My 37 year old husband, with no risk factors or family history, was diagnosed with head and neck cancer January 4th of this year. He went through intense surgery and they had to remove more of his tongue than the original plan because in under 2 weeks the tumor had almost doubled in size. He then went through 33 radiation treatments and chemotherapy.
We thought we were on the road to recovery. We came in for his one month follow up and the radiologist noticed a firm node in his neck and told us to watch it but she wasn’t concerned. I measured it daily with a digital caliper so that I could note any minute change. Unfortunately he started having discomfort in his collarbone. Within 2 weeks, the lump had grown from the size of a pencil eraser to a jaw breaker candy.
University of Iowa got us in to see the Dr within 4 days. They did a CT and noted there was a mass (we could see that) and we went immediately to get a needle biopsy. His radiologist read the results immediately and his squamous cell carcinoma had metastasized.
The next few days were a blur. The university got him the earliest pet scan and the results went directly to the tumor board the very next day. There is no surgical option and chemo and immunology is his best and only chance. Unfortunately even with the very aggressive treatment his life expectancy is a few months to a year.
My husband’s life has an expiration date like a gallon of milk. How is that possible? We only got 5 months of marriage before I had the first of 3 brain stem strokes. I am the one with all the health issues. I should have died at 3 times already and he is dying. To say life isn’t fair is cliche, but has one cruel and sick plan.
I can’t imagine my life without him. He has made me promise that I will fight to be independent and keep living for him. I have no idea how. Not a single person in our families even want to talk about the possibility of him not making it, and trust me I am praying for a miracle. So I am completely alone in trying to figure out how to be strong for him because he needs me but still just wanting to scream, break things and brawl.