A Tech Report

Last time I was here I was awaiting three major events in this newly declared war on cancer, a PET scan, an Endoscopic Ultrasound and a visit with my oncologist, those things have happened.  There was some good news and some not so good.

The PET (positron emission tomography) scan provided the good news.  The only indication of cancer was in the lower esophagus, in the area of the previously discovered tumor.

Procedurally, the Endoscopic Ultrasound or EUS was very similar to the EGD i.e. a highly sophisticated borescope inspection to include some very detailed pictures.  You can thank me for not sharing those.

The tumor is, or was a week ago, 2.1 cm in depth, for you non metric types that is .826 in. it seems to be increasing in size kind of quickly.  The esophagus wall and some lymph nodes in the area are also affected.  We originally thought the cancer was Squamous Cell, however a second biopsy identified it as Adeno carcinoma which is much more common to that area of the esophagus.  Because the lymph nodes and the esophagus wall are involved the cancer is classified as stage 3.

The oncologist laid out a game plan to go attack this thing, and yes, the road is going to be long and rocky.  In a nutshell the plan is radiation, chemo and surgery.

The radiation and chemo will be administered simultaneously in Norman.  The radiation five times a week for six weeks, the chemo once weekly for that same six weeks.  Prior to starting those I will get a feeding tube because it is already difficult to eat and it will be impossible to get enough calories down, if I can swallow food at all, during the early stages of the treatment. I didn’t ask but I don’t think a chicken fried steak will go through that feeding tube.

The surgery will follow the radiation and chemo by a few weeks.  It will be done at the OU Medical Center in OKC.  I don’t have much detail on it at this time I will meet with the surgeon in the near future to further discuss the details.  The oncologist did say, it is a pretty significant procedure.

Sometimes my thoughts need to remain on this side of the keyboard, tonight is one of those times.  I’m not sure when I will be back, it may be a while.  Until then keep my family in your prayers.

Good Night and God Bless

Dave

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Been There. . .

Have you ever started down the highway to a place you have never been but for some strange reason the road seems very familiar.  You remember that unique billboard or the old barn that is leaning but still standing.  Then it dawns on you that you have indeed traveled this stretch of highway but this time the intended destination is not the same.

This week I started a journey down a stretch of life’s highway not previously traveled however terms like PET scan, Radiation, Chemo and Carcinoma sounded very familiar. All I had to do was think back to yesterday or a long time ago (actually 8 years and about 4 months ago).  Difference is the previous trip I was the support guy, this time I am the guy.

I want to thank Lori for putting the blog together earlier in the week; key words in it were “My Dad has Cancer”, anything I would have written that evening needed to stay on this side of the keyboard.

Please understand we aren’t seeking sympathy or attention.  We just prefer you hear factually from us, instead of Coffee shop or Beauty shop rumor, the situation as we know it.  Also, I cut my blogging teeth writing about this thing called Cancer, I found it to be an effective stress relief tool and yes, I am a little stressed this week.  Did I mention that I acquired a bit of a writing habit along the way.

I had intended to make my first post a complete tech report with some detail on the diagnosis and treatment plan, how silly of me, those things haven’t happened and won’t for a couple more weeks.  Patience is a real asset when dealing with the medical community, sure wish I had some. I am kind of in a writing mood and looks like one of those nights when sleep won’t come so I will share what I know today and maybe some other thoughts.

A few weeks ago I started experiencing difficulty swallowing and some pain in my esophagus while eating. It didn’t take long for me to seek medical help because I don’t want anyone or anything to interfere with my ability to devour a good chicken fried steak or double meat hamburger.

My family doctor asked the normal questions, prescribed a pill, which helped and referred me to a Gastroenterologist (god that’s a big word). He performed an EGD or Upper Endoscopy, for you old jet engine friends, he did a borescope inspection of my esophagus.

I was expecting something as simple as an ulcer or similar i.e. take this bottle of pills and it will be OK.  It wasn’t that simple, he found a tumor low in the esophagus at the point it joins the stomach.  He did a biopsy and sent me home to eat carefully, chew well and call him on Monday afternoon for the pathology results.

I think I prefer to sit in the exam room or across the desk from the doc but I was sitting at my dining room table when I heard “there is some cancer”.  I thought I was prepared for it but somehow I don’t think you are ever prepared to hear that about yourself or someone you love.

All I know today is I have Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma, I probably won’t get another chicken fried steak for a very long time, and I don’t know if it has spread to other parts of the body.

I have a PET scan scheduled next week, an appointment with the oncologist in a couple weeks and somewhere between those two I will have an Endoscopy Ultrasound, whatever that is.  I will be seeing the same oncologist we used when Sharyl was sick, I had a conversation with her nurse today, and she is one of my favorite people on earth. That is all the facts as I know them today.

Now some speculation.  Best case, it is only in the esophagus we’re probably looking at some radiation, chemo and possible surgery.  Maybe a chicken fried steak at some point down the road.

Worst case, let’s don’t go there tonight.

I am keeping a positive attitude, however our family’s limited experience with Cancer does nothing to enhance those positive thoughts.  I don’t want sound noble (if that’s the right word) but I feel worse for my kids and grandkids as they struggle with acceptance and naturally relate this to that previous family experience.

Thanks for listening, I probably won’t be back until after I see the oncologist. I hope you and yours have a fun Easter and please remember the reason we celebrate.

Keep me in your prayers.  Good Night and God Bless.

Dave

Some news

On December 10th 2008 I started the original Our Mom blog with the single mission of keeping friends and family updated on my Mom’s life with cancer. My Dad became something of a wordsmith, made the blog his own and used the power of the written word to convey so much more than just random health updates. The original blog and this blog have documented so many events in our lives. This is a small excerpt of that first blog post titled wishes and reality:

“What I wish is that there was not a need for this blog. Not a need to have a place to post updates about my Mom, not a need to keep our friends and family informed,  not a need to talk about cancer. I wish my Mom didn’t have cancer……
But she does, and we are so fortunate to be reminded daily that our family is not traveling this road alone.”

Today is April 10th 2017, a little over 8 years since that original post and I find myself once again needing a  place to keep our friends and family informed.

My Dad has cancer.

Specifically he has Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma.  Cancer of the esophagus.

We received the news today. In the next week there will be a Pet Scan and an appointment with the oncologist, results of the pet scan, staging answers and a treatment plan. We will have so many answers in the next few days, in this time between we remain strong and hopeful.

I know my Dad will be pounding the keyboard again soon until then I will end this as he would

Thank you all and God bless.

Lori