So here's the update to my unintended journey that began for me on the 1st August. Today was the day that I would be finding out the results of all my tests and scans and the extent of the cancer in my throat. We have adopted a saying in the Moss House of 'Hope for the best and prepare for the worst' so in that sense we go to each of my appointments with a perhaps slightly pessimistic approach..
Today's appointment was a mixture of good news and not so good news. The good news was that my chest was clear and that the cancer was localised to my neck area, the not so good news was that the cancer has gone into some of the cartilage that surrounds my voice box and this has a big impact on the way it can be treated.
I was therefore given two options to consider. Radiotherapy on its own to attack the cancer or a laryngectomy and radiotherapy to attempt to completely eradicate it. This was just a snippet of the details of the appointment and we did discuss the options in far more depth than I can put here.
In normal circumstances the radiotherapy used to attack the cancer would be enough, however, as was explained to me, the radiotherapy is not that successful when it comes to cartilage and the prospect of the radiotherapy not being successful was quite high. If I took the route of radiotherapy only and it did not completely clear the cancer or the cancer returned I would still have to undergo an operation to remove my voice box, but due to the nature of radiotherapy and its effect on tissue, the operation would be difficult and the chances of success would reduce significantly.
The other option and the option recommended to me by my Multi Disciplinary Team was to undergo a laryngectomy and radiotherapy, the chances of success and cure are far higher and although it is a major operation there would be likely to be less complications then if I went down the other route.
Obviously the laryngectomy is an operation that has life changing implications but after chatting with my consultant and other members of the team, I was assured that once I was back on my feet and had adapted to the differences, then a normal life style was completely achievable.
And that is the decision I, along with my wife Tina, have elected to take. I will be having the op in the next 2-4 weeks with a recovery period of approximately 8 weeks thereafter and will hopefully be looking at returning to work shortly after that.
So, is the glass half full or half empty? Obviously I'm a bit pissed off and disappointed that I have to undergo this procedure, but it is what it is, I cannot change anything and I have to be pragmatic about what is best for me, my family and our future.
I'll leave you with a quote from Hubert Humphrey to ponder:
“Oh, my friend, it's not what they take away from you that counts. It's what you do with what you have left.”
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