It’s too painful to clean Dad’s teeth.

mouthpainWhen I made the dental appointment, I shared my Dad’s diagnosis and tumor location. They got him in immediately.

My brother takes him but they find that it’s just too painful for my Dad to have his teeth cleaned or take x-rays. The dentist refers him to a specialist and tells him most likely we are going to have to put my Dad under general anesthesia to clean his teeth.

When my brother speaks with the new Doctor, he shares our concerns with putting my Dad under general anesthesia. He asks if other options like “twilight” medications are an option. Apparently other options don’t work well on patients with dementia. They need to be in my Dad’s mouth for possibly two hours cleaning and doing x-rays. In this Dentist opinion, the other options are just not reliable.

So now, before my Dad can get his teeth cleaned, his primary Doctor needs to approve that he is healthy enough to go under General Anesthesia. Detoured. 

** Apologies, I’m trying to bring my blog up to speed with current events. 

The Glimmer of Hope from the Oncologist

rayofhopeAt our appointment with the Oncologist, we get a quick education on the diagnosis and treatment options. We now understand the location of the tumor and the speed with which it is most likely growing. The Oncologist delivers to us a ray of sunshine that my Dad could be “cured” with radiation. In our case, it’s a palliative option for his comfort. Oral cancers are very painful and it has taken my Dad’s ability to speak, and it’s too painful to eat or drink.

We had scheduled a second opinion appointment and told the first doctor. The first doctor get’s us into the second opinion’s doctor the same day. By the end of the day, we understand that we have 3 options:

  1. Traditional Radiation: A 6-week course of radiation that is a more comprehensive treatment;
  2. CyberKnife: A 5-day course using the CyberKnife technology to bring more immediate and a shorter term solution;
  3. Nothing: Do nothing but work on medications to treat my Dad’s pain and discomfort.

My Dad sits through both appointments quietly. We ask a lot of questions and understand the pluses and minuses of all the options. My Dad agrees he is uncomfortable and would like to fix his tongue.

Our next step is to schedule a Pet Scan to map the tumor for radiation and to see if the cancer has spread. That appointment is set for tomorrow.

Our challenge is to make sure my Dad hasn’t had any sugar, which can show up as a false positive. He usually drinks his coffee with just cream, but we know someone has to be with him to make sure he doesn’t somehow bring sugar into his diet and taint the results. We can’t just tell him, because he won’t remember. My brother volunteers to go down to be on site to make sure my Dad has followed the preparation instructions and is ready.

Once we get the results, we will know if my Dad needs the 5-day or 6-week treatment. We feel the glimmer of hope that we can get my Dad comfortable. Encouraged.