I asked Dr. C. (who is the shizznit, by the way, and about my age) how terrified I should be.
Her reply: "Not terrified. See, this particular type of cancer is weird. We used to group it in with pleomorphic adenoma, which is totally benign--you take it out and that's it. Then we noticed that some types of pleomorphic adenoma would come back, so we started calling this sort polymorphic low-grade adenocarcinoma.
"The important thing about this tumor is that, when it gets bumped or irritated by food as you're swallowing, it can develop malignant bits, while the rest of it down deep stays normal. So the thing to do is to talk to it, tell it it's going to remain normal throughout the rest of its course, and we'll get it out.
"Either way, worst-case or best-case scenario, with your age and general health, this is not going to kill you."
So: best case scenario is a shallow lesion that does not intrude on my teeth or palate and which the oral surgeon could take out, and no radiation.
Worst-case scenario is a deep lesion that would require removal of teeth and a muscle graft to form part of the roof of my mouth, and radiation--but even that comes with a benefit, which is a cross-scalp incision that would tighten up my forehead.
I'll get a CT this week, an MRI next week, after the inflammation from the original cutting subsides, and we'll decide what to do after the oral surgeon and the ENT guy put their heads together.
Keep prayin', people. Eventually we'll get to the point where this blog can be about freaking NURSING again, and not being on the other side of the stethoscope.