We met with Dr. Kim in the Ear, Nose, and Throat clinic this morning. He says that it’s possible that, because of it’s shape, the tumor in Leigh’s right ear may actually be two tumors. He checked his vocal cords, and once again, they were clear.
He does not think that radiation would benefit Leigh, and that after the tumors in his chest and neck are addressed, surgery would be the best option. He agreed with what Dr. Strome had told us last month regarding radiation; if Leigh were much older, it would be a better option, but because of his age and overall health condition, the side effects and risks of the radiation far outweigh the potential benefits.
He feels, as did Dr. Strome, that the biggest risk with the removal of the tumor in the ear is damage to the nerves controlling the voice box and swallowing reflex. He feels that it is quite likely that, to some degree, there will be damage to these two nerves, which will leave Leigh with a raspy voice and the inability to swallow. He is, however, more optimistic regarding the longevity of these conditions. He says that there is a small implant they can put in the voice box, and with that and physical and/or occupational therapy, his voice should be relatively normal within a few weeks. As far as the swallowing reflex, basically the same thing; he may have a feeding tube for a few weeks, but that normal function should be able to be restored. (Dr. Strome had told us that, more than likely, the feeding tube would be permanent.)
We are still planning on meeting with the radiation oncologist (hopefully this week sometime) to get his/her opinion on the radiation vs. surgery debate.