In 2007

In 2007 at a family gathering

A few months ago,through a couple of my blogs “The Big C” and “She’s fighting like a girl”, you were introduced to the matriarch of our family, Charlene.  She has been battling throat cancer.  At first the doctors state the success rate of her treatment was 90-95%.

They were treating her aggressively with radiation 5 times a week and  chemo on Friday’s.   Her throat burned for the longest time.  She could hardly eat and would be in tears from the burning.  Because my mother had radiation therapy before she told me about a cream that Charlene could use to help with the burning instead of the ice packs she was using.   After all the chemo and radiation they did another biopsy.  This time the doctor said they were referring her to a cancer surgeon in Orlando and there was nothing more they could do because their petscan was “inconclusive”.

They sent her to U of F Cancer Center in Orlando.  After meeting with the surgeon, a biopsy was done.  It was determined to be squamous cell cancer.  They needed to remove the lymph nodes on both sides of her neck.  It was to be a 2-2 1/2 hour surgery.  Well it took much longer than anticipated.  Her muscles in her neck wrapped themselves around her lymph node and had to be cut.  They had to take the epiglottis, a sliver off the back of her tongue and the lymph nodes.  Well 10 days after the surgery when they returned to have the staples taken out of her neck she ended up back in the hospital.

It was at this time they discussed they wanted to remove her voice box.  They are looking at stage 4 throat cancer.  It was a blow to the pit of our family stomach.  But Charlene, already decided enough was enough.  She did not want to have any more surgery.  So the Living Will was filled out and her DNR was signed under her own free will. (Do Not Resuscitate) She wanted her dignity and this is how she wants to go. So hospice entered the picture.  We beat feet to her house to meet with my father in law and to help the man from hospice to deliver her bed, oxygen and medical supplies she would need.

So now it is just a matter of time.  Because of them removing her epiglottis she can not drink anything.  She could suck on ice chips, she gets her nourishment through a feeding tube. She has a pain patch to try and ease the pain,.

I pray that no one ever has to go through what we are going through now.  I pray that they find a cure for cancer.


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