We (Jim's kids) are writing this blog so that all of the people who's lives Dad has touched can be informed of his ongoing battle with Cancer. Dad has a wonderful support system and tons of friends, keeping everyone up to date can be exhausting and somewhat repetitive, so we figured this is the easiest way to get information to you all.
This story starts approximately 2 months ago with what we thought was acid reflux. After the acid reflux medications didn't work and eating became more difficult, Dad had a scope done to see what was going on. The first scope attempt didn't work as he had food blocking his esophagus and they didn't want him to aspirate during the procedure. The second scope revealed a "tightening" in his lower esophagus. This prompted a CT scan. The results were not encouraging and showed that he had a tumor pressing on his esophagus and possible cancer in multiple spots. A PET scan was then ordered to determine if there was cancer elsewhere or just inflamed cells.
The diagnosis was Esophageal Cancer that had matasticized to his lymph nodes near his heart (above the tumor), his liver, thigh and right shoulder. There was some uncertainty in regards to the cancer in his thigh, liver and shoulder so a biopsy of the liver was conducted. The biopsy confirmed that he did in fact have cancer in all of those areas, thus resulting in stage 4 Esophogeal Cancer.
At this point, we sought out a second opinion at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA). Let me tell you, the information and attitude of the individuals working up at SCCA is truly remarkable and comforting. We were given tons of information and Dad decided he wanted to be considered for a trial that treats its patients with immunotherapy. They sent tissue samples to Scotland to see if he had a certain protein that was necessary to be considered for the trial. It took about 2 weeks for the results to come back, during which time he had a stent put in to assist with eating and keeping food down.
We were ecstatic to hear that Dad did have the required protein to be considered for the trial. He has had more CT scans, blood tests, nutritionist appointments all prepping him for the trial. The trial consists of 3 different groups; the first group receives chemotherapy. The second group receives chemo and immunotherapy (pembro) and the third group receives just the pembro. Dad was selected for the group receiving the pembro only. We were super excited as the research on immunotherapy is very positive. He will be receiving treatment once every three weeks up at SCCA. There can be side effects, but not as many as chemo. We have been told that most people receiving pembro have very few side effects and if they do experience any it is usually just nausea, which is treated with anti-nausea medications.
We want to thank everyone for checking in on this blog, helping keep our parents busy and distracted at times when it's needed. We can't thank you all enough for sending us positive thoughts and prayers for this fight we have ahead of us. We will try and keep all of you updated on how aka"Maui Jim", aka Jim-Bob, aka Jimmy is doing. ❤️