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1/3/2017 Latest post:
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. In early August, 2016, Curt was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma type esophageal cancer. This cancer is rather rare but is on the rise in the US. The cancerous tumor is located in the lower esophagus near the stomach and is believed to be related to acid exposure to the lower esophagus. This diagnosis came as a total surprise to us because he did not have the severe acid reflux symptoms most commonly associated with this type of cancer. After confirmation of the tumor and staging set at Stage III with minimal node involvement and no evidence of the cancer spreading to other parts of the body, he went through 6 weeks of chemotherapy and radiation. We will not know how the tumor was affected by that treatment regimen until the post surgery biopsy of the tumor.
The great news is that the cancer has not spread. Even during chemo and radiation (which Curt handled and tolerated very well) he was able to start eating more than just soft food. August was a very tough month for him for sure. Post-surgery, Curt has regained his strength, is able to exercise, gained back some of the 35 pounds that he lost in less than a month during August , and has been able to return to a fairly normal diet. All of these things will help him tremendously post-surgery. Now he is ready for surgery at Duke Medical Center next Monday.
The recommended clinical progression for treating esophageal cancer in Curt's situation is to complete chemo and radiation (check) and then have the esophagus removed entirely along with a section of the stomach. The surgery will take approximately 5 hours. It is estimated he will be in intensive care for a day. His hospital stay is projected by his surgeon to be 10-14 days. After that, he will be able to recover at home for 2-3 months . We have been told several times that the whole process is a marathon and not a sprint. So we will have to be patient. It will take a few months to regain his strength again and get used to his new "normal". His diet will be somewhat restricted and he will have to eat small amounts at least 6 times a day in order to get the appropriate amount of nutrition to maintain his health. His prognosis is very good and we remain extremely positive and sure that he will beat this cancer with the medical care of excellent physicians and the support of wonderful friends and family.
We are using this site to keep family and friends updated regarding Curt's surgery and post surgical progress. We appreciate your prayers, support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.