Sunday, February 17, 2008

Teatment Options for Oral Cancer

It was 6:00 AM when I crawled from the tent to make my first mornings coffee. I was excited today because we were going to take the 4x4 up one of the hardest mud bogging hills there was in the country. Very few made it up this hill and I knew with the new modifications made to my truck by McFarlands Off Road, I was going to be King, as I had proved to be so far this week.

That is the story I wish I could tell. Here is the Real story about my 4x4 Experience!

I was referred to another ENT who reviewed my file. He did his little examination and started to tell me of my options. OPTIONS!........ I like options. That means that I have choices. Must not be too bad, otherwise I would not have "OPTIONS". In the words of the infamous Bill Engvall, "That would have been a big ol' WRONGOH! Things could not have been further from the truth."

I sat in this chair that was fastened tight to the floor. It was very small, sat very upright and would not recline. He proceeded to tell me of my "options". Here they are.

1.) I can go through massive doses of radiation and chemotherapy for about 8 weeks. He described it as being very brutal. At first you won't feel too bad but by the second week, maybe the third week if I was lucky, I would not want to do anything or go anywhere. I would be very sick and feel like total crud! The treatments would be every day, 5 days a week for 8 weeks.

IF going through all of that did not work I would have to have surgery anyway. And then more radiation for a short time.

2.) The second option would be surgery. After surgery I would still require radiation and chemo , but milder doses and for only 6 weeks vs. 8 weeks.

Here is where that proverbial 4x4 came and smacked me right on the side of my head and knocked me cold! He described the surgery which I considered to be nothing less than barbaric!

The incision would start where the upper and lower jaw meet. Then it would kind of horseshoe down and go to the chin. Then they would cut the jaw bone in two. The red line in the picture to the left, indicates the flap that would be cut and the blue line is where the jaw would be cut. The reason for this is, they can not see down the mouth to do the surgery. Your tongue goes back and then down. It stops just above your adams apple. Yeah, I did not know that either. So in order to cut out the cancer they have to make these incisions, Swing the jaw out of the way in order to see to do the surgery. Then they would take some skin from my forearm and some vessels to make the graft for the tongue. The vessels would keep the graft from dieing out.

This would be a 6 hour surgery and then after all was done, they would sew me up like Frankenstein and insert a tracheotomy. Why? Because of the swelling that will occur after surgery. The swelling can get so bad that it would cut off my air and I would die. This also allows me to cough up the crud from my lungs that develops during long surgeries without messing up the graft on the tongue.

It was at this point I came to a full realization that I had Cancer!
I sat in that chair after hearing all he had to say. I was partly sick from the surgery description and partly stunned from the big 10 foot long 4x4 he just hit me in the head with. I sat there and was............well, I just was. I had no feeling, my mind was a blank for a minute. I could not speak , I did not move. I just sat there. And then......emotion took over. It was all I could do to muster up the "Manly Courage", to keep from crying my eyes out! I now realized I had cancer and more importantly , what that meant!

The Doctor all ready for this one? He says.....Are you ok Mr. Resner? Oh MY GOD. Can you imagine what my thoughts were at that time. My thoughts only took about 5 seconds and within that 5 seconds those thoughts were...... You just took my gonads and ripped them from my scrotum and stomped on them just after ripping out my heart and soul.... and you want to know if I am ok. My reply to him was simple, I answered in a weepy yet slightly muffled voice, NO!

He excused himself and a nurse came in to discuss things more. Well, there was no discussion, she had the consent papers to sign. That was her mission, to get me to sign the line. She did not have answers to my 10,000 questions. She did not know much of anything at all. Kind of a dumb cluck actually. But she knew how to shove those papers in my face!

So I took the papers and told them that I need a few days to digest all of this and I would call them back to let them know what I had decided.