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Archive for the ‘Cancer’ Category

Latest Test = 2 1/2 Years Being Free From Cancer

October 27th, 2012 Comments off

I got the results from my latest CT scan and I am still cancer free. The doctor also remarked at full my face looked compared to when he had seen me 6 months ago. I have now been pushed to a 9 month test cycle as opposed to the 6 month cycle I had ben on.If looking up all the dates and everything it has now been 2 1/2 years since any know cancer was in my body. My oncologist was quick to add that at 5 years I would be considered “Cured” from cancer. A tear comes to my eye as I write that since their were some many points along the way that I didn’t think I was going to make it at all.

Cancer can be beat.

Categories: Cancer, From the Network, Health Tags:

One Year of Being Free of Cancer

June 1st, 2011 Comments off

20110601-115559.jpgYes, that is right, it has been a year since I had the surgery in which they got “all the known” cancer out. They must have been right because as of today I am still cancer free. That’s pretty cool. There were several points along that way where I wasn’t sure that I would make it this far.

Thank you doctors and God!

I am still going through some procedures in order to clean up some of the side effects of the chemotherapy and radiation but those are nothing compared to actually going through chemotherapy/radiation. I will be done with them soon so I will just concentrate on getting my strength and endurance back.

Thank you to everyone that has sent their prayers and positive thoughts my way. They definitely made a difference over this past year!

Clean Tests, But A Lot of Pain

February 1st, 2011 Comments off

As mentioned before I had my stent in my esophagus replaced last Wednesday. Aa a part of every EGD to replace the stent my GI doctor does biopsies to make sure the cancer has not come back. He also checks my small intestine to see how the villi are doing from me having celiac disease.

In both cases everything looks good – no sign of cancer and my villi have all grown back so their is no sign of celiac disease. That does not mean I can now eat gluten but does mean that my body has healed itself and is absorbing nutrients like it is supposed to now.  This is good because it means that I get more out of the food that I eat then ever before.

Throat Pain

Unfortunately with all that good news I am not feeling all that great. When my GI doc removed the old stent I bled – a lot. Then, when placing the new stent he put it in a little different position (on purpose) and therefore my throat is not used to having something there and so it hurts.

I was OK in the hospital when they had me on morphine for two days but for the last 3 days I have been on vicodin and it is not cutting it. I went to a pain management appointment yesterday morning and they gave me something different that is supposed to be in between vicodin and morphine and should last longer. I took it last night and it does help without making me feel out of it like the morphine and the vicodin do.

I was a little concerned with the amount of pain I have been in the last few days but my wife reminded me that when my first stent was put in that it was a very similar experience. Funny, that was less then 6 months ago but I had forgotten. If this time is similar then it may be a few weeks before all of the pain goes away. I made it through the first time though and will make it through this time as well.

Thanks

Thanks again to everyone for their prayers and good wishes. Your encouragement is greatly appreciated.

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:

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:

I Am Postponing My Next Dose of Chemo

October 19th, 2010 Comments off

After discussing it with my wife I have decided to postpone my next dose of chemo.

The reason for this is that the cumulative effects of the last 4 doses of chemo are really beginning to take their toll on me. Tomorrow will be 3 weeks since my last dose yet I feel like I am at the 3-4th day since my last dose. I am nauseated more then I have ever been and I have neuropathy (numbness and sensitivity to cold) in my body, especially in my figer tips to where I freezing cold most of the time. Last night I had to sit on my hands for almost 45 minutes to get them to warm up.

The neuropathy is of concern because I am told that once it shows up that it does not go away for a long while.

There was already talk of reducing my dose of chemo that I was supposed to get tomorrow but after the week that I have had I cannot imagine taking another dose and making myself feel worse. My hope is that I can take the next 3 weeks off from chemo, get back on my feet, and then finish up my last two doses from there if appropriate. I don’t want to drag it out any longer but I really need to give my body a chance to catch up.

I would appreciate everyone’s happy thoughts and prayers over the next couple of weeks so my body can recover to the point that I can get this finished up.

Related posts:

  1. I Am Done with Chemo and Radiation!
  2. Stent and Chemo Status – 4 Weeks Later
  3. I Am Done with Chemo!

Categories: Cancer, From the Network, Health Tags:

Third Round of Chemo

September 9th, 2010 Comments off

I had my 3rd round of chemo today. I am doing very well so far. I hope the next few days are the same. That means that I am half way done and only have 3 more to go.

The other good news is that this is the first week that I GAINED weight instead of loosing it since I started chemo. I only gained 2 1/2lbs but I’ll take what I can get, I’m too skinny now!

Thank you for everyone’s prayers. I can feel them and they do make a difference :-) .

Related posts:

  1. I Am Postponing My Next Dose of Chemo
  2. Stent and Chemo Status – 4 Weeks Later
  3. I Am Done with Chemo and Radiation!

Categories: Cancer, From the Network, Health Tags:

Stent and Chemo Status – 4 Weeks Later

August 24th, 2010 Comments off

It has been 4 weeks ago today that I had the stent put in my throat. As of today I am doing great and actually had Chipotle for lunch. Yah! Unfortunately the weeks leading to this week weren’t all that great. I am thankful to have them behind me.

I had the stent put in 4 weeks ago today which was exactly one day after my first dose of chemo – which was not a good idea. Unfortunately the stent did not initially go where they wanted it to and I spent a couple of days in the hospital on a heavy dose of morphine and anti nausea medication. Eventually the stent did work it’s way to the right place and I was sent home.

At home I had to deal with the side effects of the chemo and the stent. With the chemo it was a lot of nausea and fatigue. With the stent it was the sensation of something always being stuck in your throat and the gag reflexes that come with that. By the time I started to get over the side effects of both of those it was time to have another dose of chemo. Bah!

I had my second dose of chemo a week ago today. It was not as bad as the first dose but there was still some nausea, lack of appetite, and fatigue. As of this past weekend I started to feel better and yesterday and today have actually been quite good. I have a little bit of a metal taste in my mouth from time to time but the nausea is gone and so is the fatigue. I am starting to get my appetite back as well which is nice. Chipotle never tasted so good.

Going Forward

From here I still have 4 doses of chemo. My expectation is that I should be able to manage the side effects a little better then these two past times so it should not be as bad. I may get a little more fatigued overall but I am felling pretty good right now so I am not to concerned about that. I am also having my current stent taken out and having another put in. This is scheduled to happen next week.

I am honestly not looking forward to this because of what happened last time. It should go much better though because my esophagus is at 18mm now and it being narrow was the major reason I had issues last time. I will be happy if I don’t need to stay in the hospital :-) .

The plan is that we will leave this new stent in for another 5-6 weeks and then take it out. We will not put another one in. The hope is that my esophagus will have stay open on it’s own. If anything I might just need to have it dilated a time or two in the months afterward.

What About Cancer?

Well, all signs point to there still not being any. My narrow esophagus was a result of the surgery that I had, not cancer, so it looks like we are still in good shape. My Oncologist scheduled a CAT scan a day or two after my next dose of chemo just to make sure. This is not standard but with as quick as it came back last time we are just going to make sure things look good. Also, last time I was in there all the side effects were hitting me pretty hard and I was pretty down. I think he wants me to see the test results to keep me going. I am better now but I could always use more good news.

Conclusion

Overall I am doing great. It has almost been a year since I was diagnosed and I am actually in better shape today then back then. A year ago a could not go up the stairs in my house without getting winded and feeling like I was going to pass out. Yesterday I did 5 flights of stairs with ease. That right there makes me feel great.

Related posts:

  1. I Am Postponing My Next Dose of Chemo
  2. I Got My Stent Out of My Throat
  3. I Am Done with Chemo!

Categories: Cancer, From the Network, Health Tags:

Swallowing, ER Visits, and a Plan

July 20th, 2010 Comments off

So this past Monday was 6 weeks since I had my esophagectomy. The first 4 weeks went exceptionally well. The 5th and 6th week – not so good. In the end of the 4th week I was eating half of a burrito bowl at Chipotle in one sitting. For the last 2 weeks I can get water down my throat if I am lucky.

The Pill

This turn of events from eating to not eating all started with a pill. I had been doing so well eating that I got cleared to take pain medication via a pill as opposed to liquid. I decided to start small and try a Tylenol gel cap. As soon as it cleared to back of my throat I felt it stick.

I waited out the night but it still felt like it was stuck so I went to the ER. They did an emergency EGD on me and while the pill was no longer there the are of the surgery was extremely irritated. I was sent home and told to do liquids for 48hrs which I did. On the third day I was back at Chipotle. By the second bite I felt like something might be stuck again. As the day went on the sensation went away but things were slow in going down. The next day it was worse. The day after that I could not get water down my throat.

Another trip to the ER

This time they did find something stuck and removed it. They also saw that the diameter of my esophagus was even smaller. It was now about the diameter of a pen or pencil. I was placed on clear liquids only and sent home. I stuck to the restriction of clear liquids but by Monday the following week getting water down was again an issue.

That same day I had a visit to discuss the plan to get me back to normal with my GI doctor. He had scheduled me for another EGD the following day (today as a matter of fact) to do another dilation. Unfortunately he didn’t (and couldn’t) have much of a plan because he needed to see how my esophagus. We discussed more dilations, maybe a stent, and maybe another surgery. We would just have to see.

The EGD Results

The result of today’s EGD is that my esophagus was 4mm in diameter and he dilated me to 8mm. A normal person’s esophagus is 18mm so mine with the dilation is less then half of most people. I am on liquids only which is fine with me since I could not get anything down before today.

With what my doctor has seen with today’s procedure he has decided that a stent is the best course of action. The reason for this is that my esophagus is just not responding well to dilation and so doing several more of those isn’t going to help. They have already contacted the stent company and are hoping to have it placed within the next week.

The stent is not a permanent solution as it comes with it’s own set of restrictions. It will however allow me to eat and prevent things from getting stuck. I see a lot of soups in my future :-) .

My Take

While this has been a rough 2 weeks I am glad that we are making progress. I should have this portion of the journey behind me in time for my start of chemo in week. Wish me luck in that journey.

Thanks again to everyone’s help, support, and prayers during this time. It helps more then you know.

Clarification

After reading through all of this I just wanted to clarify that the reason for the narrowing of my esophagus is a direct result of the surgery that I had and not because there is cancer there.

I was a little concerned about this but my GI doc takes biopsies each time he is down there and they each come back negative. So we are not fighting cancer here, we are just experiencing some unfortunate side effects from the surgery that I had. The expectation of everyone is that over time my esophagus will return to a normal diameter and that this will no longer be a issue. I just have to been patient until then.

Related posts:

  1. My Official Treatment Plan and Start Date
  2. Stent and Chemo Status – 4 Weeks Later
  3. Unfortunately I Still Have Cancer

Categories: Cancer, From the Network, Health Tags:

What My Cancer Doc Said

June 30th, 2010 Comments off

So I had my first appointment with my cancer doc today since before my surgery. He went over the pathology report which said that they had gotten all the know cancer out of my body – yah!

He also told me that he was a little concerned with me going into surgery because of one of my lymph nodes that the cancer had spread to. The reason for his concern was due to it’s location – it would be hard to get to. Fortunately he had recommended a great surgeon who did a great job of getting it out.

He had another concern though.

His current concern was that the cancer that I had came back in the same area after being radiated and shot with chemo. That area is now gone but what that means is that this is/was a pretty aggressive cancer. I say is/was because they have taken all known cancer out of my body but the concern is the unknown.

To tackle the unknown we have agreed to do some more chemo starting near the end of July.

When the doc presented the option of chemo that is exactly what it was – an option. I could have opted to do nothing and that would have been acceptable but as I put it to the doc – I am not rolling the dice anymore. I want to do everything possible to make sure that this cancer is completely gone from my body.

It is weird, when I first had cancer I was terrified of chemo, radiation, and surgery and their side effects. Today I am thankful for the surgery I just had am looking forward to chemo. The side effects suck but they are temporary. I am happy that I can have treatment and beat this thing.

So the next few weeks will be for me to recover as much as possible from the surgery. I am confident that I will be able to go through this round of chemo as good if not better then the previous round.

Everyone’s thoughts and prayers are welcome through this leg of the journey!

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  2. Unfortunately I Still Have Cancer Yeah, I still have cancer. Although I had a clean...
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Categories: Cancer, From the Network, Health Tags:

Out of the Hospital from Surgery

June 19th, 2010 Comments off

Warning – I am writing this post under the influence of a healthy dose of Vicodin. Please excuse anything that may not make sense in this post ;-) .

On Wednesday this past week I was released from the hospital. That is 10 days after the Ivor Lewis Esophagectomy Surgery I had.

What is that you may ask?

That is a pretty major surgery where they remove half of your esophagus and half of your stomach and put then back together again. I was in surgery for 5 hours and they made 2 incisions – one down my belly – the other between my ribs on the right side. I was in ICU for the first day (this is standard because of the length of the surgery), on the cardiovascular floor for a day (because of a heightened heart rate), and the rest of the time I was on the pulmonary floor (due to my chest tubes). I am happy to say that I do not remember the first 2-3 days after the surgery.

My recovery went pretty well in the hospital other then having a little air trapped above the outside on my right lung. They monitored it for several days and then figured it wasn’t a big deal. I think the hardest part about recovering in the hospital was the lack of sleep. It is amazing that they expect you to get better when they are waking you up every couple of hours.

I am glad to be at home now to complete my recovery. I am having some pain in the area where they went in near my ribs. I have been able to get a handle on the pain with a heat pad and taking the right dosage of pain medication. When I was in the hospital they were giving me 10ml’s of Vicodin. When I got home I assumed that it was the same. Only after talking to my mom about my pain did I read the label and discover that I was supposed to be taking 15ml’s. Those other 5ml’s make a big difference. So for the most part I have a handle on the pain.

I am pretty swollen in the rib area though. If it does not go down by Monday then I will go in to the doctor to see if there is anything that should be done. I would rather play it safe then have something that could have been easily treated turn into something big.

I want to say thank you to everyone who came and visited me and reached out to me while I was in the hospital. It is always nice to see a friendly face or hear a familiar voice.

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Categories: Cancer, From the Network, Health Tags:

A Date for Surgery

June 3rd, 2010 Comments off

So I got my date for surgery yesterday – Monday June 7th. Yes, that is this Monday. This was a little sooner then I anticipated but at least I will get it done and out of the way.

The Good News

The good news about it is that I will only be in the hospital for a week as opposed to the 2 weeks I thought I was going to be. When I leave the hospital I will be eating again, walking, showering etc. It should be about a week after that when I should be able to return to semi-normal life.

The Not So Good News

The not so good news is that because they are making in incision in my side that I am going to be sore for several weeks after the surgery and the range of motion in my arms is going to be limited. Due to this I will not be able to drive for about 3 weeks after I get out of the hospital. I can go places, I just can’t drive.

My Outlook

I am good spirits but in a little bit of shock. I have a very vivid imagination so sitting in the surgeons office and having him explain what he was going to do to me was a little traumatic. I think I may have gone to my “happy place” a couple of times because I only remember bits and fragments of what the surgeon said.

I did ask him how this was going to compare to me going through chemo and radiation and he said this is nothing like that – it is much easier. That helped me a lot since I know what that felt like. If I could go through that I can go through anything.

Prayer for My Wife

While I am on the subject of surgery I would appreciate your thoughts and prayers for my wife as well. She has been doing great with everything that has been going on with me but is going to be having surgery herself as well. Her surgery is on her eye and it is the day after my surgery. I think she will only be out of commission the day of surgery and maybe part of the next day. It is kind of a lot in a small time frame for both of us but I am confident we will both make it through just fine.

Finally, Thanks

I just want to give a great big thanks to everyone that has reached out to us to help with this latest round of treatment. You all are making a big difference in this going smoothly for our whole family. I look forward to being able to repay you generosity some day in the future.

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Categories: Cancer, From the Network, Health Tags:

Unfortunately I Still Have Cancer

May 26th, 2010 Comments off

Yeah, I still have cancer.

Although I had a clean EDG and PET scan back in January I had new tests last week and they came back positive in the same place in my esophagus as as before. That means that the cancer was not gone in February , it was just hiding.

The Good News

The good news is that the cancer has not spread and that I am still a candidate for surgery which I am going to do. I have my consultation with the surgeon on Wednesday of next week and am hoping that I will have the surgery a week or two after that. From my research he is one of the best surgeons in the area for what I need so I will be in good hands.

If I remember correctly I should be in the hospital for two weeks recovering. I am figuring it will be 2-4 weeks after that when I should be able to return to normal life. We will just have to see. The other good news is that my cancer doc says that if the surgery goes the way that it is supposed to then I should not need any further treatment which is great. The other bennefit of the surgery will be that I will have a smaller stomach and thus will be a lite eater from here on out. That means that I should enjoy my 150lbs 30 inch waist for the rest of my life ;-) .

To be honest this is not the direction that I wanted to go down but when you have a major surgery in one hand and not living much longer in the other surgery is very attractive. I would appreciate your prayer during this time for our family that the surgery goes well.

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Categories: Cancer, From the Network, Health Tags:

My Visit with My New GI Doctor

April 16th, 2010 Comments off

I just got done with my visit with my new GI doctor. I felt that the visit went really well.

This is what he said about:

Cancer Stuff

  • He is perplexed how someone my age could get the cancer that I got. At first he thought I was 43 and was blown away even more when I said I was 34.
  • He really doesn’t know if it was GERD that caused it or not.
  • He said cancer can spring up anywhere anytime in anyone.
  • It is normal to assume that GERD is a precureser to cancer but maybe not in my case.
  • He thought it was a bold move not to do surgery.
  • Her agreed that surgery was major and that I would permanent side effects from it.
  • Other then the two points above about surgery we didn’t talk too much about it.

GERD Medication

  • He thought it was really weird that I had the side effects from Prilosec and the other medications in that class.
  • I asked if I should be taking the current medication I am taking and he said sure but he does not know if it will help.
  • He is not even sure that I need to take anything but try it and we will see the results
  • I told him about what DR Godel said about the current medication and my body getting used to it where it would be ineffective. He said that does happen some times but we would have to see in my case.

Ciliac Disease

  • Yep, I have silent Ciliac (not latent like I thought)
  • Should I go on a Gluten Free Diet? Yes, it would be a good idea.
  • He said it is a good idea because you generally do not want parts of your body to be irritated on a regular basis the way that my upper bowl is.
  • Could I not go a Gluten Free diet? Yes, but there are the risks associated with that. He too said that while cancer in the bowl is a risk that he has never seen it before.
  • I asked him about how strict you have to be – in another words if I accidentally have something with Gluten is it going to set me back to square one – He said no – the gluten irritation would be in proportion to the amount of gluten I have – it is not an all or nothing thing. If I wanted to have something with Gluten here and there that would be OK.
  • He said that he would like to see me go on the Gluten free diet to so we can see what a healthy upper bowl looks like at my next EDG.

Another EDG

  • He thought having one in August was a good idea and every 6 months from there in out
  • I asked if he thought we should have on sooner. He said no. There are no symptoms or any reason to warrant that.

My Take

I like the doctor. Honestly I am not sure if he told me anything different but he did communicate it differently. He said that he could NOT put me in a box and say “this” happened because of “that”. I really liked that because I felt my previous doctor was putting me in that box. He did not have answers for me which in a weird way comforted me. To me that means that he is really looking at all my stuff and seeing that it really does not add up like it does for most people.

I told him about my dry throat and what the ENT doctor said – treatment related. He said that when a person has cancer and then treatment that the natural DR response to anything after the treatment is that it is “Cancer or Treatment” related. He said that he couldn’t do that in my case because everything else was so weird in my case (cancer at my age, no GERD, my recovery, etc). He said my case is so unique that we just have to see what works for me and what doesn’t.

I feel better about going Gluten free after talking with him. I am interested now about seeing how things look at the next EDG in August. Starting now I will stay away from bread products and when I get the chance I will try to look at so books about Gluten free. For whatever reason it does not seem as hard now as before. I think that may be in part because you do not have to be so strict. If you happen to have some Gluten then it is not the end of the world.

I will take the acid reflux medication I have now everyday.

From here I think I just need to do what I know is right – take my medication, eat at regular times, try the best I can to Gluten free, and don’t get stressed out. In August I will get the EDG and the PET and see where we are at. My prayer and expectation is that things look even better then compared to my last tests. If anything comes up between now I will go to the doctor if it is necessary.

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Post Cancer Treatment of Other Stuff

March 24th, 2010 Comments off

Now that the cancer thing is pretty much over and done with I get to visit other doctors about various other items.

One doctor I am waiting to see is a hearing doctor since I now have constant ringing in my ears. From what I have been told this is probably a side effect of the chemo drug Cisplatin :-( . The good part about this is that during the day I don’t really hear it. It is only when things are quiet (which isn’t all that often). I don’t want to go deaf though so I am having it checked out.

The other doctor that I am visiting is the GI doctor. This is the guy that goes down your throat and up your backside to make sure things look good. I am glad I haven’t had the latter test yet ;-) . The reason I am seeing him is that is where the cancer was so we need to keep an eye on it.

One thing this doctor says I have is acid reflux and that is what probably caused the cancer. Fair enough, that makes sense other then the fact that I am no symptoms of acid reflux. No heart burn, no upset stomach, etc. Nothing. The only time I have any of these symptoms is when I take the medicine that he gave me for acid reflux – then I feel like I have it.

The other item that he says I have is ciliac disease. This is because although I did not have a positive biopsy for ciliac (it wasn’t positive but abnormal) my blood test shows elevated antibodies, etc, etc. The common side effects of ciliac disease are weight loss, malnutrition, anemia, etc to which I have none of these symptoms. The doctor says that I should go on a Gluten free diet which I am told is a pain in the arse.

If that wasn’t bad enough I am getting conflicting information from this doctor about the ciliac disease. He said my biopsy was not positive but the blood test was and this means Gluten free. But he handed me a packet about ciliac disease and it outlines a variation called latent ciliac disease. In latent ciliac disease the blood test is positive but biopsy is negative. The treatment for this –  do NOT do a gluten free diet. Weird.

The good news is that our insurance changed and this doctor does not take the new insurance. That means I will go see a new doctor and see what he has to say. In the mean time I will be eating as much gluten as possible since I may never be able to eat it again.

Anyone know where I can get a couple gallons of gluten?

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My EDG Went Well and What That Means For Me

February 17th, 2010 Comments off

I had my EDG on Friday to visually inspect my esophagus to see how the treatment did in killing off the cancer. The doctors said that it looked as though I had never had cancer which is very good news. He did take a biopsy since he likes to be cautious but he does not expect to find anything.

So what does this mean for me?

This means that I am done with treatment for cancer. Yeah!

It also means that I do not have the weekly doctor’s appointments that I had before. In fact I do not have an appointment with my oncologist until April. He doesn’t want to see me anymore which is cool. I am assuming the April appointment will be to discuss my follow up plan. I know getting a PET/CT scan and EDG every 3-6 months is pretty standard for the first year so I am sure he will recommend something like that.

Other then that I am doctor free from here on out. Groovy.

What about work?

Good question.

I feel better but I feel like I need to have a couple of months where I do feel well before making a commitment to show up to work everyday. I want to make sure that I am done with the doctors completely and that I have the stamina to show up every day.

The other issue that affects work is health insurance. Currently there may be an issue with returning to work and the health insurance from a company not covering my cancer follow up. The reason for this would be that it is now considered a pre existing condition. I really cannot go without my follow up being covered so we are looking into that.

So how do you feel?

I feel great. 

I am eating well (maybe a little too well now), sleeping well, and have pretty normal energy. As far as I can tell I am back to normal if not a little better. It is hard to believe that it was just 5 months ago that I was diagnosed.

It has been a journey and I am really happy to be at the end of it. I am happy to say that cancer is not the death sentence that I thought it was 5 months ago. Cancer is treatable and you can return to normal life. It may be scary along the way, but you can make it through.

I am so thankful to be sitting here writing that.

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Whoa. I Gained 10 Pounds

February 10th, 2010 Comments off

So my quest to get my weight up to 150 has been more successful then I had anticipated.

I went to the doctor yesterday and weighed in at 154lbs. I weighed 144lbs about a month ago. My ideal weight is supposed to be in the 150-160 range.

This means that I need to enter the “Maintain Mode” as opposed to the “Gain Mode”. I guess that means no more chocolate doughnuts and possibly a little exercise. Oh the horror!

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The Day I Have Been Waiting For

February 5th, 2010 Comments off

I mentioned earlier in the week that I got the results back from my PET/CT scan and they looked good – no cancer activity. We were happy about that and still are. Today though a couple of things happened that have pushed us over the edge to extremely happy.

It all started when I went to the doctor to have my blood drawn to check my hemoglobins for my anemia. After they drew my blood they had me wait for the results. The results came back at 11.7 which was up from 10.3. At first I was actually disappointed with the results until I realized that I have more energy at 11.7 then I have had in years. Also, I remember during one of my stays in the hospital that my level got above 12 but I did not have this kid of energy. I can only imagine how I will feel when my level is up to 16 where it should be.

What this tells me is that there are some things that are no longer going on in my body. Those things are the side effects from chemo, radiation, and namely cancer. I have turned the corner on all of these things. It has been a long time in coming :-) .

The other thing that gave me an ah-ha moment is when I was leaving. I checked with the scheduler as to if I had an appointment to go over the scope that I am having next week. The scheduler said no and the nurse that was standing there said no, you will get the results the day of the procedure from that doctor, the oncologist does not need to meet with me.

I then asked the scheduler if I had any appointments in regard to the cancer at all. She told me that I just have a standard follow up appointment in April. That’s it, a follow up appointment. Not a “test this” appointment, or results appointment, or a treatment appointment. It’s a “how are you doing” appointment. Awesome.

The reason that these two things are so significant to me is that I am so used to going to appointments, taking treatment, taking tests, and waiting for results. Now that I don’t have to do all that stuff it means one thing -

I am done with cancer!

I am just in shock. It is not that I never thought this day would come but I guess I just really didn’t think about it. Now all of a sudden Boom! It’s there. It is so crazy. Literally I don’t know what to do with myself.

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Results are in From My PET/CT and CAT Scans

February 2nd, 2010 Comments off

In short – the results are good.

The first indication that the results where good is that they gave them to me over the phone (docs don’t usually give bad news over the phone). The second was that the “activity” level in the area was very low which they are not concerned about at all. They attribute the little bit of activity to the radiation that I received only 8 weeks ago. Usually you need to go at least 3 months if not longer before that activity drops off the scope.

Needless to say I am very happy about the results :-) .

From here I am going to have an EDG done to take a visual inspection of my esophagus. When that comes back clean then I have a clean bill of health. I will probably need to follow up with both tests at 3 or 6 month intervals for a while but that is it.

I have to say that I am breathing a big sigh of relieve and am happy to not have cancer in my body any longer.

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Alternative Esophageal Cancer Treatment Methods

January 26th, 2010 Comments off

In looking through the stats on this site and doing some Google searches as a result I came across a couple of alternative non-surgical treatments for esophageal cancer that I had not heard of before. As mentioned before I have opted to not have surgery at this stage because the deficits seem to outweigh the benefits of surgery and my Oncologist does not feel it is necessary.

The article is from The University of Maryland Medical Center and has a couple of different methods outlined. Both are done via an endoscopy and I believe they do not require chemo or radiation.

The first is called Cryotherapy Ablation and  uses liquid nitrogen where it is sprayed on the bad cells to kill them. This procedure is repeated every 4-6 weeks until all the bad cells are gone. They say it usually takes 3-4 treatments.

The second is called Photodynamic Therapy and uses a laser which kills the bad cells. The article mentions that this is a more accurate treatment but does not mention how many session are needed. The major side effect of this is that it uses a light sensitive drug and so you cannot go out into direct sunlight for 4-6 weeks after treatment.

Here is a link to the article:

http://www.umm.edu/gi/cryotherapy.htm

Also, they have a cool little video on the right side of the article on how the Cryotherapy Ablation is done.

Here are some other resources that I found as well:

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