the next step

Hi Family and Friends.

Jen again.

I wanted to share a photo of the family at Thanksgiving and also update you on the next stop on this lovely path we're on. But first the photo.

Awwww.

Now on to the sucky stuff.

As you know, my doctors have decided not to radiate at this time. Instead we are headed in for another surgery at the end of January. This surgery will be very similar to the last two and at the same time, entirely different.

This time, Dr. Robert Weisman, an ENT oncologist, will be performing the surgery. He's basically going to do a staging procedure. He is going to remove uniform samples of my tongue. When we've gone in before, we've gone after affected areas and essentially just kept digging until we had clean margins. This time he is going to take out a uniform piece at each level to see where the cells appear in the tongue. We are also going to remove the lymph nodes in sections 1, 2, and 3 in my neck. At the end of the procedure and after running the pathology there are two possible outcomes. He will either be confident that what he found was small enough or contained enough that he got it all and I will be on a watch and wait regimen again. Or he will find it in too many lymph nodes to be comfortable with doing nothing. At that point we will discuss things like chemo and radiation. He seems hell bent on keeping me out of radiation, and I'm all for that, considering the long term effects.

The surgery will be much more intense than the last two and instead of being an outpatient procedure, I will most likely have to spend a night or two in the hospital. He will be inserting a drain into my neck to help it heal. Once they are confident I am healing well, I am allowed to return home. The recovery will be similar to last time, but a little more prolonged as each time we do this my tongue takes more and more time to heal.

We do not have an official date for the surgery as of yet because our insurance is changing at the start of the new year and they refuse to run preauthorization on everything until we have the current information. So we should have a date in the first week of January, hopefully. Right now they are holding January 27th for me, but we shall see.

Thank you everyone for checking in on me and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. I'll be back with updates after the new year when we have them.

My love to you all.