After dealing with back pain for a couple months, Dad had a CT scan, which is how his cancer was discovered. We learned the Wednesday before Thanksgiving that he had cancer, but we did not yet know what kind. From there, he had a GI scope, colonoscopy, and PET scan. The colonoscopy prep about did him in, which was his first visit to the ER. A week later, on the day he was to meet with his oncologist, he woke up in excruciating pain and extreme nausea. He was in so much pain and so weak, that we could not get him down the stairs and had to call an ambulance. He spent the day in the ER and was admitted to the hospital that afternoon. We learned that evening that he has esophageal cancer that has spread to the liver. He started his first round of chemo in the hospital to help with the pain (in hopes to shrink the mass at the base of his esophagus). He spent 11 days in the hospital battling extreme pain offset by hallucinations from all the pain meds (which at times was a bit entertaining to us but at other times quite disturbing to Dad). Things finally leveled out with his pain management and he went home the Friday before Christmas. We had a wonderful Frelund Christmas with everyone together on December 23. On Christmas Day, things went downhill again with chemo side effects. He bounced back but battled exhaustion and more nausea.
Dad was actually able to have his second round of chemo the Friday before New Year's. This time, he had it at home through a pouch, as this is a two-day chemo. Early in the morning on New Year's Day, the chemo side effects started and quickly got out of control. We again had to call the ambulance as he was so weak and constantly getting sick, we were afraid to get him down the stairs on our own. He spent the afternoon in the ER with an IV and compazine. He came home that evening feeling better but tired. The doctor has told Dad, his cancer is not curable but hopefully treatable. He wants to try three rounds of chemo and do another PET scan. Quality of life is most important to the doctor, so he told Dad if he cannot walk into the Cancer Center and be free of confusion, he will not administer more chemo. The good news is, his pain has improved since the first round of chemo, so that seems like a positive sign. The not-so-great news is the second round of chemo made him so sick, we'll need to address that before having more. He suffers from hiccuping and nausea daily, which means he really struggles with drinking and eating. He's also tired most of the time, but that we can deal with.
We've been so appreciative of the outpouring of concern and support for Dad and thought it was time to share about his journey. We are hoping and praying the chemo will shrink the tumor and alleviate some of his symptoms. Only time will tell. -Molly (on behalf of Mom, Jeanne, Liz, our husbands, and children)