Benjamin, and myself. Benjamin had his notebook. Most of the doctors are Duke doctors.
We found out from the head ENT surgeon that he always prays for his cancer patients, and that the Lord led him to look for the tumor at the base of my tongue.
(I found out that the first anesthesia I had last Thursday gives similar attributes as alcohol; I was talking and answering questions just prior to going in to the operating room, but don't remember any of it. I wonder what I said??)
I will have 7-8 weeks of radiation therapy five days a week, 35 to 40 total treatments5-6 minutes each, and three chemo treatments, starting 11/18. The first 2 weeks I shouldn't feel any side effects, but then it's downhill from there. The last week will be the worst. Painful. Severe sore throat. When I'm done the inside of my throat will feel like it has a severe sunburn. The outside of my neck will be reddened, leathery, with no hair. I'll probably be on a constant diet of smoothies. The Dr said he doesn't want me to loose any weight, that's okay, I'm good at that.
There is an 85% chance of a potential cure, with the surgery option after that. It's always better to know what your options are, way better that the unknown.
The dentist said I need to get a cavity repaired before any treatments.
On Thursday we go back for another CT scan, this one to build the mask and develop the plan of attack for the 6 or 8 radiation accelerators. They bolt the mask to the table to hold my head and neck secure while using their ray guns on me, one false move and they hit the wrong spot, there goes the glottis!
Sometime before the 18th we will meet the Chemo doctor.
So all in all, we feel better about the whole situation, we know now what is going on, who is doing what, probable side effects, chances of success, when we'll be done. And we hope and pray that God's will be done.