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Old 07-14-2010, 05:37 AM   #1
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Well, today I'm going in to the Mayo Clinic. I'm probably more relieved than scared. The throat and sinus pain was unbearable last night. I'm going in to see a prominent otolarygologist (for which I'm happy) who specializes in cancer (which makes me uneasy).

I talked to a lady at work who is a breast cancer survivor. She has been very supportive and reassuring. She reminded me that some people travel from half way around the world to visit the doctors in Rochester, MN. I only have to drive 90 minutes. She told me that the system there is top-notch. That there's no "hurry up and wait" like at some clinics. So if I have to be there at 7:45 a.m., that's when they expect me. There isn't a lot of waiting around. I should be processed through the system rapidly.

I don't know what to expect. I'm going in fasted (no food since midnight -- I took full advantage of that). I would imagine some blood work and maybe a CT scan. I don't know if they plan on removing the ofensuve area today or not. It would be fine with me though.

I let you know how it pans out.

I'll sign off now. But if you have time today please say a few prayers, and do an extra set of squats for me.
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Old 07-14-2010, 06:39 AM   #2
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I'm here for ya buddy, it will all turn out for the best.
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Old 07-14-2010, 07:46 AM   #3
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Take care, and prayers are said.
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Old 07-14-2010, 07:48 AM   #4
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Take care, and prayers are said.
^ Ditto.

I'll be thinking about you today Big V. And it is squat day for me.
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Old 07-14-2010, 09:14 AM   #5
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Go Smash Fing Tests Val! SFT! Hoping the best for you man good luck with the tests
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Old 07-14-2010, 12:16 PM   #6
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I was hoping your throat condition was merely from playing a wind instrument.
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Old 07-14-2010, 03:50 PM   #7
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I was hoping your throat condition was merely from playing a wind instrument.

Hope so too! Big V, I'll keep you in my prayers as well!
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Old 07-14-2010, 07:39 PM   #8
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Best wishes!
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Old 07-14-2010, 09:28 PM   #9
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Hope it is something simple.
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Old 07-14-2010, 10:42 PM   #10
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Squamous cell carcinoma. That's the bad news. The good news is it could be much worse.

Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers. BTB, thanks for your squats. I could actually feel the power!

It was a very long day at the Mayo. But man, was I impressed with their professionalism and efficiency. I checked in at about 7:40 a.m. By 7:44, I was in the exam room. By 7:47, an actual doctor was in the room talking to me about my condition and how we could go about making it better. The first doctor seemed to be a "sidekick" to the head surgeon on my team. Kind of like Robin to Batman. He did most of the examination. He was very thorough. Made me gag and almost throw up a few times. But what could he do? He was dealing with the very base of my tongue. And actually, the 15 minutes or so he examined me was the worst part of the day. By 8:30, the lead doctor came in and talked to me more, examined me for a few more minutes, and talked me through step by step the plan for my treatment. I feel really comfortable with my condition and their plan. I don't like what's happening to me, but I can not be in any better hands.

After the initial exam, I was given an itinerary for the rest of the day. Be (here) by 9:45. Be (here) by 11:15. Be (here) by 4:00. And by golly, with the exception of the 4:00 appointment, they were right on time. I got moved through the system "quicker than $#!t through a tall Swede," as my dad would say.

So I said that squamous cell carcinoma was the bad news. True. It isn't ideal. In fact it is life threatening. And as I said it could be much worse. I called a friend of mine, who happens to be a nurse, and he was litterally tickled that it was squamous carcinoma. Because squamous carcinoma is very operable. And squamous cancers in this part of the body respond very well to surgery alone. The doctor said that very rarely is any follow up treatment needed. Either chemo or radiation. So it looks like the surgery and out.

The procedure itself is going to be involved. First they will go in through the mouth and remove the sore from the base of my tongue. Then while I'm still asleep, they will send the specimen to the lab to make sure they got everything. Upon being satisfied, they will close up the area inside my mouth. Then as a precaution, and while I'm still asleep, they are going to remove the lymph nodes from the right side of my neck. This is mostly as a precaution to ensure that the cancer hasn't spread into the lymph nodes.

So in the end, I'll have surgery in my mouth AND outside my neck. The result is that in a couple of weeks I should be my same old self. That's the plan anyway.

I feel I'm in good hands. The anestheseologist I spoke with today said that my doctor is "the best head and neck surgeon in the world." He wasn't sure if it was by design or just dumb luck, but I am in the best possible situation.

Again, thank you everybody for your support. I'm going to need you continued thoughts and prayers (and squats). I'll be fine. I'm down, but not out.
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