Thursday, April 05, 2012
I am writing to fill you all in on what is happening in my life at the present time. Last week we learned that my husband has cancer - again. About four years ago my husband was diagnosed with squamous cell cancer above his left eye. Squamous cell cancer is easily treated if it is caught early and treated properly. While Craig's was caught early, it was not treated properly. He was given a cream to use on the lump that is only to be used on Basal cell cancer. When the cancer got worse he was sent to have surgery. Several weeks post-surgery a lump began to grow under his incision. He returned to the surgeon who pronounced it "not cancerous". We went merrily along thinking that it was fine, when it suddenly grew in size. Craig decided to see a new dermatologist who left his office to bring in a Mohs surgeon who had an office in his building. That surgeon declared that his lump was definitely cancerous and "too involved"for him to even touch and advised that we go immediately to Johns Hopkins Hospital immediately.
We went to JHU where my husband had Mohs surgery, three years ago last Christmas. Even then, with some of the world's best surgeons, it was very difficult. The surgeon actually stopped midway through surgery to come tell me that it was much worse than expected and that they were currently "just trying to save his eye". This was being done in an outpatient surgery center and they had realized that it was so bad that it should have been done under anesthesia. However, at that point, the cancer had not all been removed and had now been invaded by the surgery and the removal needed to be completed and the problem was being able to do it in a way that my husband could tolerate. They were using local anesthesia and pain killers in what turned out to be major surgery. They ordered more pain killers, used more local anesthesia and I gave him a pep talk (about using the tools we women use to get through labor, etc.) He got through it but just barely and became delirious on the drive home.
My husband had another lump develop several months ago and a new doctor (new insurance) told him that it wasn't cancerous. I know it sounds stupid as I write this, but we believed it. In the past month, the lump has grown a lot. Last week he saw the doctor again who declared it to be cancer and said he needed surgery ASAP. We received a call on Monday to be at a surgical center on Tuesday morning. We were there eager to have this taken care of. The surgeon examined it an refused to operate. He attempted to make some noises that meant it wasn't a terrible situation, but we came away believing that this is a pretty terrible situation.
The doctor wanted a consult with a head and neck surgeon and a CT scan. It has now turned into a consult with two other surgeons and a PET scan of the neck and carotid artery. I saw the surgeon examine my husband's neck when we were there. Now I believe that he felt something in his exam.
Needless to say, we are terrified. We are trying to stay positive for ourselves, each other and our kids. We are also trying to keep this news from our daughter who is in China doing study abroad for 5 months and has only been gone for 7 weeks.
Please send your thoughts, prayers, good vibes, etc. our way. We are grateful for all of it.