Before Surgery


After reviewing multiple scans, conducting an endoscopy and bronchoscopy, both doctors (Dr. D & Dr. Z) have given us the recommendation that Jeremy should have a laryngectomy to remove his voice box.

I’m not quite even sure how to start this update but here we go. We are learning that some days are a step forward, and some days are a step back. Today was a step back.

Both Doctors concluded that the cancer is in his larynx. Previously it was not known how “close” the tumor location was to his larynx, therefore other options were shared. However, the tumor has invaded the cricoid, which is the base and the bottom support of the voicebox. In removing the cricoid (as they would need to do), it would leave no support for his trachea and make it more difficult to swallow or breathe. So, instead of causing more issues, it is preferred to take out the entire structure.

Both Doctors shared with us, that they asked their colleagues within their practices to look at the scans or discuss in person, not only did Dr. D and Dr. Z agree on the treatment, all their colleagues agreed as well.

In regards to radiation or chemotherapy. At this time it appears only radiation is on the table because of the form of cancer. We asked a bit more about this because we were confused why we would “use” radiation when the form of cancer doesn’t respond to it. Here is what we were told: Make a fist and assume that is a tumor; radiation will not reduce the size of your fist. But it will address the microscopic disease in the surrounding tissues. It helps make sure, nothing is “left”. Now again, it is not 100% effective but decreases the chance of re-occurrence.

So, we have the information we needed. It is not ideal and we are both working through this news, together.

What this means for Jeremy:

    • Option 1 and option 2 in from our previous post are no longer treatment options
    • Only Option 3 and now new option: Option 4 – Laryngectomy with Radiation are treatment options
    • He will go through surgery to remove the larynx.
    • He will be in the hospital for anywhere to 9-14 days to recover.
    • He will have a permanent hole in his neck, called a stoma. This is how he will breathe.
    • He will be able to speak, but it will have a raspy voice.
    • He will be able to function normally and it will not stop him from working and doing daily tasks (after he recovers of course)
    • One thing he will not be to do… swim underwater.

Questions you may not want to ask us (we will answer them for you):

    • Have we picked a doctor or facility yet?
      Nope. Our goal is Friday or next week Monday.
    • How are we doing?
      Better today, it was rough yesterday learning the recommendation. Hearing it for a second time today helped confirm and let us work through it officially. We both feel very blessed that this will allow us more time together. As Jeremy says…”This beats the alternative”.
    • What do we need?
      Nothing at this time but thank you!
    • When will the surgery happen?
      We will determine that once we pick the doctor or facility. We are thinking either December or January.
    • We attached another video – we found it realistic and informational. (See bottom)

Jeremy is the strongest, bravest man I know and I have been SO impressed with his positivity and perfect in-the-moment jokes. Seriously…let me tell you about the time we met with the speech pathologist: They had just told us a bunch of information about the larynectomy and Jeremy goes… “Well, this is alot to swallow.” Both speech pathologists and the two of us cracked up and it helped so much. They said, laughter gets you through the tough times and its so true.

Most people would not handle this type of situation with grace and determination but he is! I am so in love with this man and look forward to our 50+ years together as husband and wife.

Thank you for all of your continued support and prayers. We know this was not the outcome we hoped for but I found a quote that has helped me understand “why bad things happen to good people” – GOD GAVE YOU THIS LIFE BECAUSE HE KNEW YOU WERE STRONG ENOUGH TO LIVE IT.

6 comments on “Laryngectomy

  1. Pam Sumrall

    Love you guys – so glad you’ve let us know what’s going on. Will be in prayer for you both.

  2. Virginia Schlitt

    Continuing prayer for your strength, courage and best results possible. Sending all my love from Germany. Virginia

  3. You are in my thoughts and prayers every day

  4. Rob Shulman

    Best wishes to you, Jeremy. I know you’re in good hands.

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