Surgery Tomorrow

April 22nd, 2009

Hey everyone,

First of all I must say thank you so much to everyone who participated in the dodgeball fundraiser for me last weekend in Steamboat, CO.  Also thanks to those who donated there and online, bid on silent auction items and purchased t-shirts.  Thanks so much.  Also thank you to those who helped put on the benefit.  It really means a lot to me.

Speaking of the t-shirts.  I want everyone to know that I am personally handling the transactions as well as the shipping.  I wanted to be as much involved as possible.  This being said, since I am down in Houston and will be going under the knife tomorrow, there may be a slight delay on when I can get those out to all of you, but trust me, they are coming!  They will be available to buy online until May 18th.  Also, to those of you who bought them before there were more color options, please email me and let me know if you would like to switch your color.  No problem!

Okay, lets get down to business.  I spent all day yesterday and today at MD Anderson having blood tests, CT scans, MRI scans, X-rays, meetings with the anesthesiologist, my surgeon Dr. Myers and my oncologist Dr. Hwu.  The outcome is that I will be having surgery tomorrow morning.

Dr. Myers will be performing a Left Radical Neck Dissection.  It will be the exact same procedure I had done on the right side of my neck a few months ago, in which over 60 lymph nodes were removed.  However, this time he will also be removing my tumor, Gus as well as all the lymph nodes in the left side of my neck.

Since Gus has gotten so big, Dr. Myers will do a skin graft to repair the area where the tumor was.  He will take some skin from my left leg and graft it onto my neck once Gus is removed.  I will have the drainage tubes put in which I hate so much, but they will be removed after a few days.  I will spend a week or so here in Houston recovering.

The doctors will send my tumor to a lab where they will attempt to grow t-cells (the body’s natural cancer fighting cells.)  If they can grow them, they will freeze them so they will be ready if I should need them to be given back to my body in the future.

After surgery, I will most likely be put on a Radiation therapy schedule, but  those details will be discussed more in depth after surgery.

My scans showed no evidence of cancer anywhere else in my body.  The doctors did, however, see a tiny spot on my lung.  They said I should not worry about it because a cancer free person may also show a spot like that.  Out of caution, they will continue to monitor it with scans in the upcoming months.

Some good news is that my blood and tissue show that I am a candidate for two new vaccine programs that I may be getting involved with down the road.  This would mean one day trips to Houston every three weeks for some injections.

Thanks to everyone for your support.

Love, Andy

Posted by andy in His Own Words