Sunday, September 6, 2009

Unfortunately, we had more trouble accessing the internet in Houston than we expected so the blog did not get updated as often as we wanted. My appologies for that.

The surgery went as well as we had hoped. I spent 6 days in the hospital after the surgery and was released on Saturday the 29th and had a couple of followups last week. We left Houston on Friday the fourth and arrived home last night (9/5) about 4:30.

I did have some minor complications, relatively speaking. The valve in my stomach that allows food to pass into the small intestin was not working and they had to go back in with an endoscope and dilate the valve. That will have to be followed up here in Albuquerque next week. Also my vocal chords are paralyzed so I can only whisper. We were told that this is a temporary thing and may clear up by itself. If not there are a couple of options to fix it.

Anyway, the whole thing was, overall, a huge success and I will have a month or two of recuperation. I am so grateful to you all for your good wishes and prayers during this difficult time.

Friday, August 21, 2009

All the test results are back and everything is go for the operation. We are scheduled for Monday 8/24. We haven't got a time yet, but it will be in the morning. The surgeon says it will be about a 5 hour operation. Fortuneately, I get to sleep through it. Assuming there are no complications I will be in the hospital for 5-6 days, then released to go back to the motel. I will have a check up after a couple of days and then released to go back to Albuquerque, so we could conceivably be back by the 4th or 5th of September. So, we'll try to update you next week after we have news.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Here we are in Houston. This is a huge hospital, but very well organized and everyone we have had contact with has been very nice and caring. We checked in Wednesday morning at 8:00, met with the surgeon, and had a bunch of tests. An EKG, blood panel, chest x-ray, pulmonary function test, and a CT scan. There had been a power outage earlier in the day so there was a huge backlog in the CT area and we didn't get out of the hospital until after 8:00 PM. I had a PET scan yesterday afternoon and met with an anesthesiologist this morning.

There has been a change in my scheduled appointments for Monday. Instead of having an endoscopy in the GI clinic the surgeon is going to do the endoscopy himself with ultrasound. In addition he is going to do a laproscopic procedure to biopsy a spot on my left lung. If that biopsy turns out to be metastisis then there will be no further surgery. If it is negative then the esophogectomy will be scheduled as soon as possible. We will meet with the surgeon again on Wednesday 8/19 and all will be clarified at that time.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Well, here I have let a lot of time go by without updating, but here I am again.

Sally and I took a long vacation in July, driving to the Black Hills for Sally's mother's family reunion, then spent several days with our close friend Suzie in Boulder (Colo.), then on to Eastern Colorado for my mother's family reunion. We really enjoyed the trip. The Black Hills are one of our favorite spots to visit and it was particularly pretty this year as they have had lots of rain and everythind was very green and lots of wild flowers everywhere. And of course lots of visiting with family. Colorado was also especially pretty and green as they have also had lots of rain. We drove out to my Grandparent's old farm north east of Akron and spent half a day wandering around there. I got very tired but had time to rest up for the family picnic. And again lots of visiting and catching up with family there.

Now we are getting ready for our next great adventure. We are leaving Monday (Aug. 10) to drive down to Houston for my operation. I have appointments scheduled for all day Wednesday and beyond for a series of tests; xrays, EKG, blood panel, CT scan, PET scan, pulmonary function, and on and on. The operation is not scheduled yet, they will wait until the results of all the tests are back and then will depend on the surgeon's schedule (of course). So, at this point, we don't know how long we will be in Houston. I am expecting to have to be there at least three weeks and possibly as long as five or longer. If there is a long wait between the tests and the surgery schedule we will probably come back to Albuquerque, then drive back down for the surgery. I expect to be in the hospital for a week after the surgery, then another week staying around for out-patient follow-ups before we can come home.

Sally's son Pete will be staying in the house while we are gone and our good friend Gypsy Jane from Arizona will be staying in Albuquerque and helping out with the cats, etc., and our friend Roger has offered to come water the garden. In addition another group from the church will be coming to weed and trim, etc. Sally and I often comment how rich we are in having such good friends, and all this just reaffirms the feeling.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Great news is NO MORE CHEMO. I am slowly recovering from the effects of the chemo. The last chemo was very hard as each chemo was harder than the one before. I had a total of 4 treatments.

My taste and smell are not recovering. I have a horrible chemical taste in my mouth all the time and everything tastes bad. People tell us that the taste will come back in a matter of weeks. None to seem for me. In the meantime I am still getting nourishment through the feeding tube.

I had an appointment with a local surgeon last Wednesday (7/1). He will confer with my oncologist and the surgeon at the MD Anderson Hospital in Houston. I have an appointment with the medical oncologist next Wednesday. We will find out more about when and where at that time. We are still expecting the surgery to be done in Houston sometime in early August.

We are planning to go to 2 family reunions the 3rd and 4th weekends in July. We expect to be gone July 15 thru July 27 0r 28. We will be in the Black Hills in South Dakota for the 1st one and in Eastern Colorado for the 2nd reunion. Sally's Mom's family and my Mom's family.

I will enter the news from next Wednesday's doctor appointment in a more timely manner.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

It has been a very long time since we updated this. I finished the last chemo on March 27th and finished the radiation on April Fools Day. The last chemo was very rough and the recovery was also a hard time.

I had PET/CT scans on Monday 5/4. We saw the Doctor today and got the results. They were not what we had hoped. The original cancer has been reduced but it has spread to lymph nodes within the upper chest cavity. This means that I have to go for two more rounds of chemo. This will start next Monday. They will use the same drugs as before plus another even more toxic drug, if I can take it. Not looking forward to this. At this point in time surgery is postponed

The plan is to do a series of 2 chemo treatments 3 weeks apart. The drugs used will be cicplatin, 5FU and Taxotere (dosetaxel). PET/CT scans will be done following the chemo treatments. At that time the treatment plan will be reevaluated.

We really appreciate all of the support we have received. We need your support now even more than before. Keep your good thoughts and prayers coming.

(Sally) One of the things that I have learned is not to plan on anything too far in the future.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I am home now. I got home last thursday evening about 4:00. They sent me home with orders for a clear liquid diet and the feeding tube which is 24 hours a day.. I am getting all my nourishment through the feeding tube and apparently will be for the next 4 weeks at least. I have gotten permission from the doctor's office to add food by mouth as I can tolerate it, but I can see that that will only be a supplement to the feeding tube.

I am feeling quite weak and rung out right now. I can move around and try to move several times a day but of course have to drag my tether everywhere. We have a home health care nurse who will be coming twice a week to check on things.

We went and saw my oncologist on Monday. He does not think I lost any ground because of the two weeks in the hospital. Of course, I did lose the 2 weeks, but not more. I have restarted the radiation treatments daily (5 times a week with weekends off). I will get 2 weeks of that then I go in for the next round of chemo, which will be the last, then 2 more weeks of just radiation. After that will be a period of recovery from all the abuse and then they will operate to remove the part of the esophogus where the cancer is located. Of course all this is not new, we are back on the original schedule, a couple of weeks late.