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3/21/2017 Latest post:
Welcome to my CaringBridge website. I am using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. Here is my story...
Late last year, I noticed I was having trouble swallowing. In mid-January I had a test for this problem - I thought it was my acid reflux, but turns out I had a mass at the base of my esophagus.
I had an appointment with a throat specialist and my doctor scheduled a scope test. The a scope and biopsy were done at Mercy Hospital. I was knocked out for all of it, so am grateful for good drugs.
Well, the news was not what I had hoped for. But I am glad to have a name for it and now to treat and defeat it!
I have esophageal cancer, Moderately Differentiated Adenocarcinoma, to be exact. My surgeon will work with the chief cardio-thoracic surgeon at the U of I hospital in Iowa City and an oncologist who has been highly recommended by me by two people who have had him.
I told Dr. Ahad that I had plans so let's get this done.
Next came the PET scan. The hardest part was no caffeine or sugar for 24 hours before the test. After this, an endoscopic ultrasound at U of I hospitals in Iowa City because Mercy doesn't do those. These tests showed no other organs are involved. So I am grateful to know we are just dealing with the original diagnosis of esophageal cancer.
I finally got my first tattoo. In fact, they marked me with permanent tattoos (3 dots I think) for radiation, I am feeling stronger to face this. Not happy about it, but not quite as apprehensive.
I will have radiation for 25 treatments, done five days a week. Chemo will be one day a week. Surgery will not happen until all the other stuff is done and my body has a time to rest. Life is funny. For years it was lose weight. Now I'm not supposed to. Maybe it's more ironic that funny. Who knew at 72 I'd be trying to maintain this svelte figure.
The first infusion was scheduled for 5 hours. Radiation is every day M-F. I will also see a cardiologist since they found some calcification in my arteries...not a surprise but would have voted no if I had a vote.
After all this fun is done, I will have surgery, probably sometime in May. Suffice it to say it is not a fun surgery, but I am choosing to set it aside for the most part until I deal with this.
I have a multitude of family and friends and all of my parishioners and church family who have been lifting me up in prayer since the beginning. I have prayers going from Florida to California and stops all around the country. Have a church in George, multiple prayer groups from multiple faiths. My niece Lori, who is a nurse, will be with me for my appointments and all further tests. She can translate medical into English. And be a second set of ears for me.
My parishioners have stepped up big time, with one lady offering to take any time she needs from her 4 weeks of vacation to help me if I need it. Need to get this all taken care of so I can co-officiate at Jared and Mel's wedding. Patience may be a virtue, but it's very hard to be virtuous when waiting for all of this. But, since I have no choice, I will wait.
I appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting. Thank you more than I can say for all of you prayers and cares and love and hugs sent my way. I feel them, and I treasure all of them.