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Journey to the Summit
Attorney at Law
Webb Stokes & Sparks
Max Parker -
•Married 27 years. 5 children. 3 in college.
•Partner/Attorney Webb Stokes & Sparks 35 years.
• Board Certified Personal Injury Law. Super Lawyer as named by Texas Monthly Magazine.
•Vice President of San Angelo Independent School District Board of Trustees 2005 to present
•Coordinator- Christian Breakfast Fellowship for over 20 years
•President San Angelo Texas Exes Association last two years
•Concho Country Emmaus Community Board of Directors 2012-2014
•President, American Board of Trial Advocates, West Central Texas Chapter 2012-2013
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Max had sent me a note stating that this was a Scripture that he kept close to his heart through this journey. Welcome home Max!
This is the mask he had to wear during radiation treatments. The photo was taken one week after his treatments ended.
I have completed another week, and will enter my last week of treatment, Monday. This will be the week we "summit", as Rob Junell might say when climbing the highest mountains in the world. But unlike Rob, I WILL summit, and will not be controlled by weather or other conditions. I will be on the mountaintop Friday morning and "ring the bell" that all cancer patients ring after their last treatment. And unlike many, I WILL know I have been cured. A cancer free, Cancer survivor. Praise God, my medical team, all those praying for me, and my family of caregivers. I am blessed. Here is the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of my progress this week.
1.) 6 chemos down, 1 remaining.
2.) 29 radiations down, 6 remaining.
3.) On Wednesday, Doctors performed an endoscope procedure where a tube was placed through my nose down into my throat. The tube is equipped with a light and a camera so the doctor can project on a computer screen what he is seeing and record the results. The tumor which had been on top of my epiglottis is gone! The swollen lympth node that caused me to see the doctor in the first place is no longer swollen. The doctors say my cancer (except maybe microscopically) is gone. The protocol has worked as it was designed.
4.) My weight has not only held up, but I gained a 1/2 pound this week. So, no feeding tube will be necessary. 60% are more throat cancer patients usually need a feeding tube. The doctors say I am a poster boy for throat cancer patients. They asked for my secret. I told them the same things I mentioned above when expressing my praise: A merciful God, skilled oncology team, hundreds praying for me, and my family of caregivers.
5.) This is good and bad. I am able to get 6 Boost and 3 Yogurt down per day. But it is getting harder to swallow and has terrible aftertaste. I shake like a baby on a winter morning after every "meal" it affects me so. Yuck.
1.) I still have one week of treatment left, and I really had more throat and mouth pain this week. I am using the hydrocodone once per day in the mornings for pain so I can eat and drink. I may have to start using more. I am allowed to use 6 times per day, so I still have a big buffer left. But it is surprising how much more the pain picked up this week. The last two days have been the worst.
2.) I am getting tired. Sleep is very erratic. I have to sleep elevated on three pillows to help with drainage of saliva. I "sleep" in maybe 30 minute intervals and then have to "clear" my throat ( See "The Ugly") . I am familiar with all 480 minutes of an eight hour night. So, I am feeling rundown.
3.) My neck and throat are becoming more burned exteriorly as well as interiorally. Hopefully, it does not get much worse next week. And the rash is all over my collarbone area which cover the lowest lymph nodes they are treating. I cover my face in an oily like lotion for the burn, and I take two medications to fight the rash.
4. ) Just because the treatments end next Friday the 18th, does not mean, everything changes immediately. Radiation works somewhat like an oven in some ways. They turn the radiation machines off Friday, but I keep cooking like an oven keeps cooking when you turn the oven off but keep the oven door closed. I will have effects from the radiation for maybe 2 months.
5.) So, my taste buds and throat will not have a strong chance of healing for at least 2 months. I will probably stay on my Boost and Yogurt diet for some time.
1.) The saliva and the phelgm. Sometimes both flow so freely, I am constantly spitting (expectorating) into a tissue or a toilet. Other times it is so thick, that I have to cough it out. At night, I totally go through a large box of Klennex Ultra and have a trashcan beside the bed to put the tissues. Gross. And the sounds for clearing my throat are awful. So embarrassing, but so necessary. Ugly does not really describe it.
But….. all in all….compared to others…..I am Blessed.. Really. I think I still look healthy and most times, feel healthy. And my pain is not near that of others, who not only are using feeing tubes and lots of hydrocodone, but have pain patches.
Updates on others:
Lisa: She has one more radiation treatment Monday. She is very tired and having a hard time eating. She is so thin. Less than a 100 pounds. Looks like a POW survivor. She has lung cancer and has not had any chemo in the last three weeks because of low blood counts. She needs prayers that she not only finishes treatment, but that she gets a good report when she comes back for scans in 3 months.
Donna: Have not heard anything more from her or Sarah.
New prayers needed:
Rosemary: Phlebotomist (blood) Nurse at the Center. She is from Uganda. Been in the states for about 8 years. She is one of 8 children raised in Uganda. She and a brother are in the states. She is studying to become a registered nurse. She is taking online classes which are difficult for any student, but especially someone from out of the country as you have to basically teach yourself the course. She has a major exam on February 1, she HAS to do well on. She has not done well on an earlier exam and needs to do well on Feb. 1. I told her I would be praying and would ask others to pray also. So, mark your calendar for Feb. 1 and offer up some prayers for Rosemary.
Ryan Terrill: Maybe you have heard about problems that Ryan is having. He is the grandson of Dela and Burt Terrill. A terrific young man. He is a freshman on the gymnastics team at OU this year. He was a champion gymnast for the Bobcats last year. Here is a photo I took of him at the state meet.
Ryan has been diagosed with a rare muscle cancer that has required him to have two surgeries and will require 22 weeks of chemo. While I may have been climbing Guadalupe Peak in my battle with cancer, Ryan is climbing Mt. Everest. He is back at OU and will receive his treatment in Oklahoma, I believe, while he attends school, but he needs our prayers. He has several good things going for him. He is healthy and young and has a strong body. He has a positive attitude. As a gymnast, he is dedicated, determined, and disciplined, all attributes he has to have to battle cancer. And he has many Christian friends and family praying for him. I fully expect Ryan to recover and continue to be the Champion he is. May God bless him and his family during this ordeal.
Thanks again for all your prayers, your support and your emails. I hope to see you sometime after the 18th in San Angelo.
May God bless you and your families.
& Industrial Supply, Inc.
808 Warehouse Road
San Angelo, Texas 76903 325-655-0075
Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.