Howard Estes Howard Estes

First post: Feb 27, 2020 Latest post: Nov 30, 2020
Welcome to our CaringBridge website! We intend to post the most up to date information on this site, and invite you to review as your schedule allows. We appreciate your love, support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

On October 16, 2019 I underwent elective surgery to repair a recurrent ventral incisional hernia. At the follow-up appointment a week later my surgeon gave a glowing report on the success of the hernia repair, but then said “there’s something else we need to talk about now.” He reminded me of our recovery room conversation about the strange-looking tissue sample that he had sent to pathology, and the quick “all clear” he received in response. Now he was telling me that the “all clear” had been withdrawn, as subsequent testing instead indicated a rare form of cancer of the appendix.

A few days later I had my first appointment with a surgical oncologist who – in spite of the extreme rarity of the disease – has extensive experience in its diagnosis and treatment. Still more testing (including a CT scan, a colonoscopy, an endoscopy, an esophagram, extensive bloodwork, etc.), as well as the unanimous consensus of the hospital’s tumor board, confirmed the diagnosis of low grade appendiceal mucinous neoplasm (LAMN) with pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP). Very rare, but blessedly quite treatable.

The recommended protocol is an extensive surgery to remove the appendix and all visible tumors and affected tissues or organs, concluding with a heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) treatment. The original plan called for the surgery to take place in early December, but medical complications and scheduling challenges caused several delays. The surgery is now scheduled for Friday, March 6. The surgery and the recovery are brutal, but the prognosis is excellent. Throughout this journey of healing we will be using this CaringBridge site to provide updates, further details and additional information, so stay tuned.

Peggy and I are incredibly blessed to have circles of love and support that exceed even our most extravagant dreams. Family and friends have been – and continue to be – amazingly thoughtful and present, and our gratitude is beyond measure. Together, with a lot of help, we will get through this. And once it’s all safely and comfortably in the rear view mirror, we’ll have one hell of a party!

Future updates will be included in the Journal section of this site.