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Archive for November, 2010

Stricture, Stricture, Why Won’t You Go Away?

November 30th, 2010 Comments off

esophageal-strictureAs most of you know I finished chemo up 3 weeks ago this week. I met with my GI doc a week after that last dose and he now does not consider me a cancer patient any more.

That is great news!

Although I am no longer considered a cancer patient, I am now considered a stricture patient. The stricture I have was caused by scare tissue in my esophagus from the surgery that I had back in June which removed all the cancer. Since the surgery I have had several dilations and 2 stents due to this stricture.

The last stent was taken out 4 weeks ago and I have started to have trouble swallowing again. It started on Thanksgiving and has been consistent since then. I had a barium swallow yesterday and it confirmed that there is a narrowing of my esophagus where the surgery was at. No cancer, nothing like that, just scare tissue.

I am having another stent placed on Thursday

So I am no longer battling cancer but being inconvenienced by 1 cm of scare tissue. Yes, just 1 measly centimeter of tissue. It may not sound like much but it does make a difference. The standard esophagus is anywhere from 18 to 25mm and mine is about at 6-7mm at the stricture point right now. What that means is that I am basically on a liquid/mushy food diet right now.

The Real Issue

The real issue here is that putting stents in and taking them out every 6-8 weeks is not a viable long term solution. What we are doing is buying some time, and space, that will allow us to do some research and let me eat normally – for now.

What we really need is a long-term solution.

The issue is that there is no textbook answer for what to do in this situation. Dilations work for some people – they do not work for me. Stents work for some – not me. Another surgery has not been ruled out but my wife, GI doctor, and I really want to go down that road if it can be avoided.

So we are doing research.

We are trying to see what other solutions their might be out their for a tough-throated person like me. We are only one day into looking into it so we do not have any viable solutions at this time. The internet is wealth of information though so I am sure something will pop up sometime soon. W also have our awesome GI doctor as well looking into solutions.

Still Thankful

Despite not quite being done with the after affects of dealing with cancer I am still thankful for where I am at. This issue is not life-threating but it is inconvenient. I can deal with inconvenience. Really, I can.

I believe that we will find a solution and that this will no longer be an issue. It is just going to take some time like everything else in life.

Thanks again to everyone for their support while we work this out. 

Categories: From the Network, Web Site News Tags:

A Season of Thankfulness

November 21st, 2010 Comments off

thankfulAs I go into the Thanksgiving season I am overwhelmed by the things that I have to be thankful for. The reason for this is where I was at in my life just one year ago. To be honest I was not very thankful at that time.

A year ago in September I had been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. I year ago this week I was in the middle of chemo and radiation treatment. I remember only being able to take one bite of ham for Thanksgiving because I could not swallow. It was a scary and sad time in my life.

This year it is so much different. After a reoccurrence of cancer at the beginning of this year, major surgery, and another regime of chemo I am done and cancer free. Wow, that is the first time I have said that – I am cancer free! It feels good :-).

This year I am looking forward to eating as much ham as I can stuff in my stomach along with all the other Thanksgiving goodies. I have no doctor’s appointments to go to, no treatments, no medications. I am back to a normal life. It feels so good to be here, I am so thankful that I made it through.

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

There is no way that I could have made it this far without some key people in my life. For them I give much thanks.


God

He was with me every moment of my battle against cancer. It is not that anyone left me or ran out on me but it is physically impossible for another human being to be there all the time for you. That is not impossible with God.

He said:

No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. – Joshua 1:5 NKJV

And He didn’t. There were times when I honestly would get mad at God and throw fits like a little kid because I did not like what I was going through. That did not matter to Him, He was still there for me, and He still is today.

My Wife

Although I said above that nobody could be there all the time for you my wife could only be beat by God himself. She takes such good care of me. There were times when I had to tell her to go do something for herself because she so attentive to me. She amazed me on how she could continue to love me and be there for me even when I would snap at her because I wasn’t feeling well.

The bible righty says:

He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord. – Proverbs 18:22 NKJV

All I can say is that I have received a ton of favor from God in the form of my wife. I love you babe!

My Kids

My kids helped me so much through this you have no idea. The did this by making me hopeful for the future. I did not bring them into this world to leave when they are young. No, I want to be here to see them grow up, finish school, get good jobs, marry, and have kids. I want to be apart of their lives every step of the way.

Their smiles, laughter, and questions about how I felt pushed me through every needle stick, treatment, and procedure. My view was if I could push myself and go through this then I could help them get through the hard parts of their lives. That is a part of why I am here.

I had to overcome so much fear in the last year that I feel much more qualified to help them overcome the fears that they will face. Going through what I went through has equipped me to be a better parent now. My hope is that by being a better parent they will have better lives.

Children’s children are the crown of old men, And the glory of children is their father. – Proverbs 17:6 NKJV

They truly are my crown.

Other Family, Friends, …

There are countless other people that helped during this time. Family members, friends, ministries, organization, etc that in some way reached out to my family and I and helped. They were instrumental in helping us when we could not help ourselves. Seeing people reach out like that inspires me to want to do the same.

Thank you to all of you that helped during this time.

Conclusion

The things that I have had to go through in the last year have not been pleasant but I made it through them. I truly feel like I have come out better on the other side. I am so thankful to have made it and am thankful for the people that were there that helped my family and I along the way.

My hope is that as I return to normal life that I can take what I have experienced and learned and use it help others that may need a little help themselves.

Categories: Christian Living, From the Network Tags:

A Season of Thankfulness

November 21st, 2010 Comments off

thankfulAs I go into the Thanksgiving season I am overwhelmed by the things that I have to be thankful for. The reason for this is where I was at in my life just one year ago. To be honest I was not very thankful at that time.

A year ago in September I had been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. I year ago this week I was in the middle of chemo and radiation treatment. I remember only being able to take one bite of ham for Thanksgiving because I could not swallow. It was a scary and sad time in my life.

This year it is so much different. After a reoccurrence of cancer at the beginning of this year, major surgery, and another regime of chemo I am done and cancer free. Wow, that is the first time I have said that – I am cancer free! It feels good :-) .

This year I am looking forward to eating as much ham as I can stuff in my stomach along with all the other Thanksgiving goodies. I have no doctor’s appointments to go to, no treatments, no medications. I am back to a normal life. It feels so good to be here, I am so thankful that I made it through.

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

There is no way that I could have made it this far without some key people in my life. For them I give much thanks.


God

He was with me every moment of my battle against cancer. It is not that anyone left me or ran out on me but it is physically impossible for another human being to be there all the time for you. That is not impossible with God.

He said:

No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. – Joshua 1:5 NKJV

And He didn’t. There were times when I honestly would get mad at God and throw fits like a little kid because I did not like what I was going through. That did not matter to Him, He was still there for me, and He still is today.

My Wife

Although I said above that nobody could be there all the time for you my wife could only be beat by God himself. She takes such good care of me. There were times when I had to tell her to go do something for herself because she so attentive to me. She amazed me on how she could continue to love me and be there for me even when I would snap at her because I wasn’t feeling well.

The bible righty says:

He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord. – Proverbs 18:22 NKJV

All I can say is that I have received a ton of favor from God in the form of my wife. I love you babe!

My Kids

My kids helped me so much through this you have no idea. The did this by making me hopeful for the future. I did not bring them into this world to leave when they are young. No, I want to be here to see them grow up, finish school, get good jobs, marry, and have kids. I want to be apart of their lives every step of the way.

Their smiles, laughter, and questions about how I felt pushed me through every needle stick, treatment, and procedure. My view was if I could push myself and go through this then I could help them get through the hard parts of their lives. That is a part of why I am here.

I had to overcome so much fear in the last year that I feel much more qualified to help them overcome the fears that they will face. Going through what I went through has equipped me to be a better parent now. My hope is that by being a better parent they will have better lives.

Children’s children are the crown of old men, And the glory of children is their father. – Proverbs 17:6 NKJV

They truly are my crown.

Other Family, Friends, …

There are countless other people that helped during this time. Family members, friends, ministries, organization, etc that in some way reached out to my family and I and helped. They were instrumental in helping us when we could not help ourselves. Seeing people reach out like that inspires me to want to do the same.

Thank you to all of you that helped during this time.

Conclusion

The things that I have had to go through in the last year have not been pleasant but I made it through them. I truly feel like I have come out better on the other side. I am so thankful to have made it and am thankful for the people that were there that helped my family and I along the way.

My hope is that as I return to normal life that I can take what I have experienced and learned and use it help others that may need a little help themselves.

Categories: Christian Living, From the Network Tags:

I Am Done with Chemo!

November 11th, 2010 Comments off

finish-lineThat’s right, yesterday was my last dose of chemo!

I am very happy to be all done and am actually feeling pretty well, actually I feel the best I ever have after a dose.

From here I have a couple of follow up appointments for the side effects from this last dose and then I have a CAT scan in about 3 weeks. After that I won’t have a CAT scan for another 6 months and I don’t see my oncologist until then as well. Basically they don’t want to see me any more, which I don’t mind Smile with tongue out .

I really am looking to get my energy back and trying to get back to work to keep myself busy.

Thank you for everyone’s prayers and support during this time. I could not have done it without you!

Categories: Cancer, From the Network, Health Tags:

Gluten Free Bisquick = Yummy Pancakes

November 8th, 2010 Comments off

My local Walmart started to carry gluten free Bisquick so I decided to give it a try this morning and make some pancakes. I have one word to sum them up -

Yummy!

I was actually surprised at how good they were. Granted it has been 9-12 months since I have had pancakes at minimum but from what I remember these were pretty close. The biggest difference in taste to me was that these pancakes tasted more like they were all natural and not processed type pancakes (McDonalds vs homemade). They weren’t super fluffy but weren’t flat either. I liked them!

I have to say the Bisquick gluten free pancakes blew away the gluten free frozen waffles I tried the other day. They tasted like cardboard :-( .

If I get brave I will try the waffle recipe on the back of the package.

Additional note – my wife made more pancakes substituting the milk in the recipe with bananas to make gluten and casein free pancakes for my son. He loved them and ate 2 without stopping.

I will have to stock up to make sure we have plenty on gluten free Bisquick in the house!

Categories: Cooking, From the Network Tags:

Speaking to Your Mountains

November 5th, 2010 Comments off

It has been a while since I posted on this site. The reason for that is that I have been going through a lot personally especially with going through chemo. As bad as the chemo has been at times I will admit that the emotional and spiritual battles have also been very difficult. During these times the feelings of loneliness and dispair were quite great. It is by God’s grace and the people that He has had around me that I believe allowed me to persevere through these times. There is one other thing that happened during this time that I believe allowed me to push through to victory.

I learned to speak to my mountains.

I am sure that if you have been in church for any amount of time you have heard the scripture that references this phrase. As a recap here it is again:

“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. – Mark 11:23

I was reminded of this verse while listening to Joel Osteen recently. In that message he explained that a lot of us when we get into trouble pray about the mountain that is front of us. We talk about the mountain. We even get others to pray about the mountain for us. What we don’t do is speak to the mountain.

How is Speaking to the Mountain Different then Praying About It?

It is the is the difference between someone talking to you and talking about you – there is a difference.

If someone is talking about you and not to you it is usually because they are afraid of you. It is the bold people who don’t beat around the bush and go directly to the source in order to get a result. These people may seem rude at times for being so direct but these are the people that usually get results.

We need to be direct when a mountain is staring us down.

For me I had a whole host of mountains that were trying to stop me from getting better. The biggest mountain was nausea which was a direct result of chemo treatment. A byproduct of the nausea was depression in that I was starting to feel disconnect and like I didn’t care any more. On top of that our finances were looking the worst that they ever had through our entire battle with cancer. Things were not looking good. These mountains were the biggest that I had ever seen.

With God’s grace I realized that focusing on the mountains was not a good path to go down. After listen to Pastor Joel’s message I knew what I needed to do – speak to the mountains and get them out of my way. Don’t get me wrong, I had prayed about the mountains and even asked others to pray for me as well. Unfortunately the mountains didn’t seem to care that they were being prayed or “talked” about. As long as no one was addressing them directly they weren’t going anywhere.

I Spoke to Directly to My Mountains

So I spoke to my mountains… and they didn’t go anywhere, at first. But, by speaking to the mountains I did begin to feel better. I felt better because I knew that I was acting in faith according to God’s word. I was doing this on a couple different levels. By me talking to the mountains I was acknowledging that God had the power to change my situation and that He had given me His power to do so. The bible says:

…the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. – 1 John 4:4

I was also acknowledging God in the fact that it was not His will for me to be sick, depressed, or broke.

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills;8 a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; 9 a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. 10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Deuteronomy 8:7-10

My mountains did eventually fall into the sea. My nausea went away, finances started to come to dig us out, and depression started to lift. In speaking to the mountains that were in front of me I believe it gave me the faith to overcome those mountains. Initially I thought that the mountains were impassable but with God’s help I overcame them. I overcame them by speaking directly to them.

Here is the message from Joel Olsteen that reminded me to speak to my mountains. I hope you find it helpful as well.

Joel Osteen – Mountain Moving Faith

Photo By ecstaticist via flickr.

Categories: Christian Living, From the Network Tags:

Speaking to Your Mountains

November 5th, 2010 Comments off

It has been a while since I posted on this site. The reason for that is that I have been going through a lot personally especially with going through chemo. As bad as the chemo has been at times I will admit that the emotional and spiritual battles have also been very difficult. During these times the feelings of loneliness and dispair were quite great. It is by God’s grace and the people that He has had around me that I believe allowed me to persevere through these times. There is one other thing that happened during this time that I believe allowed me to push through to victory.

I learned to speak to my mountains.

I am sure that if you have been in church for any amount of time you have heard the scripture that references this phrase. As a recap here it is again:

“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. – Mark 11:23

I was reminded of this verse while listening to Joel Osteen recently. In that message he explained that a lot of us when we get into trouble pray about the mountain that is front of us. We talk about the mountain. We even get others to pray about the mountain for us. What we don’t do is speak to the mountain.

How is Speaking to the Mountain Different then Praying About It?

It is the is the difference between someone talking to you and talking about you – there is a difference.

If someone is talking about you and not to you it is usually because they are afraid of you. It is the bold people who don’t beat around the bush and go directly to the source in order to get a result. These people may seem rude at times for being so direct but these are the people that usually get results.

We need to be direct when a mountain is staring us down.

For me I had a whole host of mountains that were trying to stop me from getting better. The biggest mountain was nausea which was a direct result of chemo treatment. A byproduct of the nausea was depression in that I was starting to feel disconnect and like I didn’t care any more. On top of that our finances were looking the worst that they ever had through our entire battle with cancer. Things were not looking good. These mountains were the biggest that I had ever seen.

With God’s grace I realized that focusing on the mountains was not a good path to go down. After listen to Pastor Joel’s message I knew what I needed to do – speak to the mountains and get them out of my way. Don’t get me wrong, I had prayed about the mountains and even asked others to pray for me as well. Unfortunately the mountains didn’t seem to care that they were being prayed or “talked” about. As long as no one was addressing them directly they weren’t going anywhere.

I Spoke to Directly to My Mountains

So I spoke to my mountains… and they didn’t go anywhere, at first. But, by speaking to the mountains I did begin to feel better. I felt better because I knew that I was acting in faith according to God’s word. I was doing this on a couple different levels. By me talking to the mountains I was acknowledging that God had the power to change my situation and that He had given me His power to do so. The bible says:

…the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. – 1 John 4:4

I was also acknowledging God in the fact that it was not His will for me to be sick, depressed, or broke.

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills;8 a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; 9 a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. 10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Deuteronomy 8:7-10

My mountains did eventually fall into the sea. My nausea went away, finances started to come to dig us out, and depression started to lift. In speaking to the mountains that were in front of me I believe it gave me the faith to overcome those mountains. Initially I thought that the mountains were impassable but with God’s help I overcame them. I overcame them by speaking directly to them.

Here is the message from Joel Olsteen that reminded me to speak to my mountains. I hope you find it helpful as well.

Joel Osteen – Mountain Moving Faith

Photo By ecstaticist via flickr.

Categories: Christian Living, From the Network Tags:

I Got My Stent Out of My Throat

November 4th, 2010 Comments off

My GI doctor has successfully removed the stent from my throat. He said he had to tug on it a little to get it out but other then that the procedure went smooth. My throat is a little scratchy but that is to be expected.

The hope is that my throat will remain open to where I won’t need any more dilations or another stent. We will just have to monitor it and see how things work out. I am expecting that everything will be just fine :-) .

Related posts:

  1. 4th Stent Out, 5th Stent In
  2. 5th Stent Out and the 6th “Long Term” Stent is In
  3. Stent and Chemo Status – 4 Weeks Later

Categories: Cancer, From the Network, Health Tags:

Featured Reviews

November 2nd, 2010 Comments off
Categories: From the Network, Website News Tags:

Air Hogs Helix 360 – Hands on Review

November 1st, 2010 Comments off

Air Hogs is stepping up their game by releasing the Helix 360 which is a 4 channel helicopter that is similar to the size as the Havoc Heli and the Syma S107. I got my hands on one and layout the good and the bad of it below.

The Good

  • Small and lightweight – about the size of a Havoc Heli
  • Durable plastic instead of foam
  • Extra tail rotors included in the package

The Bad

  • Price – $80
  • Stability – Gyro only affects tail
  • Controllability - takes a lot of practice to control it well

My Hands on Experience with the Helix 360

I was really excited initially when I stumbled upon the Air Hogs Helix 360 at Target. I had not heard of it before and was taken back that this little copter had 4 channels and a gyro built into it. The price seemed a little high but I expected there to be a more real helicopter feel to it with the extra channel so I figured it would be worth it.

Out of the box the micro heli seemed like it was put together well and it charged up pretty quick. My initial flight with the Helix 360 wasn’t near as fun as I expected it to be though. It took a little effort to trim the copter and even when I could not trim it any more I still could not get it to hover in place. It always wanted to go to the left a little no matter how much I turned the trim knob.

Forward flight did not seem much better then what you would get with a Havoc Heli. It would go forward when you push the stick but then would rock back some and then go forward a little more. I really expected more from a 4 channel helicopter.

On my first flight I got about 7 minutes of flight time from the Helix. The copter was a little difficult to control compared to other 2 and 3 channel micro helis that I have flow. This is understandable though as the extra channel does require more input and concentration. I guess the issue that I had was that I seemed to spend more time concentrating on getting it not to do something I didn’t want it to do as opposed to doing what I wanted it to do. I fly these things to have fun and buzz my kid’s and dog’s heads, not to fight against them.

Compared to the Syma S107

The overall feeling of flying the Helix 360 wasn’t near as fun as what I experienced with the Syma S107. There are two main reasons for this – price and stability.

The price of the S107 is only $30 which is nearly 1/3 of the Helix 360. This makes it easier to swallow (and justify) when purchasing. With the Syma you aren’t spending much so your expectation isn’t as high but then it blows you away. With the Helix you are paying a good amount and personally I was disappointed with the performance at the price I paid. I expected more then what I got from the Syma.

Out of the box the Syma was stable and hovered in place without any trimming. Forward flight is a little bit of struggle with it but so is it with the Havoc Heli and the rest of the small and inexpensive micro heli’s. As mentioned above even after doing a lot of trimming the Helix did not hover as well as the Syma.

Overall the Syma had more of a wow and fun factor (especially for the price) then the Helix 360. I feel like I got more then my money’s worth with the Syma S107. I felt like I wanted my money back with the Helix 360.

If you are looking for a micro helicopter that is going to give you the most bang for your buck I would recommend the Syma S107.

Conclusion

It is cool to see Air Hogs pushing the envelope and packing so much technology into a small package. Unfortunately I don’t think they quite delivered for the price on this one. The Air Hogs Helix 360 is a great idea but not the best execution. My recommendation would be to spend your money on a Syma S107 instead.

Videos

Hear are some videos of the Air Hogs Helix 360

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8CEN7cHRRg

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wt_E3OLHYT8

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4FIAg3vVdM