After my simulation my friend Danny and I sat for a while in the lobby of Mt. Zion discussing the course of treatment.
Without radiation: 40-90% of recurrence. 100% chance of losing the facial nerve with further surgery. In addition 2-5% chance of malignancy. Using ballpark math, that equates to a 1- 4.5% chance of having a malignant tumor or and/or a 40-90% chance of eventually losing the facial nerve.
With radiation: 5% chance of recurrence. And a .001% chance of a secondary malignant tumor unrelated to the parotid. Plus the side effects. That leaves me with: .025% chance of a malignant parotid tumor, a 2 – 4.5% of losing the facial nerve from a recurrent benign parotid tumor, a .001% chance of a secondary malignant tumor, and a 100% chance of reduced blood flow to my jaw and teeth, as well as heightened sensitivity to the sun.
Of course, the stats are generated by people. And in general I don’t trust people.
Can I have a moment to think about it?
While pondering this with Danny, a crew of firemen charged into the building and anxiously began examining some piece of equipment behind us.
You never know what or when its going to blow.