Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pappy, We Hardly Knew Ye!

Monday morning I had an appointment with Doctor B, the ENT who did the biopsy back on May 21. This was a routine 1-month follow-up.

Finding number one? I clearly have a sinus infection. We have to take care of that pronto because the chemo is about to start compromising my immune system and it will become harder and harder for me to fight any infection. Even a fever of 100.5F at this point means I should call the oncologist immediately. So Doctor B prescribed an antibiotic for that. Bactrim, which is supposed to be very well tolerated and not cause stomach upset. We'll see.

When he got to my throat Doctor B used the same special technique he had used before to see the base of my tongue. He has me lean forward. He grabs my tongue with some gauze and has me open wide and pant slightly. Then he very carefully uses a dental mirror to look down my throat without touching anything. He's good at it!

He said Pappy the Papilloma is already essentially gone! He told us that in some cases this condition really does respond dramatically within just a few days of the first chemo round. Amazing! I repeated that to the Nurse Practitioner and Doctor Chemo at Dana Farber yesterday and they confirmed that it happens.

It doesn't mean anything about the duration of treatment, but I still find it amazing that it could respond that quickly. It made me envision the tumor as sort of a cellular foam that is dividing very quickly. Starve it of raw materials to make new DNA and it stops "frothing" and the existing cells die and viola, gone. I doubt that's a valid biological description but it seems like the process must be something like that for the thing to go from walnut-sized to nothing in a few days.

Doctor B also mentioned that such a occurrence is very prognostically positive. He was clearly excited.

Meanwhile, there's Lumpy the Lymph Node. The radiation oncology nurse told us last week that radiation would "make it angry" and it would get bigger before getting smaller. It has. The size has only increased a little, but the hardness is much increased. The globus sensation in my throat is gone (due to the disappearance of Pappy), but when I swallow I can now feel the hardness of Lumpy next to my throat.

Let us have a moment of silence for our dearly departed Pappy.

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