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Contributed by Jim Nelson, consultant to CAIRE Inc. ~

Well, my new basement is progressing nicely, thanks mostly to a gentleman contractor by the name of Kirk who actually knows what he is doing. Not long ago I decided to do the framing and the electrical and the plumbing myself, something my wife, Mary, and my daughter, Wendy, refer to as the “basement that Uncle Jim and YouTube built.” It has been a lot of fun and quite educational, and is something I never, ever have to do it again! In the beginning of the project, even I knew that I was not going to try to attack the dry-walling. Heavy, messy, and it is near to the actual surface of the creation. Any errors in the application tend to show.

So, the basement proceeds apace. So, unfortunately, does the squamous cell carcinoma I told you about recently. We are almost through my first regimen of chemotherapy, and there have still been no real signs of improvement in the varied spots and lesions and tumors that presently mar my countenance. If anything, they are larger and more numerous. Not terribly encouraging. My medical oncologist has investigated another specialized medication that is good for head and neck cancers, but which is not so good for those of us who have been recipients of lung transplants. Causes inconveniences like death. 

So, he suggested that I meet with their radiation oncologist. They really don’t like to use radiation within six months or so of the last round of microwaving, but it seems that we are a bit short on ideas that actually might work. So, we met with the radiation specialist.

We discussed the whole thing again. It seemed like we were going over it for the 100th time. The initial biopsy, the Mohs surgery, weeks of radiation, more weeks of chemotherapy, and still with the spots and lesions and such. So now what?

Well, one new twist! The radiation doc had been talking with one of their surgeons who specializes in ear, nose, and throat. She had agreed to consult on our case through email. If she would work with me, it could involve surgery to remove a good deal of the cancers that are populating my cheek and jawline. It would be pretty dramatic surgery, and would likely involve skin grafts and possibly some plastic surgery.   

At about that stage of the appointment, the radiologist was called out of the room. Mary asked me how I felt about the possibility of such an approach. I told her that I was all for it. I was not, I reported, done with me quite yet. She agreed that she felt the same.

When the radiologist returned, he told us that the ENT surgeon had agreed to meet with us. It will be a long day. I start with labs at 9:50, followed by a doctor’s meeting and finally my next infusion at about 12:30. We are then to meet with the new ENT doc at 3:30. Mary and Wendy are going to join me at the appointment, so that they can tell me what I forgot.

I will report again very soon. I am pretty anxious to hear what the doctor has to say. If she agrees to perform the surgery, there is every likelihood that they will then follow up with more radiation. Still not likely a  cure, but maybe slow-down.

More soon …

Love y’all,

~ Uncle Jim

Jim Nelson is a double lung transplant recipient and a patient advocate for COPD patients throughout the U.S. and around the world. He and his wife, Mary, are well known patient advocates and brand ambassadors for those organizations who tirelessly endeavor to help those individuals who suffer from a variety of respiratory diseases and the caregivers who support them.

If you have been prescribed oxygen therapy, learn more about CAIRE by visiting or calling 1-877-704-0878 to talk to an oxygen advisor. 

When using any oxygen therapy device please consult the applicable product instructions for use for product indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, and detailed safety information.