I received a letter on January 9, 2017 (sent regular mail) from my step-monster informing me of my dad’s poor health. The letter stated that in early December 2016 my dad was diagnosed with Basil Cell Carcinoma in his salivary gland and that on January 11, 2017 he was being admitted to the VA Hospital in Houston to have all his teeth removed and then on January 12, 2017 he would undergo a 12-15 hour procedure to remove the tumor. In order to remove the tumor the doctors planned to remove his entire right ear; ear drum; etc and perform a skin graft to cover the wounds. They also remove some muscle and fat from his leg skin graft and put the muscle and fat in his face to re position his face as the cancer had eaten away at the right side causing his face to droop (similar to a stroke). They would also be placing gold on the outside of his eyelid so his eye would close on its own and that he would be getting an external hearing aid. After all this he would need at least 30 rounds of radiation / chemo.
The reality of what happened. On January 11, 2017 (Surgery #1) my father did have his teeth removed and on January 12, 2017 (Surgery #2) he did undergo the 15 hour surgery to remove the tumor. The doctor was able to leave about 40% of his right ear so he can wear his glasses still. They did not place the implant in his skull (for the external hearing aid) or the gold on his eye in this surgery. The long surgery was on a Thursday and once he was out of surgery he was sent to ICU. He remained in ICU much longer than we expected due to his lung collapsing during surgery (I found this out a week later as my step-mother refuses to share info). He was able to go home on Thursday , January 19, 2017 (7 days after his long surgery). On Monday, January 23, 2017, Uncle Glen took him to the VA to have his stitches and staples removed from his neck incisions (3 of them from his ear to his collar bone with approximately 50 stitches and some staples) and his two separate skin grafts (one on his leg with approximately 25 stitches and one on his belly). The doctor was very pleased with his wounds healing but was upset that he had already dropped 5 pounds since going home the previous Thursday (he is six feet tall and weighs about 100 pounds). The doctor decided to schedule the surgery #3 to insert the stint for an external hearing aid into his skull and add the gold to his eye for that Thursday, January 26, 2017. When my father went to the VA for his 3rd surgery the doctor (the same one who had seen him 3 days prior) was HORRIFIED at the infections that had developed in all the wounds. All three of the wound areas had severe infections. The doctor cancelled the surgery and immediately sent him to sterile critical care and placed him on 2 iv antibiotic drips. He remained in this state for 6 days. On Tuesday, January 31, 2017, while my father laid awake in his hospital bed the doctors opened his leg incision and all the incisions in his neck and attached a vacuum bag device that would work to suck out the infections. My dad went to Surgery #3 on Thursday, February 2, 2017 to have his gold put in his eye and to attach the stint to his skull. They also added another skin graft (from his other leg) to his neck area as the first one died. The doctors do not have much hope for this to take. He is planning on being released to go home on Friday, February 3, 2017. He is going home with both of the vacuum bag devices (neck and leg) and is of course bed ridden as these are attached to him at all times. He will need to go back to the VA every 3 days to have the wounds checked and changed. Once all this heals he is expected to undergo 30 rounds of radiation / chemo.