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Margaret E. Wineland
Oct 13, 2016 Latest post:
Dec 4, 2016
Around 6 weeks ago, Mom was eating some food, and she started to choke. She couldn't get the food to go down, nor would it come back up. Finally the food that was "stuck" was able to pass down into her stomach. She had also noticed some significant weight loss. Shortly there after, an appointment with her doctor was made to investigate what was going on. They started off with blood work, and a endoscopy down her throat to see what the problem was. They ended up seeing something they didn't like and as a result of that, Mom has been put through a barrage of tests, endoscopy, blood work, ultrasound of the thyroid, colonoscopy, biopsies were taken, PET scan etc. After everything was done, and results were in.
Mom's diagnosis was Esophageal Cancer. None of us, including her doctor, was expecting this. Adding to that, the cancer has also involved one of her lymph nodes. Just this morning, we met with her Oncologist to discuss treatment options, quality of life, and get many of our questions answered. Her Oncologist was wonderful, as has been her entire treatment team. The Oncologist must have spent nearly an hour with us, going through all the tests, showing Mom and us, the PET scan so we could see exactly where the cancer is. He also took the time to draw a very detailed picture of the esophagus, lungs, etc showing us exactly where the cancer is located, and the nearby lymph nodes. The "good" news is, the cancer did not spread to her colon. Nor does it appear to have spread to her thyroid. Even though Mom has a good heart, and good lungs, the severity of the cancer, and primarily it's location leaves undesirable options to treat it.
Surgery was off the table as she would not be strong enough to withstand a very large entailed surgery. Chemo and radiation, there is no guarantee that it would bring much relief. In fact the Oncologist said, many times the treatment can end up killing the patient. Mom had said that her wish was to not have a feeding tube, and she won't. So, right now, Mom IS able to get her nutrition thanks to Dad blending up everything to make it possible for her to drink, or soup like, eat her food. You would be surprised what you can blend up to eat. This is good! Another positive is, she has gained a few pounds, so we know she is getting nutrition which will help her fight. Also, the Ensure she is drinking, and the blended up fruits, vegetables etc, has seemed to give her more energy. Honestly, if you didn't know she had cancer, you could not tell by looking at her. While today was a very rough day on Mom, Dad, Diane, Dale and myself, at least we now know exactly where we stand. As of my typing this, Mom is choosing not to have any treatment. We have been weighing the pros and cons, and the quality of life, vs the quantity. She is well aware, that IF she had chosen to try some chemo/radiation that it would make her very sick. Obviously we are heart broken. Even with Mom facing all of this today, she took it like the fighter she has always been. And said, "If a feeding tube is the only thing that will keep me alive, I'm outta here" Mom has been through so many surgeries in the past, and always came out like a champ, she has beat so many odds in life, and my Mom is the toughest and kindest woman I have ever met. And believe me, if she could kick cancer's ass.....she would!
Please keep Mom in your prayers, and all of us. In the meantime, we have living to do. We are going to cherish every moment with Mom. We are all supporting her and are on board with whatever is going to make her happy. We have not been given a time frame. Every single day is a blessing from God. Truly, our family has been blessed many times over. We ask our family and friends to lift us all up in prayer. And give Mom the strength to keep fighting the good fight. Also, Mom would like you all to know she hopes Michigan wins all of their games :) And for Mom's sake, I do too. ~Amy