Jim Hinrichs

In the summer of 2016 Jim had symptoms that we could not explain. Walking longer then a mile suddenly became a lot of labor, and food was becoming harder and harder to swallow. Finally admitting something was off and swallowing was becoming more then a nuisance,  He finally was convinced to go into the doctor. On November 11th, 2016, He was diagnosed with Stage IV Esophageal Cancer, metastasized to the lungs. Treatment began immediately with chemotherapy. Jim was strong and stubborn, and took on the chemotherapy like I have never seen anyone do. Over the next few months, the cancer was 70-80% beaten, things were looking good. But, in the process he was given a feeding tube in December to the stomach, and a stent in March to open up the throat. He was losing too much weight and still hadn't gotten to swallowing food quite yet. The chemotherapy was effective, but the quality of life was not the greatest for Jim. This is when we backed off chemotherapy  to longer breaks in between infusions in the summer of 2017. He had gotten better and was no longer dependent on the feeding tube. By May his throat had opened up and the stent had slipped, so it was removed as it was no longer needed. Things were looking good. His weight came back and quality of life improved. However, July scans had shown that the cancer was also doing well, and growing. The next step was to take another heavy chemotherapy. This one was a tough on on him, but he did his best to not let it affect his days too much, but it definitely fatigued him. Soon depression began sinking in. October scans showed that despite this tough chemo, the cancer was still growing. Shortly after these scans we had found out that his cancer had the bio-marker for the new released drug keytruda, an immunotherapy. With how beat Jim was from the last chemotherapy, this was exciting news.

However, new symptoms began arriving a few weeks after the last chemo treatment. Breathing became labored, and eating became an issue once again. On November 15th, Jim was taken to the ER due to his weakness. He was told he was simply dehydrated, after many tests and a CT scan. Everything was clear and he was sent home for the night.  The next day November 16th was a biopsy appointment to get additional genetic screening of his cancer.  Things did not seem to get much better. Jerry stayed with him all weekend. A small amount of walking became increasingly difficult. Thanksgiving he was able to get around but was not really walking much or moving around houses. After his dinner his breathing really became a problem. The day after thanksgiving, November 24th, Jim called it and went into the ER once again, where he was hospitalized for a double pulmonary embolism. Once he became stable, He was released November 27th. He was on oxygen and become very dependent. Over the week he was not getting better. He no longer wanted food, the pain seemed to just increase. Jerry and Brinna did the best they could, keeping him fed and helping him to the bathroom. Early Sunday morning vomiting had began. We decided that the nutrition was getting out of hand for us, along with his dehydration. We brought him in December 3rd, where he remained hospitalized through until December 10th. Early Sunday morning shortly after midnight,  he peacefully passed on. The cancer had spread everywhere in the last month and a half, and was out of control. He is now reunited with his brother Gary and his father Jerry.

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