So I’m going in tomorrow morning for the gruesomely titled “Neck dissection surgery,” which I understand a bit better now. As the doctor explained it, tumors can leech out trace amounts of cancer cells that get caught in your lymph nodes. Based on the size of the tumor I had removed, it’s more likely than not that this has happened in my body.
That’s fine, as long as you remove those lymph nodes before they overflow/erupt. So, that’s what tomorrow’s surgery is, hopefully the final stage in our long national nightmare. It’s scheduled at 10:15 AM (just got the word), so I’ll be able to drop Dylan off for his first day of kindergarten (yay!) and head over to the hospital after.
There’s a small chance that once they remove the lymph nodes they find that one of them had burst, in which case, bad news & radiation or some other aggressive shit is in my future. But like I said earlier, based on the fact that the PET/CT scan didn’t show anything like that, and none of my lymph nodes feel swollen or anything, this seems highly unlikely. I’ll know for sure 7-10 days from now when they’re done examining the excised tissue.
And then I just have to heal, which will take a few more weeks. Allegedly I’ll be back to normal or very near normal in terms of ability to eat and drink and enjoy life.
Most people with throat cancers don’t find out in time, I guess I was just lucky. it’s an incredibly survivable cancer, slow moving, non-aggressive, but it has an overall 45% mortality rate ’cause most people find out very late in the game. Hell, even in my case it was very near a stage 3 in terms of size.