Once again we made all our arrangements and headed to Buffalo the day before the scheduled surgery. We checked into the hotel, called our home voice mail and found three urgent messages from the surgeon -- due to weekend emergency admissions there was no available ICU bed for Mike. The surgery was cancelled again.
Finally on July 25th Michael had his surgery -- a palatectomy, partial pharyngectomy, and instead of a modified radical neck dissection, a comprehensive radical neck dissection. The surgery was about 8 hours long with no major complications other than the change from a modified neck dissection to a radical. It seems that two more lymph nodes had been rapidly growing and were wrapped around the spinal accessory nerve and other areas.
After less than 2 days in ICU and 9 days on the floor, Mike came home -- much stronger than we anticipated and sporting a temporary tracheotomy and stomach feeding tube (PEG). The temporary tracheotomy was removed during his first follow-up visit, happily since he really hated it. Solid food was slowly added but eating and especially drinking were major challenges. Our hope was that swallowing, eating, drinking and speech would improve once he received his prosthetic device.