Throat Blog — Up in the Air, Again

I found out when I had my followup with my ENT surgeon that the biopsy they did at that time was just from tissue in my throat, not from the mass in my neck. I was rather gobsmacked when I heard that, as the cancer was never in my throat…it was in a tumor in my neck. So, I’ve had a few weeks of false relief. Well, I guess the relief at that time was real, but it was based on a false premise.

When we looked in my throat during that appointment, you could basically see the tumor (because I’m convinced even without the 2nd biopsy that it is a recurrence of the original tumor) pushing into my trachia and basically closing it. Very little airway left. On the plus side, it actually makes my voice a bit louder, as that entire squished together area vibrates with the air pushing through. But, plenty of downside, too.

For one, it is progressively making it more and more difficult to eat and nearly impossible to drink. I’ve been able to keep up with calories (at least 1800/day) but my hydration has suffered. Suffered enough that I suggested getting a G-tube (PEG…tube into my stomach for hydration and nutrition) placed, again. Even though I hated having it in, before, I much prefer it to dehydration and starvation. The lesser of two evils.

Today, I got the tube put in. Simple enough that they don’t even put you under. But they do give you fentanyl and Versed and keep you overnight so that they can check to be sure everything sealed up good. Tomorrow they’ll inject some dye into the tube and watch on a fluoroscope to be sure everything goes where it should be going. Until then, no food or drink by mouth (or tube). I’m getting IV hydration…and probably starting to get hangry. I could use a good burger right about now.

Next, I’ll be getting the Ultrasound FNA biopsy. Hopefully this week, but no one has called to schedule it, yet. I had hoped that I could get it done while I’m here, but apparently insurance would be an issue…it is approved as an outpatient procedure, but since I’ve been admitted to the hospital, it would probably have to be done as an inpatient procedure, which insurance hasn’t approved.

Probably a moot test, though. It looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and swims like a duck. The biopsy will just confirm that it really is a duck. Shortly after that positive (well, in the medical sense, not the emotional sense of the word) result, I will likely be scheduled for a full laryngectomy. By shortly, I mean it could happen as early as later this week. I’ve got mixed feelings on that. I would really like to be able to do my training event in San Diego next week. On the other hand…this needs to be taken out of my neck ASAP. The bigger it gets, the more problems it causes, and, I would imagine, the more surgical complexity it would add.

Meanwhile, the G-tube hurts when I cough, but otherwise looks OK. And, they’ve got morphine to take the edge off the cough pain. Since I can’t drink or eat, coughing is greatly reduced. I do plan to continue to eat as much as I can by mouth for as long as I can, then supplement with tube feeding if necessary.

I titled this post “Up in the Air” but really probably sinking pretty low pretty quickly. I’ll try to keep my head (and trach tube) above water and carry on as best I can for as long as I can.

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