Chris here -
I haven't blogged in a long time - and frankly I've enjoyed it. The activity on this blog is in direct inverse proportion to Ann's health. So less blogging means no cancer. Well until last week that is.
Dr. G, Ann's Otolaryngologist at MDA (who also performed the surgery on her tongue) called her the other day and gave her the run down on the PET scan results. Basically there are 3 hot spot nodes that look enlarged (1.2cm, 1.5cm and 1.1cm) in the right side of her throat. They all vary between levels 2 to 5, but I will spare you the amateur anatomy lesson on the exact placement of the nodes, just that they are all near the jaw line or jugular.
The surprise came when she noted that Ann's right tonsil is also "hot" on the PET scan. So it looks like we may (may) not be dealing with a recurrence of the tongue lesion from more than a year and a half ago. This could be something "new" that originated in the tonsil.
Considering the timeline of this thing is about 6 weeks and it's exploded into the lymphatic system this makes sense. 6 weeks ago Ann was at MDA and believe me when Dr. K does an exam she palpates Ann's nodes throughly, not forgetting that Ann's original leukemia presented as a reactive node. During that visit there were no enlarged nodes, jump forward a few weeks and Ann notices one at breakfast and calls Dr. B at Mary Bird Perkins. And then last week we have a reading of squamous cells detected in the needle biopsy done two weeks ago.
My working theory is that this is a realtively young disease that originated in her right tonsil. The tonsil is the gateway to the lymphatic system so it has been able to roam freely from the origin source to several of the nodes.
What we don't know at this point is if the cancer is HPV positive. Since Ann is immune suppressed I would guess that there is a decent chance that it is. What little information I have been able to absorb from journals is that HPV positive tumors of this type tend to be smaller tumors with more lymphatic activity. Which sounds bad, but actually has a more favorable outcome attached to it.
Tuesday we are in appointments with Dr. G and the rest of the MDA team and I expect we will know more.
In the meantime the Light of my Life is doing her best to age me prematurely by another 20 years. This morning started with phlegm in her throat which brought on vomiting. Later in the day we stopped by a friend's birthday party for her kids and dropped off presents. After about 40 minutes there in baking conditions (very hot today) Ann fainted and just about split her skull on a door frame. Friends jumped in and made sure Ann was taken care of. We're very fortunate to have such amazing people in our lives.
If you have read our blog for the last couple of years I want to say first " thank you". We have drawn immeasurable support from the comments and contacts we have made through our efforts. Second, I feel I owe everyone an apology that we have to ask you to go through one more round with us.