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.