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Don has been having trouble keeping food down for months. Part of the wait was appointment availability. He received the news no one wants to ever hear - cancer. He has cancer in his esophagus.
On August 26, he was in Abbott when I talked to him. He was admitted to have a feeding tube put in his belly because he has not eaten in about 2 months. They also put a chemo port in his neck - he thought it was called his clavicle vein. He was also severely dehydrated. He has also had trouble with his kidneys not working properly. He said he would have to go thru 5 weeks of chemo & radiation both and then have 5 weeks off & maybe it is then he would have surgery to remove the cancer. They told him they would take about 1/3 of is esophagus & about 1/4 of the stomach. He said they did some laproscopic exploring and a PET scan but did not see any cancer in the stomach, but said it would not pick up the tiny spots if there were any. That is why when they remove the cancer, they will biopsy everything that comes out to be sure they got it all. For now they want him to build strength. He expects to start everything just after Labor Day & he expects to be out of commission for about 6 months total. The doctor highly encouraged him to try to work as much as he can thru all this to keep his mind on other things besides just thinking about the cancer & that his odds are better if he stays busy. They are thinking they caught it early enough so they are hopeful it has not spread, however, he said they told him he has a 40% chance to live another 5 years. I told him he can definitely be in that 40% and besides that, doctors have told others they have less time and they live another 50 years! Staying positive is key, but I cannot even imagine what he must be going thru. The worst part is he has no in-home family (wife, kids) to help keep him looking up. He said Pam is taking care of his dog & going with him to appointments and taking notes. JR said he will try to come home over Labor Day weekend so if people want to see him.
On Wednesday, August 30, they had to pump his stomach because his stomach was not moving. That helped with the pain and it seemed to make him less depressed.
Don does have his cell phone with him in case anyone would like to call him and cheer him along. Friends make hard times bearable.