John received a diagnosis of metastatic squamous cell carcinoma in early May. He had gone to the doctor after Wilma insisted that the lump on his neck was getting bigger. It took 2 biopsies to confirm the diagnosis but once it was established a team of specialists was quickly assembled. It took about 3 weeks of tests to determine there seemed to be no identifiable source of the cancerous cells and to establish the best course of action.
Since the cancerous cells were concentrated in the lymph nodes of his neck then radiation treatments were the proscribed approach. At the same time a series of chemo-therapy treatments were added to deal with any other cells that might have migrated to other parts of his body. They felt that the chemo-therapy might also deal with the source of the cells if they had missed it in their earlier scans.
It is very difficult to anticipate the effects of these therapies on John's body and life. Each person reacts somewhat differently. Chances are that he will experience pain in his throat as the radiation treatments have their effect. This will mean that he will have trouble eating solid foods a week or so into the treatments. He will also experience nausea along with the chemo-therapy. In general he will be very uncomfortable for the next few months. The 2 therapies are scheduled to take place over 7 weeks.
John has been concerned not only about the his personal situation but how he might manage the other obligations on his plate. Primary among these are the weekly times he spends with Dorothy (his mother), both for the social visits and for the shopping, cheque-writing, and other errands that need to be done on her behalf. Aaron has offered to step as much as he can – including some of the weekly paper runs to Gabriola that John makes. Dorothy insists, of course, that she is able to manage all of the shopping and other activities for the duration of John's treatment.
We know there are many of you out there who share our concern with the difficulties that John will be facing over the next few months. Part of that concern can be managed with up-to-date information on his progress and a method of communicating on an ongoing basis. It is for this reason that I have offered to set up a blog to keep you informed. I will add to it as I learn of John’s progress.
You are all welcome to join in with your own comments or best wishes as the events unfold. We hope that this will not only keep you informed, but will serve as a support to John over the next few months.