Diapers and Dragons

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Update On My Cousin

For those of you who have been wondering about my young teen cousin, he had surgery yesterday and is recovering fairly comfortably now.

My uncle (who is a doctor) wrote an email full of big medical words. I'm not even going to try to do more than vaguely understand it. I do get the part about Matthew probably needing radiation therapy. And the last line, which is a very good one. But if you're interested, here's what was written:
The diagnosis on fine needle aspiration biopsy last Wednesday of mucoepidermoid carcinoma was confirmed on pathology of the tumor which was removed. It appears to be a low (less aggressive) to intermediate grade tumor under the microscope but did invade the chewing muscle on that side, part of which was removed to obtain a tumor free margin along with the periosteum, the membrane around his jaw bone. The surgeon...was able to skillfully resect the whole parotid which wraps around the facial nerve without disrupting the nerve so that he has full movement of his face. Because the tumor was invading the masseter muscle and was up against the jaw bone, he may need post operative radiation therapy beginning sometime after a month. That decision will be a shared one informed by the known risks and benefits,
realizing that Matthew’s tumor is a bit more aggressive than a purely low grade tumor but that the risk of radiation must take into account his young age and
therefore greater probability of harm in his lifetime. Either way, the probability of cure with simply surgery is very high with 5 year cancer specific survival rates in the high 90 percentiles. That is, while this has been very frightening, Matthew is not likely to die of this cancer. (emphasis added by TM)

As you can imagine, this week has been full of stress for my family, extended as well as immediate. Thank you to those of you who have left kind words and/or have been praying.

Keep it up. The story isn't over.

7 bits of love:

Aludra said...

Phew. Cancer is not fun. That last sentence is very heartening, but you're right to keep up the prayers. I'll make sure to include your family specifically in my general prayers for cancer victims.

Heidi said...

*hugs* I'm so glad to hear that last sentence!!

Will be keeping all of you in my thoughts and hoping that all is as projected by those (very heartening) statistics.

oreneta said...

Glad to hear the last sentence, and glad the hear that the surgery was a success.

*whew*

Hang in there all of you.

Take care.

Mackenzie09 said...

I am so sorry to hear about this Teacher Mommy. I know you're going through a rough enough time as it is. I can tell because you haven't been yelling at a certain black man in class (not to be crude).

But you have all my best wishes and then some :).

So smile and yell in class when you can. Kind of ironic, but hey, it gets the job done.

GingerB said...

Fabulous news. The only person I have known with a similar jaw structure cancer also had it as quite a young man, had the surgery and radiation and chemo and has been cancer free for at least 12-15 years. I don't know how similar the stories are, but I hope this sounds uplifting - it is meant to be!

Anonymous said...

the cousin says he's down to tylenol for the pain and going back to school today!
- SoccerSister

LoriM said...

I've been following this story, too. Love your blog, testing my gravatar.

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