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2/13/2016 Latest post:
One night after dinner in April 2015 Randy put his hand on his chest/stomach and said it feels like my food is stuck and won't go down. Not thinking much of it since we had just ate I put it aside. Then a couple of days later he made the same remark, this time I was more alarmed because Randy rarely complains. I made an appointment with our primary care physician who recommended that Randy see a gastroenterologist to have his esophagus scoped. We made the appointment and got in within a couple of days. After the scoping the doctor said he had bad news as his esophagus was red, inflamed and scarred, they call this Barrett's Esophagus. He took a biopsy and within a couple of days had called us back and said that it had come back and it was cancer. We immediately called the oncologist number that he had given us over the phone only to find out they couldn't see us until June 2nd. I called the doctor back to see if this was appointment was acceptable and he told me that he would need to see a doctor much sooner. I called back and was told that they had just gotten a cancellation and would see him the next week. Later we found out how lucky we were as Randy's cancer was already in stage 3B and weeks could have made a difference. The next couple of weeks were busy with CAT scans, PET scans and doctor's appointments. The oncologist Dr. Chandramouli started Randy on radiation by May 21st and chemo on May 29th. For the next 6 weeks Randy had radiation everyday Monday-Friday and chemo every Friday. By July he was finished with all his treatments and had the PET scan re-done and came back cancer free! Randy amazed the doctors and nurses with how well he tolerated the chemo and radiation, he lost a some weight and a little hair but looked healthy and still had a lot of strength. The next step was to have surgery to have his esophagus removed. We got the best surgeon from the Huntsman Cancer Institute named Dr. Robert Glasgow. He explained that the only way to way to truly cure this cancer was to have an esophectomy. With that being said we both agreed and the surgery was scheduled for September 3rd. The surgery is extremely risky and a life changer as Dr. Glasgow would remove his entire esophagus, take the stomach and reduce the size and place it in his chest area where the esophagus used to be. The hospital stay with this type of surgery is 10-14 days however after the surgery Randy was up and walking around and recovered so quickly that they 'kicked' him out after 6 days. Dr. Glasgow said that in the 14 years of performing this surgery that Randy's recovery was the quickest he had ever seen. If any of you know Randy you wouldn't find this surprising. Over the next couple of months Randy was recovering and adjusting to his new way of eating and trying to get his strength back. In October Randy felt like he had pulled a major muscle in his back which was excruciating with pain. We met with his doctors and both agreed it must be a pulled muscle. Over the next 2 months Randy tried everything to relieve the pain and get his strength back. He started going to physical therapy but it only seemed to make it worse, at one point it felt like he had broken a rib and went to an insta care to have it Xray'd and it looked to the doctor like the rib had been dislocated but not broken and stopped going to PT. In January he joined the rec center in Holladay and he started swimming, still no relief. We still thought it must be a pulled or strained muscle as we had gone to Huntsman in December and had the PET scan redone and had not heard back from the Huntsman or our oncologist so figured that it must have come back clean and no cancer. We had a follow up appointment with his oncologist on January 20th and when he walked into the room he asked Randy if he had pain in his back on the left side, the reason for asking is that he had just now looked at the PET scan that Randy had done in December and told us that the cancer was back! Randy and I were both in shock, I can't begin to explain how we felt. We both cried. How could this be? Randy's cancer should have been cured.