We know that many of you are concerned about Bill and his recent decline in health. We appreciate everyone’s calls, messages, offers for help, meals and general concern. Our plan is to update this site with any news, but please feel free to share memories about Bill or maybe even a special picture.
Many of you know that Bill has not felt is usual cheerful self for about 2 years. We have been to 4 urgent care centers, 2 hospitals, a pulmonary specialist and our local doctor. Bill managed to stump the medical professionals, and no one could agree on his diagnosis.
One night he coughed so hard that he passed out and I had no choice but to call 911. In January 2018 I took Bill to an urgent care in Florida where the doctor claimed he had a fungus in his lungs. We left with a shot of prednisone and a weeks’ worth of pills. We were advised to go the hospital if there wasn’t any sign of improvement in a few days. My goodness it helped, but only for a few months. The regimen was repeated 4 times and worked for a few months at a time.
Earlier this year Bill needed to refill his acid reflux prescription and the VA would not do so, until he had an endoscopy. We both felt this would be a routine procedure (he’s had many scope procedures through the years.) We were definitely NOT expecting this to change our lives forever.
June 13, 2019
The doctor found a tumor in his esophagus and thought it was approximately 1.5 inches in diameter. In the doctor’s professional opinion, it was a cancerous tumor and he advised that we contact the James Cancer Center in Columbus.
June 17, 2019
Bill had an appointment with Dr. Kyle Perry. Dr Perry is a gastric doctor that did his hiatal hernia surgery in 2012. He confirmed that we were most definitely dealing with esophageal cancer. Dr. Perry suggested that we book an appointment with a radiologist, Dr. E Miller, to discuss a possible treatment plan.
Bill’s first appointment with Dr. E. Miller went ok. He educated us on what to expect (and how soon). His treatment plan included: 25 radiation treatments, 5 chemo treatments with the possibility of two major surgeries. Bill had radiation a few years back for his prostate cancer and it was not a concern to him.
Endoscopy with ultrasound
Bill had a follow up appointment with Dr. E. Miller and we were told the tumor was much larger than expected and it was in his lymph nodes and upper stomach. He has esophageal adenocarcinoma from a long stint of Barrett’s esophagus. The tumor was 2/3 the dimeter of his esophogus (which is only about ¾ inch around). Dr. Miller reviewed everything and explained our situation. Bill really likes Dr. Miller because he is upfront and honest.
July 8, (our anniversary)
July 11, 2019
Appointment with oncologist Dr. Noonan. WOW, what a mess! We waited 4 ½ -5 hours for our appointment – totally ridiculous! The appointment went downhill, quickly. Dr. Noonan walked in, handed me a stack of reports with statistics from 2012. She never apologized for being several hours late for our appointment. Dr. Noonan advised us to start treatment 18 days later, on July 29th. When we expressed Bill was not sure if he would be interested in treatment, she stood up, walked to the door and told us the treatments would be scheduled beginning on the 29th. We were to cancel the appointments if not interested. We didn’t receive a word of encouragement or concern during our 10-minute-long appointment. We left the renowned James Cancer Center extremely disappointed, discouraged and sad. The following day I logged into MYCHART in search of a different oncologist for a second opinion. Dr. Noonan informed us she was the only oncologist at the James Cancer Center for esophageal cancer.
We did additional research and a lot of soul searching in preparation for this life altering decision.
If you know Bill at all, his ideas on trying to take the last ride on this merry go round was a “I don’t want to put my family through this and I want to live my life the best I can without visits to the hospital or doctor offices becoming our new home.”
On July 11th, a decision was made – no treatments and to live out his days as comfortable as possible. With that being said, The James Cancer Center did not want anything to do with Bill from that point on. Dr.E. Miller called several times and tried to convince Bill to go the treatment route. In the end, we were advised to start hospice care.
He looked great with no signs of looking sick. He was eating pretty much what he wanted. Neither of us thought it was time to contact hospice, but within that week called Universal Home Health Care and Hospice. They were our first ray of sunshine in this horrible situation. Nurses Cindy and Liz and social worker Karla came into our home for a consultation. We finally had a team who really cared and showed compassion for Bill and were looking out for him. We truly believe that they are our hope to make this as easy as possible on our entire family. They are continuously educating us on the steps of Hospice. When someone agrees to Hospice Care you’re not to call 911 for assistance. We rely on the nurses as our medical advisors, along with Dr. Kratz
The first few weeks weren’t all that bad. Unfortunately, the past few weeks have taken a toll on Bill. At this point Bill has lost around 22 lbs, but is gradually gaining weight as the tumor gets larger. It has become difficult to eat certain foods, however; the steroids keep the inflammation around his tumor down. Keeping his pain in check has proven to be difficult. Nurse Cindy is determined to get it under control with a new medication. This is the most current update as of this afternoon.
It is not that I/we don’t want to talk to everyone who reaches out to us, but there are days we don’t have enough time to reply to everyone. I don’t want anyone to think we don’t appreciate each and every one of our family and friends who truly care how we are doing. Caringbridge will give anyone a chance to check in at your leisure and message us words of comfort and prayer.