The cancer rollercoaster

My brother has been so ridiculously optimistic through all of this. I feel both conflicted and guilty-I don’t want to squash his hope but somebody needs to be realistic here. Does anyone really survive T4N3M1 tongue cancer more than a year…or two max?

I just spoke with Dr. K and I guess I’m some kind of oncological wunderkind.  That’s great.  Wunderbar.  So keep your peepers peeled for my article in the New England Journal of Medicine.  I’m going to title it “The Man Who Kicked Cancer in the Balls and Ran Away Laughing”.

The next day  I spoke to Dr K and she addressed my concerns that either she was not being clear with him, he was not processing what she tells him or he was sugar coating everything for my benefit-she assured me that the exact word she used when talking to him was “incurable”. After his visit with his primary care MD I got a text~

Apparently unwilling to leave any parade unrained upon, Dr T hastened to explain that the masses in my mouth and neck are still there, they’re just smaller. And the average life expectancy for my type of cancer is 10 months.

During my discussion Dr K had told me that in cases like his they are usually talking months but my brother has never asked her details like that. Can you blame him??

He must have texted me as soon as he left the office because I got this awhile later

It’s a drizzly, shitty day.  I passed a funeral procession on the way back from Hines and I pictured what mine will look like.  I see 1985 Ford station wagon with a cargo strap across the back to keep my mortal remains from sliding out at red lights, and you in your little green Fiat with the headlights on, slamming a double cheeseburger because you’re on your lunch hour and have to get back to work.
It’s part of her job to not let patient’s hope grow to unrealistic proportions.  Maybe it’s unfair of me to think that Dr. Tran seems to like that part of her job.
I told him that I don’t think any doctor likes telling a patient news like that. From my experience though a doctor (or nurse) has to come off with a sense of authority so as not to be seen as wavering or weak. If my doctor is going to tell me I’m going to die in 10 months I don’t want them to giggle through that talk.
He went very quiet for a few hours and I wondered what must he be thinking – would he just decide to end it all now that it has been laid out in black and white? That’s what he told me months ago when he first arrived. So, imagine my relief and happiness to get this characteristic message
I ain’t beat.
Dr. K had mentioned T-Cell Immunotherapy.  There was a segment on NPR about it today and it is well worth looking into.  The American medical community is, of course, reluctant to try anything until Big Pharma signs off on it, which could take years.
There are clinics in Mexico who can deliver it right now, today.  It’s only been proven effective against a limited spectrum of cancers.  I need to find out if the one of my have is in that group.
Dr. T gave me some anti-anxiety pills.  She wanted to put me back on Prozac, which caused me to lay awake all night thinking of the best way to kill myself, or back on Celexa, which made me feel like my head was full of sawdust.
We settled on the minimum dosage of hydroxazine.  Truth be told, anxiety is much less of a problem than it was before I was diagnosed.  Death is no longer some mystical, distant thing.  It’s at the door and asking for me.
I am recovering well from my surgery and was able to have him and my son over last night. He actually does look very well and ate like a king. He enjoys the conversation and is genuinely an interesting and funny person to be with.
I worry about the future, I worry a lot but we have some fun stuff coming up and I am determined to help him enjoy life as long as he can.

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